Sunday, September 9, 2012

Are you ready for the salary question?

There are various ways of handling the salary question. It often gets asked in online application forms and if not, you can be sure it will come up in interviews. There are many resources to help you establish a number or tight range. If you don’t prepare yourself you will find the question very difficult to answer and you might price yourself out of the job, too high or low.

The best answer to the online applications is do not apply until after you’ve spoken to the hiring manager and generated interest. You will be much further ahead if you don’t have to answer the salary question before you interview, so stay out of never-never-land until you absolutely have to.

You might say it is not easy to talk to the hiring manager first. Maybe, but you can learn how to
a) identify and to talk to the hiring manager, and
b) get passed the gatekeepers.

Think about what you might be able to find out about the job that would help you ‘tune’ your resume to be responsive to the needs of the hiring manager! Hey, he or she might ask you for your resume. What could be better? You would then have an important ally and you would be about 10 steps ahead of your competition!

In interviews, it depends upon when the salary question comes up. And you better have done your research and established a number or fairly tight range before the interview. 

In an interview the best answer is to answer the question with a question, not an answer. This is not because you should be evasive or confrontational about the question. It’s because it is to your see if you can get them to identify the range before you speak. Another advantage is to find out about non-salary considerations in order to intelligently discuss it. You may not have enough knowledge of your cost of the benefits they offer. And these can be substantial. You can’t even be sure you want the job yet. So you need to avoid being locked into a number too early. A good negotiator will use whatever you say to their advantage if they can.

If the question comes up at a second or third interview, that’s a good sign they are interested in you. At that point you have greater knowledge about the company and job and have a better chance of negotiating. If you’ve prepared yourself for the question, you’re in good hands. 

There are plenty of resources available to help you. And there are a number of possible responses to the question one can learn. 

To learn how to negotiate the salary question. Contact me at