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Interviews and Salary Negotiations

Insider Advice
Salary Negotiation
Increasing your of responsibility. There are several resources
salary is often the available for gathering this information. Utilize
primary motivating each of the following tools and compare results
factor in searching for to determine an appropriate salary range for
another job. A your position.
successful salary
negotiation strategy Salary Finder
requires that you Salary Finder is a good tool for discovering
understand several key issues. You must have a the appropriate salary for your position. In Salary
realistic expectation of the appropriate salary for Finder you can create a salary report for your
the position, given your geographic location, skill job based on geographic location. Select your job
set, and level of responsibility. You must also category and specific job type. Verify that the
understand the total value of the compensation position matches your responsibilities, select the
package, where benefits and other appropriate geographic location
forms of compensation can account and create a salary report. This
for as much as 30% of the total report will give you an approxi-
value. “Describe mate salary range for your
Additionally, the employer must
how your
recognize the value you bring to his or accomplishments Additional Research
her company. Discuss your skills and reflect your Perform research using the
abilities with a prospective employer Internet or your local library.
and demonstrate how they match the ability to make Many job Web sites have salary
requirements of the position. De- a positive estimators based on job category
scribe how your accomplishments and location. You can also use
impact on the
reflect your ability to make a positive your favorite Internet search
impact on the company. The more company. ” engine to search for “Salary
you convince an employer of your Survey,” which will lead to other
potential value to the company, the resources for regional and national
more leverage you will have in negoti- salary information. Your local
ating a higher salary. library has resources such as the Occupational
Outlook Handbook published by the Depart-
Determining What You’re Worth ment of Labor, salary comparison articles
published in local and national magazines, and
The first step in determining an appropriate career or trade publications which sometimes
salary is researching competitive salaries for your include salary surveys by career or industry.
geographic location, skill set, position, and level

4th Edition, Volume 4

Use your interview to position
yourself as the best candidate for
the job and maximize your perceived
value to the employer.
Networking employer is impressed with your
If you cannot find salary information on qualifications, you will not harm your
your career field, then begin networking. Ask chances for an interview by leaving out
colleagues in your field, former employers, salary information.
members of professional associations, hiring • State in your cover letter that you are
managers, employment recruiters, state employ- confident their salary range is fair and
ment services, and headhunters what salary competitive, but you would prefer to
would be appropriate for your location, position, discuss salary during your interview.
level, and skill set. • Divert the emphasis from the subject of
salary to how important it is to find the
Providing Salary History and Salary right fit with the right company, and
Requirements stress how excited you are to have the
opportunity to interview with them.
Some employers begin with salary questions
early in the job search by asking for salary history If the company insists that you provide
and salary requirements before your interview. salary requirements, offer a broad range of
These employers want to determine if your acceptable figures based on your research as to
salary requirements fit into the salary range what a fair salary would be. This will let a
allotted for this position. If they make company know whether or not you
this request, you must decide are in their acceptable range, and
whether to disclose this information. give you some room to negotiate. Be
sure that the low end of the range is
In most cases, providing salary “Before
a figure you’ll be happy with, not
history or requirements prior to your discussing salary just the minimum amount you
interview is not to your advantage.
you want the would accept.
If you provide your salary require-
ments, you run the risk of pricing opportunity Delaying the Salary
yourself out of the job, or setting a to sell Negotiation
salary figure well under what they
would have been willing to offer you.
yourself ”
The most important salary
negotiation technique to employ is
Before discussing salary you delaying all discussion of salary until
want the opportunity to sell yourself, the end of the interview, after you
your skills, your capabilities, and your experience. have had a chance to sell the employer on your
You want to elevate an employer’s interest in qualifications. Use your interview to position
hiring you and maximize your potential value yourself as the best candidate for the job and
before negotiating the salary you deserve. maximize your perceived value to the employer.

If a job listing requests that you provide salary If the topic of salary comes up too early in
information, you can either: the interview or job search process, try using one
of the following strategies to delay a discussion
• Choose to overlook it and not address of salary until you’ve had a chance to prove
the issue of salary. Generally, if an yourself.
Launch Interviews &
Salary Negotiations
Learning the Employer’s Salary Provide Your Salary History
Range If, in the past, you have been compensated
at or above the fair market value for your
Wait for the interviewer to begin a salary position, and you are not seeking for a large
discussion. If an employer asks you what kind of increase in salary, then it is safe to provide your
salary you’re looking for, avoid stating a specific previous salary history to a future employer. Be
figure. Tell the interviewer that you are looking sure to factor in all the financial components of
for a salary that is appropriate for your skill set your previous compensation packages when
and experience and that you are confident that setting salary ranges. For example, “The range of
together a fair compensation package can be my compensation package during the last three
negotiated. See if you can turn the question to five years in this career field has been between
around and discover what budget the company $___ and $___.”
has allocated for the position.
Share Research on Fair Market
When negotiating salary, keep Value
in mind that most companies fall “Ask the Inform your employer that you
into one of the following categories have researched the competitive
when setting the appropriate salary employer what and fair market salary for this
for a given job opening: salary range position given the responsibilities,
has been skills required, and geographical
Open Range: There is no set area. Share a range of figures with
salary for this position, and com- budgeted for your future employer. Describe why
pensation will be entirely based on the position.” your abilities and qualification place
the candidate’s skills, abilities, you at the high end of this range.
experience, and what he or she can For example, “My research shows
bring to the job. For these positions, that a fair market value and
negotiate as high a salary as possible. competitive salary for this position is
in the range of $___ to $___. Because of my
Set Range: The salary for this position will expertise in ____________ field and ________
fall in a particular range. Candidates will be years experience, I will fall into the high-end of
evaluated based on skills, abilities, and experience this range.”
to determine where in the range they fall. For
these positions, justify why you deserve a salary Salary Negotiation Tactics
at the higher end of the range as part of your
negotiation process. It is usually in your best interest for the
employer to mention a salary figure first. On the
Set Budget: The salary for this position is other hand, you do not want to appear evasive.
set to a particular dollar amount. If you find Once a salary range has been established and is
yourself in this position, then negotiate for on the table for discussion, consider the following
additional benefits or other forms of compensa- tactics to negotiate a better offer.
tion such as vacation time, a car allowance, or a
signing bonus. Remain Silent
One of the best tactics is not to express your
Starting a Salary Negotiation response to an offer. If the offer does not excite
you, then simply remain silent. A few seconds of
Once an employer is convinced you are the uncomfortable silence may convey that you are
best person for the job, it is time to talk salary. not entirely pleased with the offer, and prompt
the employer to offer more.
Ask for a Range or Budget
Ask the employer what salary range has been
Build the Responsibilities of the Job
budgeted for the position. If the interviewer
Illustrate how the job responsibilities of the
offers a salary range, then take the higher of the
position will have a significant impact on the
figures and explain that this figure seems to be in
bottom line of the company and your perfor-
your range.
4th Edition, Volume 3
Most employers want to provide a
fair compensation package to their
mance of these duties will far exceed the Reviewing the Offer
employer’s expectations, but also warrant a higher
salary. Most employers want to provide a fair
compensation package to their employees. This
Build your Contribution decreases employee turnover and saves money in
Demonstrate in tangible terms what you are the long run, as hiring and training new employ-
able to contribute to the organization and ees can be expensive. When you receive an offer,
forecast the success you will achieve in the tell your potential employer you need a day or
position and explain how this clearly justifies a two to review the offer, even when you are eager
higher salary. to accept. Never accept a position right away. If
an employer thinks that you are the best candi-
Ask for Flexibility in the Budget date for the position, a hesitation to accept right
One straightforward approach is to ask the away may prompt them to increase the offer.
employer if there is any flexibility in the amount Study the compensation package and decide if it
budgeted for the position. meets your requirements. Remember, you are
looking for a package that is fair for both parties.
Ask for Fair and Competitive Salary
Appeal to the employer’s sense of If the overall package is
fairness. Use your market research too low, submit a counter-offer.
data, previous salary history and Use the information you have
competitive job salaries at nearby gathered about salaries for your
companies to reinforce that you are is not position and reasons why you
only looking for a fair and competitive the only are more qualified than other
salary. candidates to make a case for a
component higher figure. If the salary is
Ask for Additional Benefits of your not negotiable due to company
If all else fails, then consider total policy or budget cycle, try to
requesting an earlier review cycle (three negotiate for improvements in
compensation other components of the
or six months) where a performance-
based salary increase would be consid- package.” compensation package.
ered or ask that additional benefits be
included in your compensation pack- Considering the Total
age, such as a car allowance or stock Compensation Package
Salary is not the only component of your
Remember that it is important for a salary total compensation package. There are other
negotiation to be a win-win situation for both factors to consider, some with a clear “financial”
parties. You never want to appear greedy or value and others that provide a “quality of life”
confrontational. Additionally, keep in mind that value. Additional financial factors can comprise
an employer may sometimes prefer to leave up to 30% of your total compensation package,
room at the high end of the budget range to so consider these factors when determining the
allow for future performance-based raises. overall value of your compensation package.

Launch Interviews &

Salary Negotiations
Additional Financial Factors Quality of Life Factors
• Health and medical insurance, which can • Amount of vacation, holiday, or
include dental and vision coverage personal absence days
• Life or disability insurance coverage • Flexible work hours
• Bonuses: signing, end-of-the-year, • Telecommuting options that allow
performance, or attendance-based you to work from home one or more
401(k) plans, and contribution days a week
matching • Rapport with supervisor and fellow
• Tuition reimbursement for work- employees
related training or education • Enjoyment of work
• Day care for younger children • Hours per week required
• Health club memberships • Amount of travel required
• Company car allowances • Workplace environment
• Cellular phone allowances • Professional recognition
• Counseling or legal assistance • Career advancement opportunities
• Maternity or paternity leave • Location of company
• Stock options or grants • Commuting time
• Relocation packages
• Shorter performance review cycles
(3 months/6 months)

“You should take at least

24 hours
to review the offer
before accepting.”

Common Salary Negotiation Mistakes to Avoid

Here are five common salary negotiation mistakes you should avoid at all costs:

Discussing salary requirements in your cover letter, resume, or too early in the
Accepting an offer too quickly. You should take at least 24 hours to review the offer
before accepting.
Understating or not clearly understanding how your skills and abilities will benefit the
company. You need this information to justify your value to the company.
Declining an offer because you didn’t factor in the value of the benefits package or
“quality of life” benefits.
Being unprepared to counter arguments that the company can’t afford to pay the
salary you are asking or to negotiate for additional benefits.

4th Edition, Volume 3