Salary discussions may well be the most fraught part of the hiring process for many job seekers. Many people may feel anxiety discussing money at all – let alone asking for a high salary. They worry that too high a salary request may get them passed over for the job.
But in fact, it‘s very important to answer truthfully when someone asks, “How much are you looking to make?” Failing to name an appropriate salary figure can lead to you being very undervalued. It can cost you tremendously over the course of your working life.
Even if you end up making 2% less than what the employer was willing to pay, that 2% adds up over the course of your life. Raises are often based on a percentage of salary. Your raises will be corresponding worth less money if you start at a low rate.
Companies are prepared to negotiate a salary – it’s part of the hiring process. They will tell you if you went too high. Here’s how to answer the question, “how much are you looking to make?”
Research salary levels for the position.
Don’t go into negotiations without an idea of what the salary levels for the job title are. Look at sites like glassdoor.com and salary.com for a guide to salaries in your area.
Never base a salary for a new job only on what you were making before. It’s possible that a new job could come with a considerable jump in pay, and you don’t want to rule out that possibility.
Show your worth during the hiring process.
Remember, salary is based not just on what other people in the same job make, but on what you can do for the company. When you discuss your qualifications and background during the hiring process, stress your achievements in quantifiable terms.
Were you part of a team that drove an 18% jump in sales? Tell the prospective employer. Did you help develop a strategy for new shipping processes that saved money? Tell them that, and how much, if possible.
Link your salary request to what you can do.
Once you develop the talking points of what you can contribute to a new company, don’t leave those points in the interview room! When you discuss salary, don’t just name the figure: tell them why you’re worth it.
In other words, a statement such as “Because of my ability to translate best practices into sales growth and the importance of sales growth to your company strategy, I believe a salary of $__ is reasonable.
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