You’ve had successful interviews and you are ready to start work. Stop. Before you accept any position, establish an acceptable salary range. You will want to establish yourself toward the upper end of the range with an agreement to add pay for outstanding work at your first review and on annual reviews.
- Do your research. Check the company’s website for similar jobs and ask about their pay ranges. Research salary tables and articles in theWall Street Journal; http://www.careerjournal.com, http://www.salary.com, and http://www.jobstar.org.
- Calculate your personal salary range. Your market value is a combination of the present going rate for similar jobs plus past experience, training, and your projected future contributions.
- Postpone salary discussions until you have been offered the job. If you are asked to give a number, one way to respond could be: “At this point I don’t know enough about this position to discuss compensation. I want to be paid fairly for the job I do. Can we discuss the job responsibilities a little further?”
- Allow the employer the opportunity to throw out the first numbers. When the employer asks you what kind of money you are looking for, you can answer “I don’t have an upper limit. What did you have in mind?”
- It is time to slow down the process, much the way a basketball team catches its collective breath by slowly dribbling without pressing for the goal. The employer has announced a salary figure. How should you respond? Repeat the figure and quietly determine if the amount is within your preferred range. During the silence, you may even be given a higher offer.
- Does the offer match your salary research? If you need to counter the offer, pause and say, “I would love to contribute here and I appreciate your offer. From my research, I found that someone with my qualifications is being paid in the range of $__ to $__. What can you offer me in that range?
- Don’t say no as long as the offer is still on the table. If the employer cannot come up with more money, say you’ll think it over and make arrangements to check back in the next day or two. You will still be in control and may be offered the range you desired after all. In addition, think of other benefits besides salary to negotiate with, such as extra paid vacation time.