Salary is one of the most important aspects of a job. Yes, we look for jobs that will advance our careers, bring us fulfillment and keep us happy, but we also look for jobs that will pay the bills and keep us comfortable in our personal lives. For many, though, asking about salary during an interview process can be daunting—we don’t want to sound like money is all we care about, but we also don’t want to do all the work of interviewing if the offer is less than we would accept.
As professional recruiters, our candidates often ask us when they should bring up salary. As recruiters, we try to get a ballpark range of the salary you would accept and the salary the company will offer. We never want to match a great candidate with a company that won’t pay them enough and vice versa. But salary is still a tricky topic, even for recruiters, as many positions pay based on experience. If you are job searching, here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the salary talk.
Frame it Correctly
You never want to ask how much a job will pay outright—instead, keep the focus on things like qualifications, skills and duties of the job. You may come off as money-hungry if your first question out of the gate is related to pay. Instead, consider avoiding the topic during an initial phone interview, where the purpose is to get to know you a bit better, and even during the first in-person, where the focus should be on your skills and what you can bring to the position at hand.
Time it Right
Overall, if possible, the best time to ask about salary is when you already have, or are about to get, an offer from the company. When a company is interested in you, they will often ask questions regarding your start date or ask you to provide references. They usually won’t waste their time calling a previous employer if they are not considering hiring you. If you get to this step, it’s usually a good time to ask about compensation. If you do not get asked these questions, try to wait until an offer is given.
For more competitive industries, it’s often standard for a candidate to ask about salary right off the bat. If you are applying, and receiving offers, to numerous companies, and aren’t able to waste time interviewing for a job that won’t pay to your standards, then getting that information from the beginning is vital. Understand your market and what is expected from candidates before asking about salary.
In some cases, you won’t have to worry about bringing up the topic of salary because the hiring manager will do this for you. If the company asks you for your desired salary, be prepared to answer them. You don’t want to give them a number so high that they can’t consider you even if they wanted to and you don’t want to give them something lower than you’d actually want or accept. If you are unsure of the salary you should be asking for, do some research. Talk with a professional recruiter about what is currently being offered for your industry and do some research online for recently hired jobs or current national rates. When asked about your salary, giving a range is usually good enough. By giving a range instead of a flat number, you are giving yourself more flexibility to be hired.
If you have done your research and feel that you deserve more than the average, be ready to state your case as to why. Often, a company may be willing to stretch their salary cap a bit for the right person, you just need to prove that the right person is you.
If you are looking for a new job, or to take the next step in your career, consider having a professional recruiter like The Goodkind Group help you through the process. A recruiter can bridge the salary gap for you and ensure that you are being matched with companies that not only need your skills and expertise, but are willing to pay what you feel you are worth. For more information about how we can help you, give us a call at 212-378-0700 or visit our website for more information.