What do you say when an interviewer asks, “How much money do you want to make in your next job?”
Salary discussions are never comfortable – but like it or not, they usually come up at some point in the interview process. Jacquelyn Smith of Business Insider, states that these questions are tricky because you don’t want to scare the hiring manager off by throwing out a number they can’t afford to give you – and you don’t want to leave money on the table by choosing an amount that is lower than they would have offered to you.
When hiring managers ask, “What are you comfortable earning?” this is the time to shoot for the upper end of your range and to have your well-prepared pitch ready. Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author, states that knowing your worth in today’s marketplace is critical to your success during this process.
Offer a range, not a specific number. This gives you wiggle room and allows you to reach for the highest number. You can always drop down from there. Also, know your threshold in advance; what is the lowest salary you will accept?
Share your research. “I think I am worth X. My research has shown that this kind of position with my experience is in the range of X.”
Think in terms of the overall compensation. Before you get into specifics, know the entire compensation picture. Are there bonuses, 401K’s, stock options, educational reimbursements, vacation time, personal days off, travel allowances, excellent medical coverage, use of a company car? Find out before you blurt out a number.
Say you are willing to negotiate. If you realize that you are out of the employer’s ballpark, or feel you are getting limited feedback, you can always say, “I should also mention that I am flexible when it comes to salary for a great opportunity. Do you also have some flexibility in the compensation for this position?”
Think ahead. Remember that part of your negotiation can be a salary review in three or six months.
Pay attention. Listen actively. Let the hiring manager be your guide by his gestures and nuances.
If you really don’t know or don’t care, or are too uncomfortable answering the question, try something like: “Salary is not my primary criteria. I really place a lot of importance on seeking a challenging, supportive environment where I can make a significant contribution and grow.”
Don’t settle. Just remember: you get one shot at the salary offer process, so don’t settle for something you’re really not comfortable with. If you know you’re worth more, and not so certain you would reach your salary goal anytime soon, this might not be the company for you.