Best Time to Talk Salary and Compensation

Today, I want to talk about salary, compensation, but more specifically, how to answer questions about compensation and what you’re looking for and how to bring up the topic of salary, if the employer hasn’t already done so.

Now, if you’re watching this video and you’ve already had two or three rounds of interviews and you still haven’t discussed compensation yet, you’re way too late. You need to discuss compensation on the very first interview. And for some of you, I know that’s going to be awkward because you feel that it makes it sound like you’re all about the money, so you don’t want to talk about compensation.

But a good hiring manager or recruiter will bring up the topic of compensation on the very first interview. Because they don’t want to waste their time with you if you’re not in their salary range. So, they’ll bring it up. But some of them, well, there just {indistinct 1:00} as you, believe it or not, and they don’t want to bring up the topic of compensation either, because they feel that it might offend you.

So, it’s your job to bring it up if they don’t, but you want to do this on the very first interview. Usually that’s going to be a phone interview where they reach out to you and they call you up and they ask if you’re still looking for the job and what you’re looking for, what kind of responsibilities and they should ask you, “What type of salary range are you looking for?” or “What range are you in?” or they might ask you, “What are you making right now?”

And that’s where you would reply. You’ll tell them, “Well, I’m making $100 thousand a year.” or they might just say, “What are you looking for?” So, that’s your cue to give them a range for what you’re looking for.

Now, maybe you don’t know what you’re looking for. Maybe you don’t know what you’re worth. So, use a website called salary.com. I have no affiliation with them but they’re out there and they seem to provide good market value on what people are worth.

So, go out there, put in your statistics; how much experience you have and education and what type of work you do and it will give you a similar range to what you’re worth in your geographic area.

Now, that’s going to vary. So, if you’re working in Cleveland, Ohio the jobs are going to pay a little bit less than they do in San Francisco; just kind of the way it works. The more expensive to live out there.

Now, oftentimes, you might have a first interview where the employer didn’t bring up salary on the first interview. That’s your cue to say, “I’m really interested in the job. Has a salary range been determined for the position?”

Now, I get all kinds of flak from people that say, “Don, I tried to bring up salary in the interview and I got shut down.” And what’s happening is 99 percent of the time, those people are bringing up salary the wrong way. They’re saying, “What does the job pay?” And that’s the worst way to bring up salary.

You want to bring it up in a very soft, subtle way. And you simply just say, “Has a salary range been determined for the position?” That’s say “Yes” or “No” question. They’re either going to say, “Yes” and then they’re going to follow up with, “You know, our range is 120 to $140 thousand” or they’re going to say, “No, we haven’t determined a ranged yet.”

Now, if they say, “No, we haven’t determined the range yet”, then you might want to reply back and say, “Well, if you had to guess; where do you think this range would fall?”

Now, these are not invasive questions. And I know you might feel uncomfortable talking about salary and you might even say that, “Salary doesn’t mean anything to me. The money doesn’t mean much.” But be honest with yourself, would you go work for free? I didn’t think so. If you’re going to work for free, this video is not for you.

If you want to get paid for what you do, which everybody really does, then you need to take that initial step, even though it might seem a little uncomfortable for you.

Because you’re not used to talking about money. I mean, it’s a touchy topic. I mean, talking about money is like asking for a prenup before you get married. I mean, you’ve been dating for five years and then all of a sudden, you say, “Oh, by the way, honey, will you sign a prenup?” It’s awkward; it’s uncomfortable.

And the longer you wait in the interview process to discuss money, if the employer hasn’t already done so, the harder it becomes. I mean, think about it. If you’ve been interviewing for two or three rounds of interviews and you still haven’t talked money and then after the third round of interviews, you’re like, “So, what does the job pay?” and then they lash out at you saying, “What are you all about the money? I thought you were interested in the opportunity. What’s more important to you?”

Well, I mean, the money is important and don’t think it’s not. Money is like oxygen. You need it. You got to have it. You’re not going to do the job without it.

So, to make talking about salary easier and more comfortable for you, discuss it on the very first interview; if they haven’t already done so. A good recruiter, like I said, they’ll bring it up. But if they don’t, it’s your job; you need to bring it up. You need to do this for yourself.

Because, let’s say for example, you’re looking to make $150 thousand a year and you have an interview with a recruiter and he tells you that this job’s only paying about 110 thousand. Are you going to even want to waste your time to continue in the process?

I mean, maybe if you’re willing to $40 thousand dollar cut, maybe you are. But if you’re not, then you don’t want to waste your time. And that’s why you need to find out what their range is on the very first interview.

And don’t make it about the money, but it is. But do it in a soft and subtle way where you’d just simply say, “Hey, has a salary range been determined for the position?” Yes or no question; very simple. And they’re always going to follow that up and answer it.

Now, when you’re talking about salary, make sure you know you were fair market value is. And don’t start beating up and negotiating employers early on in the process. So, if they say, “This job pays 100 thousand”, don’t bring up salary.com and say, “Well, salary.com says I’m worth 135. You’re going to pay 135?”

That’s not the way to do it. You use that kind of leverage for negotiating later down in the interview process. You can use some leverage like third-party salary sites to justify yourself. But initially, you don’t want to justify yourself to them using third-party sites; you just simply want to state, “This is the range that I’m looking for.”

So, if you have a good recruiter or a hiring manager and they ask you in the early stages the interview process, “So, what is your salary range?” or “What are you looking for?” That’s where you want to reply back with a range.

So, let’s say you’re making 135 thousand right now. You might want to reply back with a range that says, “Well, I’m looking between 105 and maybe 117.” or maybe you say, “I’m looking to make 106 one 123.”

Now, you notice how I’m using odd numbers. You want to use odd numbers because it’s more specific. If I just say, “I’m looking to make 100 to 120”, those are easy round numbers; I just pulled them off the top of my head.

So, you want to use specifics, “I’m looking to make 105.5” or “107 to 117.3” something like that; use specific numbers. And the impression that your response gives is that you put some thought into it; you’re very specific. You know exactly what you’re looking for and makes you look more professional and they’re less likely to challenge that. It’s just a more serious response.

So, like I said, if they ask you, “What’s your range?” reply back and say, “I’m looking to make between 103 and 118” and they’re either going to say, “Okay, that’s within our range” or they’re going to say, “You know what? You’re too high for us. This job is really in the 90s. So, you’re just way outside of our range.”

So, they’re going to do one of two things; they’re going to say, “But you know what? We’re really interested in you. Let’s continue this process. We might have a little bit of wiggle room down the road.” So, that’s good for you to know. It’s good for them. That means they want to discuss things a little bit further to see if there’s something that they’re willing to pay extra for.

And I’ll tell you this; employers are not going to try to get you for less. If their job pays 120 thousand and maybe you’re only in the $80 thousand range, they’re not going to take advantage of you. Well, at least, the reputable employers are not going to take advantage of you.

So, if you’re making 80 thousand and this job pays 120 and you have the qualifications, the skills and the training to do the job, they’re not going to try to get you for 80 or 85, they’re going to pay you what the job is worth. So, if it’s worth 120 thousand, they’re going to pay you 120. So, don’t worry about that.

Now, earlier in this video, like I told you, if you’re in your third or fourth round of interviews and you haven’t discussed salary yet, you should bring it up. On one of your interviews, you should bring it up and say, “Has a salary arrangement determined for this position?”

Same question that I encourage you to ask him first round of interviews. If you failed to do it and you’re watching this video kind of late in the process, ask it in a third or fourth round. It might be a little bit more uncomfortable for you because it’s kind of like asking for a prenup before you get married, but bring it up. Bring it up in a sincere way and they should tell you what the range is by then; they should know.

Now, if they give you some flak for it and you say, “Why are you bringing up salary now? Aren’t you interested in the work?” Well, they shouldn’t. Only inexperienced interviewer will do that. But they should address your question and give you a suitable range for the position and then that should open the door to talk salary with them.

So, like again, if they say, “Our range is between 120 and 150, you could say, “Okay, you know, I’m okay with that.” As simple as that. You can have the conversation about salary at that time.

Now, I’m not going to get into negotiating in this video because negotiating can go on endlessly; there are so many different caveats to negotiating. We can make a two-hour video about this.

But if you want to go farther with negotiating; let’s say you’re getting down to the final rounds of accepting a job offer and you need some help negotiating, I do have a coaching program it’s called my High Performance Coaching Program, where you and I will sit down over Skype and we’ll figure out all the possible scenarios that you can go through in an interview and I’ll help you get the most money out of your interview.

So, if you’re interested in that, you can go to jobinterviewtools.com/hpc and I’ll put a link for that down below. That stands for High Performance Coaching. And you and I will just jump on a quick 60-minute call over Skype and we’ll talk salary.

We’ll talk about you know everything that has brought you up to this point before. We’ll talk about how to get more money from your job offer and I’ll teach you how to negotiate. And like I said, I can’t really teach you how to negotiate in a video here because it’s just one-way; it’s just me to you. I need you to come back to me.

So, I have a lot of questions for you and you and I will just kind of go back and forth and we’ll discuss salary, we’ll discuss what you’re worth, we’ll discuss how to have a backup plan. So, if you can’t get all the money you want, I’ll teach you how to get other things; like maybe vacation, maybe a car, maybe a nice office, maybe extra time off; whatever it is.

So if you can’t always get the money you want, I’ll teach you how to go outside of the game and get other things that are equally as valuable. And also, if they won’t give you all the money that you want upfront, I’ll teach you how to negotiate that in, like down the road.

So, let’s say you know you’re looking for 120 thousand, but they’re only willing to pay 100 thousand, I’ll teach how to negotiate where you can negotiate 120 down the road; like maybe six months down the road. You’re doing a great job that they’re going to commit ahead of time to paying you a $20 thousand bonus after six months.

So, that’s a whole another story for another day. But the point here is that I want to make with you today to teach you how to address those compensation issues early on in the interview process. And that will make discussing compensation and negotiating much easier down the road.

And besides, I mean, you’re not willing to work for free and you’re not willing to work for less than you’re worth. So, if this job is only paying 100 thousand and you’re looking to make 130 thousand, I want you to find that out before you go any further in the process, so you don’t waste your time; so you don’t get excited.

I mean there have been many times where (not many; maybe once or twice) but I’ve interviewed with an employer where I was looking to make $85 thousand a year, but after two rounds of interviews, I found out that the job only paid $50 thousand and they didn’t have any more money to pay any more. So, I basically spent two weeks and three or four hours of interviewing for nothing, only to find out it was significantly less than I was willing to accept.

And I don’t want you to go through that. I don’t want you to have to spend all your time with an employer, just to find out that they’re not going to pay you what you’re worth.

So, do your work, use salary.com, find out what you’re worth and know what range you want to be in and communicate that early on in the process; the first interview. And if the employer doesn’t bring up salary in the first interview, I want you to and I want you to feel comfortable talking about it.

Because like I said, think I’m willing to work for free; are you? I didn’t think so. I never wanted to work for free. I mean, I wanted the job. I didn’t want to be all about the money. And I know you don’t want to be all about the money either, but the money’s important.

The money is important as oxygen. We have to have it. That’s why we go to work. I mean, we have to eat. We have to pay for a place to live. We have to pay for a car. We have to pay for food. We have to raise a family. All this stuff cost money. I can’t go do a job for free for you without that; right? You can’t do that. No.

You need the money, but you don’t have to make it sound like you’re all about the money, because that makes us feel cheap. It’s like asking for a prenup right before we get married; “Don’t you love me? You want to protect your money? What’s more important; your money or our relationship?”

It’s kind of the same thing when you start asking about salary, that third or fourth round of the interviews. “Do you want to work here? I thought you liked us. You’re all about the money. Go away.” Bring that up early on so that you don’t have those awkward moments later on in the process. All right.

And if you want to dig deeper into negotiating, like I said, if you’re already in the third or fourth round of interviews and you want to dig deep in negotiating the best offer for you, reach out to me at jobinterviewtools.com/hpc. You and I will jump on a call with Skype and I’ll get all the details from you and we’ll talk about getting you the most money; getting you what you work for the job.

All right my friend. It’s all I have for you today. And if you like this video, you like the kind of things I’m doing around here, subscribe to my channel so you can get updates every time I release a new video. And until then, we’ll see you in the next video. Bye now.

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About The Author

Don Georgevich

Author of 4 top selling interviewing books, speaker, and job interview strategy coach. The one person everyone calls on before a difficult job interview.

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