At the end of the interview the hiring manager asks you, “what are your salary expectations?” What do you say? How do you respond?
At this point you know the company is interested in you, but you are feeling interpretation. You know a giving a salary too high will put this successful interview into a tailspin. A salary too low will immediately undercut your value and set the wrong tone for this lucrative job.
So how do you handle this situation? In this article, I will take you through some hidden techniques that will help you get the best possible salary?
Before the interview, research
Before you get to the interview, do your research on pay. Even if you have said, “let me get back to you,” you can do a quick estimate of a reasonable pay request.
In order to understand negotiating pay you need to understand the factors that influence pay. Pay has several components to it for example, demand for skills, location, cost of living, tax laws, amount of travelling, employees you will be supervising, your knowledge, benefits, and education.
With technology it is very easy to research salaries for similar roles in your area. Look at:
- Adverts for similar roles and look at their pay including the company’s own website.
- Your current or last pay
- Online salary calculation tools to help in determining salary
- Market data regarding outlook for your job
- Company information regarding their outlook
- Anyone you may know that works for the company
Your current or last pay
From my own experience, your current pay is your starting point. It states your value. Unless you want to take a “step-down” or you are facing redundancy then you should not settle for less than your current pay.
from my experience, when changing companies, it is easy to make a small jump in pay, upto £3,000 with very little issue. However, when the jump gets larger, companies can begin to get nervous because they may feel you don’t have the right experience or they may have to invest a lot into you. If you are going to ask for more than £3,000 then provide evidence as to why you are worth the extra money.
Next, make a list of your hard and soft-skills. Look for jobs in the market you want to apply with similar skills. Match your skills and experience level with other jobs in the market to come to a reasonable figure for your skills.
Use your network
Friends and those who know the about the company, will be in a good position to tell you about hiring practices and salaries. Even if you do not have friends at the companies you are applying, your network should help you assess your skills worth. By speaking with them, they will help you gauge what is an acceptable pay for the job.
Use the job description
Read the job description. It will usually contain information about salary range or may say DoE (Dependent of Experience).
What are your salary expectations?
Hard truth, you need to be brutally honest with yourself about what you feel you are worth and what you feel the market, in your geographical location will support.
So, going back to the original question of salary expectations the moment you give a figure you limit you negotiating position. To answer the question there are two possible strategies.
The two strategies are potential replies to the question regarding your salary expectation.
1. Strategy: Range
The range strategy, basically provides a range that you will consider.
When talking about a salary range, you need to remain conscious of the salary range being advertised and what similar jobs pay in the market. For me, I will use this when I know what the range in pay the market is paying.
The advantage here is it makes discussions easier. However, it limits your pay by locking you into a range and there is a risk that the recruiting manager will opt for the lowest point in your range. Even worse, you may price yourself out of the job.
If you are going to make a range offer, keep the range narrow and make an offer somewhere in the lower 50% and most likely in the lower 25% of the range.
2. Strategy: What I am worth with ….. skills and experience
By asking the question, “what I am worth with… skills and … experience?” Puts the responsibility to the recruiting manager for offering pay. The advantage here it is the recruiting manager is the one who starts the discussion. The risk here is there pay expectation may be lower than yours and you will then be put into a position of trying to justify a higher pay.
Answering the question regarding salary expectations
When pay is within market expectations
If your research and assessment indicate the pay being advertised is within market expectations for your geographical location or there is no pay listed in the job description the best possible answer, “what do you feel someone with …. [list your skills that relate to the job] is worth?” This keeps the conversation fluid and forces the company to make the first offer.
When advertised pay is significantly higher than current or last pay
Typically, there are two scenarios. First scenario, in the UK, this can be due to moving from public sector to private sector. In this situation it is important to highlight you have the skills required and mention you will be leaving the public sector to join their company. Again, ask the question “what do you feel someone with …. [list your skills that relate to the job] is worth?”
Second scenario is a significant upward progression. Again, ask the question “what do you feel someone with …. [list your skills that relate to the job] is worth?” If the answer is less than what you were expecting, then you should answer, “that is agreeable provided there is a review in six months to see if the pay can be raised to …. [lower end of the pay scale].”
When advertise pay is lower than current or last pay
If you are taking a pay-cut it can create the impression you are overqualified, and you will leave the moment something that is more suitable is offered to you. At this stage, if you have not already mentioned your reasons for applying during the interview, you may want to provide reassurance or provide an explanation. Your reasons can include:
- Less travelling
- More flexible hours
- Something that give you more time to spend with your family
In the above sections the question being asked, is what the company feels someone with …. Skills are willing to pay. Here, your skills exceed their pay. So, I believe it is appropriate here to set pay with any other reasonable conditions you feel you may want.
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