When it’s Okay to Ask About Pay

ask_about_pay_webIf the world were perfect, hunger would be eradicated, chocolate wouldn’t have calories, and you could go in to every job knowing exactly how much you’re going to get offered. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect. So, how do you find out a job’s salary when you’re in an interview?

Depending on the company, the salary range might be posted in the ad. However, these numbers are usually “commensurate to experience,” meaning companies want to evaluate candidates’ work history before offering a hard number. This is not uncommon. Don’t go into an interview expecting the exact number that is listed, because nine times out of 10 you won’t be offered that.

If the job description doesn’t include a salary range, you’ll want to research what a typical salary for that position might be before the interview. This will give you an idea of how much the employer might be willing to offer.  There are several websites available out there that can help you accomplish this.  What range you fall into is determined by your education and experience, the size of the company, as well as where you live. Pay for a job can vary widely depending on location. Companies want to make sure they are getting the most qualified individual and are willing to pay for that experience.

At some point in the hiring process, you might be asked about your salary expectations. If this happens in the early stages of the interview process, try to deflect. Show the people you are interviewing with that money isn’t your first priority—because when it comes down to it, you are working with people on projects. Focus on finding out more about the job itself, because there will be plenty of time to discuss dollars and cents down the road.

In general, it’s best to let the employer bring up salary. In many circles, it’s considered gauche to ask about salary upfront. Sure, you could work it in to the conversation, but you may risk putting them off in the process. According to experts, it’s best to wait for the potential employer to bring up the topic of salary—and it will be brought up. We all work to make money, so whenever the salary discussion comes up, figure out what salary you want, and then ask for a little more to allow room for compromise.

This is where your salary research will pay off—by having a competitive wage ready, you’ll not only feel prepared and confident, but they will appreciate that you did your research. If you aren’t comfortable with naming a number, use key words and phrases like the following:

  • “I’m very excited to work with you, and trust you will offer a fair and competitive salary.”
  • “I would like a salary comparable to my experience and value.”
  • “Money is important, but there are other topics that are relevant that we should discuss. Could we revisit this question later, after we discuss the company and the position more?”
  • “Until I know more about the position and benefits, it’s difficult to give you a hard number.”

If you can, avoid naming an exact figure.  You might be short-changing yourself.

Remember, it isn’t just the salary that counts. There are other perks and benefits to working with an organization that should be considered—such as 401(k), insurance, vacation, and health benefits. Remember to get the big picture from whomever you’re interviewing with—it isn’t always about the salary.

Do you have any tips for asking about pay? If so, leave your tips in the comments below!

 

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One Response to “When it’s Okay to Ask About Pay”

  1. Jackie #

    Most of the time the question is now asked a “pre-screening” tool. Such as, application directions state ‘send resume with salary expectations.’ Also, some are asking in a pre-screening type phone interview-“What are your salary expectations?” When I try to ask, “What range does this position pay?” The question is deflected and, again, I am asked “what are your salary expectations?” I always tell them about the middle figure that is on a salary wizard or some similar site. I can tell by their reaction I’m finished right then. I don’t think the mid-range figure is too much for my education and experience.

    August 5, 2015 at 2:18 pm Reply

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