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How to Navigate the Salary Question like a Pro

The salary question is hardly ever an easy one.

You do not want to quote too high and be dismissed on the basis that the company can ill afford to hire you.

You also do not want to go too low and draw questions to your competency.

This signifies the importance of answering this question in a way that showcases your professionalism, your value, and protects your interest.

The big question is how.

Here are a few things to keep in mind during salary negotiations.

Research Extensively

Here, you want to look at similar jobs, in companies of comparable size and see if you can find out what they offer for the position you are going for.

One way to do this is by asking close friends who are in the field.

Some job sites are useful in this as well. You might want to look at the jobs on Jobsora because the site gives full job descriptions complete with the expected pay.

Whether this is a fixed figure or a range, it’s quite useful in settling on a ballpark amount that you already know will be achievable for the employer.

Assess Your Needs

How much is enough? There is no simple answer to that question.

Look at your expenses and your lifestyle to see how much you would need to be comfortable.

This amount will not be guaranteed. However, it gives you an idea of what you would need to be comfortable, and what amount would strain you financially. If too little is offered, it might cause you to hate your job.

You also want to look at your current salary. It is well- expected that you quote higher than your current take home. However, this should be within reason.

The general rule is to go 10% to 20% higher than what you are currently making. You cannot overemphasize how important it is to be truthful about your last pay.

If you garnish the figures and the recruiter does a back check, there is a chance you will have negotiated yourself out of a job.

See the Bigger Picture

Money aside, look at the other benefits a position brings to you.

These could be career growth prospects, flexibility, learning opportunities, or even complimenting your lifestyle.

If it has other favorable attributes to it, it’s okay to go lower on the salary.

The reverse is also true; if there is not much being offered, or you are not particularly keen on the job terms, you lose nothing by going for a higher salary.

Think About a Range

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Photo: Fokussiert / Adobe Stock

Giving a range instead of a definite figure offers you some wiggle room later on.

If the employer, for example, offers you the low end of your range, you can use this scenario to negotiate for other non-monetary perks.

Think vacation, leave days, remote working, and so on.

Delay Your Answer

Delaying your answer to the tail end of the interview can be beneficial as it allows you to showcase your skills and competencies before stating your worth.

If the question does come prematurely, one way to delay it is by expressing your interest in understanding more about the role before thinking about the salary.

Aside from your skills, ask about job specifics, requirements for travel, and allude to the idea that you are looking for a competitive pay package to match your qualifications.

Turn the Question Around

If delaying the question is not an option, consider turning the question around to the recruiter.

You can tactfully inquire what range they are offering or the best offer they have for the position.

The goal here is to know what their preferred range is. With this in mind, you are in a better position to negotiate as you have an idea of their position.

Practice Makes Perfect

The salary question can definitely make for some uncomfortable moments.

However, it’s all about research, preparation, and practice to answer the question without breaking a sweat. Remember that this is a normal part of the interviewing process and that there is always room for negotiation.