How to Handle the Salary Question?

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’s rare for the salary question to come up in the first interview. Often, it comes from HR later in the process, but sometimes 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.
  • 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.
  • Work with your recruiter. If you got 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.

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 confident that, if you and your company think I’m a good match, you’ll present me with an offer you feel comfortable with.”  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.
If you’re in the midst of the interviewing process right now, and need some helpful advice—or just a pep talk— don’t hesitate to give me a call.  And don’t forget to check out my in person Workshop starting Jan 29th titled “Life is Too Short Love Your Career or Change it. For more information and to register click here
If you are not from the area but are interested in attending this program via webinar email me

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!

1 Comment

  1. Harsh Nagar says:

    Nice Post and really help full for every one who is a fresher or about to join a company.
    thank you for this post. Seo Visit my blog for seo information.
    Thank you

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