You are sitting across from the hiring manager and think you have aced the first part of the interview process. The hiring managers is smiling, you know you have done well. All of a sudden, they ask “What are your salary requirements?” You instantly start to become flustered and nervous.
This is a tough question for many job candidates to field. Often, candidates have that perfect number in their mind, whether it be $10/hour or $80,000 a year, they know down to the penny what they want. However, many individuals find it difficult to tell potential employers that “perfect number”. As a job candidate, you may struggle with this question as you do not want to undersell or oversell yourself. Lets face it, it is tough to put a “price” on yourself. Here are a few tips that will hopefully help you handle that question, should you be asked in the near future.
First off, research the geographic area that you are applying for positions in. If you are considering a relocation, factor in the “COLA” or Cost-of-Living Adjustment. Obviously, there may be a great difference if you are moving from a small town in Wisconsin to the “Big Apple”. With an increase in living costs, often comes an increase in salary ranges-and vice versa. CNN Money has a great tool online, which helps assist in figuring out the difference in the living expenses if moving from one area to another: http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/.
Second, familiarize yourself with the market and the economy. Whether it is the first time in 15 years you have been asked your salary requirements, or the 10th time, the economy and market are ever changing. Understanding the job market will help you to know what the competition and candidate pool is like. Having a solid grasp on the market may help you to determine how “competitive” you want to be with your salary requirements. Recruiters are often an outstanding resource for you. At. C.R. Fletcher Associates, each recruiter has a solid and firm grasp on the marketplace and know what positions in various fields and industry’s pay.
Third, take into account ALL factors. For instance, lets say your salary requirements are $40,000/yr and you are interviewing for a position with your dream company but it pays $36,000/yr to start. Before turning the position down due to the $4,000 differential (or $77 per week), consider how accepting the position would allow you to get your foot into the door of this dream company and in a few short months or years you could be making more than $40,000! Another example would be if you are offered $8,000 less than your ideal amount, but the company offers free monthly gym memberships and an onsite daycare facility. These are all things to take into consideration. Bottom line-think of the entire package, not just what your weekly payroll will be. Often these “fringe benefits” or “perks” can add up quickly-even though they are not seen in your weekly paycheck.
Finally, be realistic. Sit down and add up exactly what amount of money you need to bring home to support your lifestyle. Just as you do not want to over state your salary requirements, you do not want to under state your salary requirements, or you will realize quickly you need to start looking for a position again that pays more.
Typically, a safe rule to follow is provide the hiring manager with a realistic range and explain you are interested in reviewing all that the hiring package would entail, then from there you can make the determination if it is the right move for you!