Margolin proposes: “One can request to defer to a later time and gauge the response. . . If done tactfully, it would not be unfavorable. If the recruiter becomes insistent, the candidate would have to decide if he or she wants to disclose at that point.”If you share information, aim to keep it high level.
If a range is provided in the post: “I’m comfortable with the range indicated, and I’ll be ready to discuss further as I learn more about the company, its benefits, and the position.”
If no range is indicated: “I am hoping to learn the salary range for this position.” If it fits with your research, use the response above.
If you’re asked for your salary history, aim to defer. You don’t want to volunteer this as a compensation starting point. Learning what you earned in a previous job is not relevant to the current conversation.Margolin recommends this language: “Given that I am transitioning from an industry with a vastly different pay structure (or perhaps geographic location or have been with one company for many years and have not tested the market), I do not think my salary history is very relevant and I would like to focus on fit for the role at this point.”If you feel like you need to answer with a concrete number, Margolin suggests providing “the history but contextualize it as to why it is not applicable to current negotiations.” He recommends a statement such as: “Although in my last salary I grew from 40k to 70k over 12 years, the 70k was under market value. It was a great place to grow, but I am now ready to test the market.” It’s also a great opportunity to ask your questions about benefits, raises, bonuses and perks.
Once you learn that you’re through to the next round, you can employ a more granular strategy.
In A Late-Stage Or Final Interview
You’re ready! You know what you want. You understand what this employer has to offer. Because you have a range in mind, think through what you think might be offered and how you would counter various proposals.
Margolin scripts several ways this can play out:
Interviewer: “We would like to make you an offer of $46k per year.”
Interviewee: Thank you for the offer…Would it be possible to negotiate on salary? I’m very interested in the position, but seeking $48-53k per year.”
At this point, the interviewer can answer in one of several different ways. If your interviewer says “We can offer you $52k,” for example, try countering with “Thank you. I’d like to talk it over with my family and confirm the details. I am really excited about the potential of working together.”
If the interviewer says, “I will have to speak with management about the possibility of a higher offer,” make sure to ask “When should I follow up with you?” so they know you mean business.
If they say, “We cannot give a higher salary,” try responding with: “Okay. Is there flexibility on some of the benefits? Can my salary be reevaluated at six months once I have proven myself? If it can, at what rate can I expect my salary to increase?”
You and your soon-to-be employers share the goal of arriving at a compensation package that will keep you happy in your new position. So welcome your next salary negotiation–it sets the bar for fit in your new role.