Yep, it’s a difficult economy and the job market is tight – but not impossible. You can still make career changes and get the compensation you DESERVE. How? We asked Senior Director of Recruitment at Hire Strategy in Washington, D.C., Katie Scullion how to negotiate for the salary you want like a pro, from interview to offer.
SM: What’s the best answer to this question in the interview process “What are your salary expectations?”
KS: Your next salary depends on your current salary. The best answer is to say, “Currently my salary is at X and, ideally, I am looking to meet or exceed that number, but there is always room for negotiations and I am excited for the opportunity.”
SM: Along the same lines, what’s the best answer to the question, “What is your salary history?”
KS: Honesty is the best policy. You want to show any increases you’ve had over the last 5-7 years and talk about any kind of bonus, compensation or benefit that was additional. But ultimately, be honest about your earnings.
SM: During the interview process, when is the best time to discuss salary?
KS: NOT during the first interview! Most positions have a two-interview process and you want to wait until the company brings it up.
SM: Hopefully you get the offer, but what do you do if the salary is lower than your expectations?
KS: It’s rare to see an offer lower than your current salary unless it’s a total change of career path and then you can expect that lower salary. The norm is to see an offer that is around 3-5% up from your current salary.
It’s critical to remember your compensation is more than the dollar value, you must take into account ALL of the benefits being offered, too. After that, if the offer is still too low, say, “Thank you for the offer, I’m very excited for this opportunity. Ideally, I was looking to make something closer to X” and try to back it up with something like a benefit the previous company afforded you, commute time, change in responsibility, etc.
Sometimes people have unrealistic expectations about an offer. With this economy, we aren’t seeing huge offers or increases from one position to another unless you’re in a very narrow field. You have to set realistic expectations.
SM: What other things are up for negotiation?
KS: Any telecommuting options, vacations, paid time off. It’s important to understand their annual review process, whether a bonus program is offered. There are also things like paid parking, parking space or money towards metro, company laptop, etc. that are up for negotiation. Expand your vision beyond just the base salary and remember that you can negotiate benefits, too.
- Need help writing the perfect resume? We’ve got it HERE
- Need helping finding the perfect gig? Social media can help, HERE’S how.
- Resume submitted? CHECK! Get ready for the first phone call HERE (it’s your first impression, and it’s important!)
- Land the interview? YES! Ace the interview with these easy steps, HERE.
Special thanks to Katie Scullion, PHR, Senior Director at Hire Strategy for this great info! Hire Strategy is a full-service professional staffing firm providing contract, direct hire and executive search solutions for employers in the Washington DC area. Their incredible recruitment team specialize in providing candidates with personalized career management advice and placement services in the Technology, Finance & Accounting, Sales & Marketing, Recruiting & HR and Administrative fields.
Stephanie Migdail, August 2011