When is the right time to mention salary? Here are our tips on
how to negotiate the money issue.
Looking for a job is all about being on the ball. But when it
comes to talking about your future paycheck, it pays to
procrastinate. If you talk salary too early, you risk pricing
yourself out of a job-or pinning too low a price on your
skills. But when is the right time to mention money? Here are
our tips on how to negotiate this thorny piece of the job
Wait as long as possible
It's best to wait as late as possible in the interview
process before bringing up salary. Never mention it in a
first interview. If possible, wait until you have an offer.
At the very least, wait until your final interview. Before
you leap in, you should know exactly what the job entails and
have a pretty good sense that your interviewer wants you on
board. Always avoid being the first to mention a dollar
amount, if possible.
To lie or not to lie
If your employer is salary savvy, she won't name a price
either. Instead, she'll ask you what you make now. Above all,
don't lie. Not only is lying a bad thing to do in
general, but it's also just way too easy for her to
check up on you.
You can evade her questioning. Instead of telling her what
you make now, tell her what you want to be making. Or you can
turn the question back at her by asking, "How much is
budgeted for this position?" Of course, when you absolutely
have to give an answer, you should give a range of numbers,
with the lowest being the smallest salary you'd accept.
Some interviewers will tolerate more dancing around the
topic than others. But if you think some twisting and turning
might buy you time, you can try some more sophisticated
evasions. You can say: "Of course money is important to me,
but it's the opportunity that I'm really interested in
talking about right now." Or you can quickly list the
responsibilities you're being asked to take on, and then ask
your interviewer, "Given this set of responsibilities, what
figure did you have in mind for someone with my
If you research the company and industry well, you'll have
more leverage. You can say: "I've done a lot of talking to
people in this industry, and I've consulted some salary
guides, and I think that a range of X to X sounds
reasonable." There are a number of web sites that offer
salary surveys. Salary.com is one such site that gives a
range of salaries based on the position and the region.
Answering salary requests in ads
If you're replying to a job posting that specifically asks
your salary, what should you do? Expert opinion is split on
this question. Some say it can't hurt to be honest about your
requirements, to save you the trouble of interviewing for a
job that's out of your price range. Others say, just don't
answer. A middle path is to give a range, then add,
"depending on my responsibilities."
If you know you're overqualified for a position, say so in
the cover letter, and explain that you'd be willing to accept
a lower salary because you're interested in breaking into the
field (or company).
One special case
If you know your cover letter or application form will be
reviewed by automated resume software-or if you're entering
information online-you should always include current or
desired salary if the employer requests it. Otherwise, when
the employer does a search for viable candidates, your
information won't pop up. "Negotiable" won't cut it in an