Monday, November 13, 2006

Avoid Salary Talk… or Not

There are two schools of thought on when to bring up salary during a job interview. One approach is to steer clear of salary talk until after you have a job offer. The other is to find out up front what the salary range is so you don’t waste your time on something you don’t want.

Talking about money is a very individual thing, and you have to figure out which approach is a good one for you. See if this helps:

If you’re fairly new to your career, or you’re struggling in a really competitive job market, you’re probably better off to leave salary talk until after the job offer. Once you’ve sold the employer on your qualifications, you’re in a better position to talk money. For some excellent advice on this salary negotiation approach, read Everyone Can Negotiate.

But let’s say you’re accomplished in your field, you know your minimum worth, and you don’t want to waste your time applying for a job that doesn’t come near paying enough money. Doesn’t it make sense to find out if the salary’s at least in the ballpark before going through the whole application process? I think so! Maybe you don’t want to pin down the exact figure, but knowing what the range is for the position in that particular company could save you and the employer a lot of time.

If you can’t find the salary range for a particular position with a particular employer posted anywhere, here’s what to do:
1. Early in the first phone or in-person interview, ask the interviewer flat out (in a polite, professional way) what the salary range is.
2. Call the Human Resources department of the company and ask them. For tips on how to get Human Resources to fork over the info, read If You Don’t Ask, You Will Not Receive -- scroll down to “Gotta Start With Money.”


Anonymous said...

Hi, I was wondering if you could give any insight to my situation: I had a 2nd interview and the hiring mgr made it sound like an offer would come very soon. A week later I followed up and he said he got great feedback from my references and that he would be in touch with me on Thur or Fri of the same week. It's now the following Monday and still no answer. I checked the company website and the job is still listed, what should I do next?

Susan Ireland said...

The employer is probably still interviewing other candidates. You might send a thank you note for your interview and the follow up information he gave you.

A polite note sent by mail won't seem too pushy but will show the employer you really want the job, which you obviously do.

Good luck with it!

coach roberta said...

Hi Susan,
I just read your response to anonymous and I agree with you that a thank you note is so important and keeps your name and face in front of the hiring mgr. As a career coach, I have my clients try different approaches when they don't receive the return phone call on the date that it's been promised. We often discover that the phone call often doesn't happen not because the company isn't interested, but rather because the person who is responsible for making these decisions, is overwhelmed by all his/her other tasks. I have often found that a phone call or an email (whichever you are comfortable with... although a phone call often is most effective) that says something like, "I know how busy you are but I had to call because the more I think of our talk, the clearer I become about what a great fit I would be for this position and even give an example of why you feel this way... is worthwhile to try. My clients are surprised to learn that such a response never hurts and often gets the answer they were hoping for. We also have found that often the company's website job listings are not updated as regularly as they might be.

So good luck anonymous, and thank you Susan for
this great new blog and the chance to join you in The Job Lounge.

Roberta Rosen
Certified Career Coach

Mr Black said...

As a hiring manager, I agree with both of you. I am overwhelmed, and job postings on the web often lag quite a bit. But I'd rather get a thank you note than a phone call. I'm busy, right? Don't interrupt my busy day. An email is a little better. But a thank you note is on MY schedule and is something that can sit on my desk or in my "to do" folder to passively remind me to hire you.

Please, make it easier for me to hire you!

I say this, but in practice Thank You notes are extremely rare.

Anonymous said...

When offered a position on the phone, and you know another offer that you would like to consider will be coming soon, what is the appropriate response and how much time can you ask to fully review your offers.

I ask because I have invested time interviewing and would not want to waste it by not waiting to recieve the offer from the company that I am still waiting to hear from.

Thank you!

coach roberta said...

Congratulations anonymous for getting an offer! Let's call that offer "job A". Now you would like to see what the offer is from " Job B".

I would suggest that you tell Job A that you are very interested, and would like a little time to make a clear decision. Ask them when they must have your final decision.

Then you can call Job B and tell them that you are very interested in their position, but have another offer. Ask them when they will be ready to give you their decision.

Knowing you are in demand may actually make them want you more and give you their offer sooner so as not to lose you.

Good luck anonymous. I hope you end up with 2 offers to choose from!

Roberta Rosen
Certified Career Coach