When it comes to salary, speaking up and asking for what you want can be challenging. It can feel awkward to talk about money and for many people, the most difficult question during a job interview is the one where they are asked about their salary expectations.
But it doesn’t need to be challenging or awkward. Here are six steps to make the delicate dance of asking for the salary you want a little easier.
1) Do your Research. Before the interview, find out as much as you can about the company and the role. If similar positions exist in other companies, try to find out what is considered a reasonable salary range for that position. Once you have the necessary information, you can figure out what you would like to ask for.
2) Consider Non Monetary Compensation. Sometimes the salary negotiation process can be about more than just money. Are you willing to accept intangible rewards, such as increased vacation time, flexible hours or stock options instead of a higher annual salary? These items are all part of the overall salary picture so, before the interview, think carefully about which options you would consider accepting.
3) Be Assertive and Ask for What you Want. If possible, let your interviewer be the first to bring up the salary question. When they do, begin by expressing a strong interest in the job opportunity and then suggest your salary range. For example: “I’m excited by the opportunity to work here. Based on the industry research I have done, I understand salaries for this type of position range from low $60,000s to $80,000s. My assessment of this position indicates that my salary would lie more in the top end of this salary range.”
4) Justify Your Request. Your salary request cannot be a reflection of your financial need; it must be a reflection of your abilities. Asking for a specific salary must come with a reason. What will you contribute to the organization that justifies your salary request? This is a good opportunity to talk about things such as your educational achievements or language abilities.
5) Be Prepared for a Counter-Offer. It’s not uncommon for the person conducting the interview to counter-offer your salary request. Ask if this offer is negotiable and, if it is, be prepared to go back and forth.
6) Know Your Bottom Line. Remember, you have done your research and have a good understanding of what you feel you should be paid for this job. Be willing to walk if an employer isn’t willing to raise a salary offer to your bottom line. The worst thing that can happen is that you will have to continue looking for a job — a better job.