For most people, ‘money talk’ is one of the most uncomfortable parts of any interview.  It’s hard to put a price on your professional worth, and harder still when you feel you have to justify that worth to a near-stranger who holds your future in their hands. For many, the mere thought of it is enough to make their palms sweat.
The salary question doesn’t have to be a big uncomfortable ordeal. Remember, you deserve to be fairly compensated for your time and your skills. The trick is to go into the interview not only knowing what you’re worth—but knowing as well what kind of money other people in your position are making.
It use to be rare for the salary question to come up in the first interview. Now most companies ask you to state your annual earnings on the application. Human Resources usually uses salary as a way to qualify and disqualify perspective candidates. It is not uncommon you’ll sit down with a straight-shooter who’ll ask the money questions right off the bat, so it’s best to go in prepared.
Here are some tips:

    • Research! A few hours (or less) of internet research should reveal a salary range for positions like the one you want in similarly-sized companies. If possible, research benefits as well; if your new company doesn’t offer health insurance, for example, you’ll have to build that additional cost into your salary requirements. and are two popular sites I refer to clients on a regular basis.

    • Geography is key, especially if you’re relocating. A modest salary in New York might seem like a king’s ransom in Kansas, and vice versa. Again, it comes back to research: know your market.
    • Try not to talk about money right away.  If you can, deflect the salary question until you’re absolutely certain the company wants to hire you. This puts you in a must better position to negotiate.

When it comes time to negotiate, (my favorite part) always have three offer senerios ready. Of course you want to start with your highest senerio first.

    • Work with your recruiter. If you were referred to the interview through a recruiter, the best way to address salary is to say, “I understand, based on the information I received from my recruiter, that I fall within the salary range for this position.”
    • Don’t give an exact number. No matter how bluntly your interviewer states the question, don’t commit to a figure until you’re sure they want to offer you the job, and you sit down at the bargaining table. If you must, provide a range based on your research and be sure to specify if you’re in the high end of that range. Then follow that statement with stating other factors that are more important to you than money, if applicable. For some clients I’ve worked with over the years, working in the right culture and having a short commute is more important to them than base salary.


Remember, you don’t have to give a concrete salary range just because your interviewer brings it up. When asked, “What salary range are you looking for?” you might reply: “I’m very interested in learning more about this position, based upon what I’ve learned so far it feels like a good fit for my background and experience and I am confident you’ll present me with a fair offer. I would like to have the opportunity to meet other team members and learn more about your biggest challenge.” Or, you might say, “I appreciate that you’ve asked me this, but I’d prefer to learn more about your company and the position before I give you a salary range.” Or, you might just say, “I’ll consider your strongest offer.” This isn’t an evasion tactic: it’s a smart move. It makes it clear that money is not the number one reason you’re interested in this position, and that you’re flexible enough to work with the company to come to a mutually beneficial agreement. Be prepared to negotiating, most people are afraid to ask, the worse they can say is no. In all the years I’ve been doing this only one client, ONE received nothing. Others have negotiated perks such as; gas cards, gym memberships, flex time, working from home a couple days, work from home two weeks of the month, work in the office two weeks of the month. Get creative! I work with clients to customize their negotiating strategies and offer a one time salary negotiating coaching meeting. Call or email me to futher discuss. Prepare to ask.

“Losing a game is heartbreaking.  Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy.” – Joe Paterno, Contemporary American College Football Coach

As a certified professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader, Dawn helps sales, marketing, advertising and creative entrepreneurs to accelerate their career so they’ll love their life!

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