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Know What You’re Worth Before the Salary Negotiation

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Research is a big part of interview preparation. You need to understand the company and review the questions the interviewer might ask. While that might seem like a long enough to do list, you also need to be up to date on the salary range you can expect were you to receive an offer.

When you’re researching your benchmark “market value” before an interview, you shouldn’t just work with what you know. You need to get perspective on these numbers to make sure you go into the interview with appropriate expectations and a realistic understanding of what you’re worth. Here are three ways you can find out what you’re worth for a smooth negotiation process:

Get the Timing Right

Don’t wait to think about your salary until you have the offer in hand. Start researching before you meet for the first phone screening interview. Not only will this allow you to confidently embrace the money discussion at any point in the interview process, but you will also be able to confidently review and ask questions about the requirements and responsibilities of the position from a critical perspective.

For example, if your research shows that you can expect a salary between $35,000 and $38,000, and yet the job is described as a high level management position, that discrepancy will give you an opportunity to ask more insightful questions that clarify the role.

Use the Right Resources

Your brother’s girlfriend’s cousin’s starting salary with a similar job title is not a reliable source of information. You need to do your research using resources you can trust.

  • Ask close friends, colleagues, and recruiters what they think an acceptable or normal starting salary range would be for a certain position. Tip: Don’t specifically ask someone’s starting salary in the job; instead, give a range and ask if it sounds normal.
  • Use information interviews with a company to get an understanding of their expected range for a given position.

The more varied and trustworthy your research sources, the more confident you can be when you negotiate the salary you’re worth.

Negotiate Like a Professional

Salary negotiation is not an exact science. It’s a math equation that takes into account your skills and experience, the company’s culture, and the budget they have available for the position. Each one of these factors can be nudged up or down in a way that makes you a viable candidate or a non-competitor.

When you have a salary offer on the table, don’t accept it right away. It is often just the first step in the conversation about your value and the payoff you’ll get working at the company. Engage in a salary negotiation technique that gives you confidence and plays to your strengths.

What are your tried and true methods for figuring out what you’re worth to a company?

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