Waiting for a job offer or headed for your annual review? These moments can be crucial to your financial health. You want to maximize your salary without creating unmanageable tension or poisoning your long-term prospects. How can you discuss salary with transparency in a professional and constructive way?
The topic around salary can be an awkward one to tiptoe around. One study found that about one-fifth of employees never open talks about salary when they receive a job offer. General nervousness and insecurity about their negotiation skills hold people back.
This pressure becomes particularly acute for a position that really interests you. As a job seeker, it’s hard to know how raise the topic, especially if salary expectations are not listed in the job description.
Still, it’s important to improve your skills in this area. Ultimately, it will help you earn more and derive more satisfaction from your work. Here are some tips to address this question when it comes up:
Addressing Salary Transparency Professionally
Research the General Market
Going into any salary discussion, you need to know your worth on the open market. Ultimately, this will define whether an employer makes a fair offer or not. With this information, you can set realistic expectations and have confidence in your target salary figure.
Achieve this knowledge by doing a deep dive into the subject. Know what other employers are paying for similar positions. Also, understand what special skills you bring to the table that might make you more valuable than the average candidate.
Talk to Your Network
Much of your research will come from internet searches. You can look at websites like Glassdoor and read about the current dynamics in your industry. However, there are other ways to gather knowledge as well.
One of the best sources of information comes from the contacts in your network. As you head into a salary negotiation, talk to people in similar positions or individuals who have some knowledge of the situation (former supervisors, etc.).
They might be unable to give you exact amounts (don’t ask for their salaries, for example). However, you can run the situation by them and gather intelligence that way. This will help you set expectations and frame your arguments.
Don’t Lock Yourself into a Number
When asked about your salary expectations, you don’t need to give a specific figure. Give an exact number, and you could be boxed in the discussions. Go too low, and you could lose money in the long run. Meanwhile, giving an overly aggressive quote could cost you the position.
Better to stay vague as long as possible and force them to set precise terms of discussion. You can say something like, “I expect a salary commensurate with my skills and experience” or “I will be happy with fair compensation, based on the details of the role.”
If they push you for a numerical answer, still try to maintain some level of flex. Provide a range rather than a fixed total. This will at least give you some room to maneuver as the negotiation proceeds.
Look Beyond Salary
Your paycheck represents just one part of your overall compensation package. If you receive a disappointing offer in terms of dollars, you can still gain value elsewhere. Look for concessions in other areas, like:
- More vacation days
- A sped-up review process that could lead to a raise sooner
- Increased scheduling flexibility
- Better health and other benefits
- Remote working options
- Subsidies for things like travel or childcare
- Perks like free meals
Want to Showcase What You Can Bring to the Table?
Looking for an employer who will value what you bring to the table? A top recruiter, like Elby Professional Services, will connect you with the best companies in your industry.
Contact Elby today to get the most out of your job search.