Changing jobs is a major life event, one that should not be decided upon carelessly. That being said, it is important to find out as much as possible, prior to accepting an offer. While it is common to use the entire interview process to inquire, learning everything from what a standard day on the job looks like to what the greatest challenges associated with the position are, salary is one topic that is often left untouched until the last moment.
Despite the major impact salary has on your life, starting a discussion with a potential employer can feel incredibly awkward. You want to ensure the hiring manager realizes you are interested in more than money, but you need to be paid a fair salary. Utilize the following advice to handle the conversation about your paycheck with grace and ease.
Three Tips to Having an Artful Conversation About Salary
1. Know Your Worth
Prior to the interview, conduct research to learn how much the average professional in your geographic area earns for the type of job you want. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and Salary.com are great resources to find this type of information. Take your level of education, years of experience and location into consideration when determining your target salary range.
2. Keep the Conversation Professional
During the salary discussion, use your research to support your salary expectations. This is also the time to reiterate major quantifiable accomplishments from past jobs, to prove you are well worth every cent. For example, let the hiring manager know you saved your employer $150,000 last year by swapping three suppliers out for more cost-effective options. Avoid any personal reasons for why you need extra money — plans to move to a nicer apartment, a desire to travel more, etc. — as doing so is unprofessional and irrelevant to your value as an employee.
3. Be Polite, Yet Firm
After presenting a professional case for your salary requirements, you have nothing to feel uncomfortable about. Regardless of the hiring manager’s response, demonstrate respect by behaving in a polite, pleasant manner. Stand firm if they try to sell you short with an offer less than you deserve. This may be just be an initial response to see if you’re flexible, but if not, hold out for an employer willing to pay you a fair rate.
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