Salary Negotiations in the Interview

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Posted by The Editors on September 23, 2011
Salary Negotiations in the Interview

So you've landed a job interview and you're already thinking about the salary you could be earning. Don't assume it's too early in the process to start negotiating. Your actions from the time you step through the door to the time you land the offer could effect the salary you end up with. Read these five salary negoatiation tips for getting the offer you want:

Bond with the decision-maker
Whatever the structure of the interview process, make sure that you negotiate your salary and benefits package with the decision-maker, not an intermediary. This person has a far better understanding of the job than an intermediary and this is the person you’ll be working with—you want to make sure you reach a mutually satisfying agreement.

Be enthusiastic and connect personally
A positive attitude and the willingness to make a personal connection when interviewing go a long way toward getting hiring managers and prospective co-workers excited about choosing you over your competitors. And the same enthusiasm that gets you noticed as a candidate should also serve as a major step in your negotiation strategy.

Don’t be afraid to express your real enthusiasm for the job and, just as importantly, don’t pass up a chance to connect personally with the interviewing staff. Once you have formed a positive impression and connected personally, you can play to and against this personal capital to negotiate your offer more aggressively than otherwise possible.

Avoid asking questions that encourage “No” answers
Good salespeople like to use yes/no questions that are phrased so that the expected answer is yes. You can make use of this sales technique when interviewing for a job and negotiating your salary to avoid closing down the discussion with a question that begs a negative response. For example:

Wrong:
Is there any chance that you could go higher than $50,000?

Right:
Wouldn’t you agree that it is important for the company to stay competitive with other companies in this industry?

Benchmark
Benchmarking (i.e., researching and comparing) the broader job market’s standards for compensation, title, responsibilities, and perks, based on the position, your skill set, and qualifications, will help you advance your case. For example, if you know what other companies are offering—or what other employees at the same company are receiving—you can use this information if the hiring manager seems to be giving you a lowball offer.

Discuss your salary history intelligently
It’s okay to be open about what you’ve earned in the past. Honestly answering any questions about your salary history is a good approach—it makes you seem open, and employers can often get the information anyway. You should put some distance, though, between what you have earned before and what is appropriate to the current situation—stress the differences between then and now that merit greater compensation in the new position.


This is an excerpt from WetFeet's Negotiating Your Salary and Perks. For more tips and information negotating your salary and assessing your benefits package, pick up the Insider Guide!

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