You’ve found a job opportunity and finally begin the interview process. You will be faced with many difficult and sometimes unnerving questions during that process. Perhaps one of the toughest questions you’ll be faced with will be, “What are your salary expectations?” The slippery slope of salary negotiation is a challenging one, but like the other aspects of your interview process, preparation is key.
If you tell a prospective employer what your salary expectations are too early in the interview process, it could hinder any future opportunities for you to negotiate. Try your best to delay answering the question, respectfully of course. You might reply by telling your future employer that you are more concerned with finding the right fit, rather than determining compensation this early in the process.
Know Your Value
Salary information is available from many online sources. Choose several reputable ones that can provide you with salary ranges for similar positions for which you are applying. Research and compare the information to help you determine a potential salary range based on your skills and/or experience. Be certain to include geographical information when searching as salaries do vary by state and by metropolitan areas. When you know your value, you will be more confident with your response and better able to explain to your prospective employer why you are seeking a particular salary.
Settling for less than your value can have detrimental effects. Of course, you will receive less salary than you want, but you most likely will also receive smaller raises and smaller pensions, as both are usually based on your salary. While getting the job may be most important to you initially, in time, you may ultimately feel undervalued and resentful and therefore unhappy in your job.
Take Your Time
You’ve gotten a job offer! Congratulations! You’re excited. The adrenaline is pumping through your veins and you want to say, “Yes!” Hold that thought. At this time, take a deep breath and a few days to consider the offer. You are the final candidate, they have chosen you. This puts you in the power seat. Most companies expect a candidate to take a few days before accepting or making a counter offer. Tell the employer a reasonable time period you’ll need to review the offer. This is the time to carefully consider what’s right for you.
Money Isn’t Necessarily Everything
There are several things to keep in mind when negotiating your compensation. Your prospective employer may offer other benefits that may enhance the compensation you’re looking for. They may offer bonus plans or stock options. They may be located close to your home. They may offer great health insurance and wellness plans. They may offer more vacation time. Research the company and their policies and consider any perks they might offer. The employer may be willing to enhance their offer with these types of benefits.
When negotiating a counter offer, don’t try to make too many changes. Choose one or two that are most important to you and work from there. If the employer is unwilling to move on salary, see what other benefits they will move on. Perhaps they will be willing to raise your salary in 60 or 90 days or offer an earlier review process. Maybe they will reimburse any relocation expenses. Above all, always remain respectful and professional when negotiating. Finally, get your final negotiated compensation offer in writing.
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