August 17, 2016 – Colleen Niese -

Ask For What You’ve Earned

Well, once again I find myself in the same spot with a potentially strong candidate when I ask about salary expectations. In response, I hear the coy’ish, “I am open to being paid what I’m worth.”  Aren’t we all.

There’s a lot of discussion about how today’s candidate has changed. Actually the overall process to recruit is different and with all that, the conversation between potential employer and employee has shifted when it comes to compensation.  So if you’re in the job market seeking your next career, here are a few tips when it comes to addressing your pay expectations.

Know What You’re Worth, Salary Wise

If you truly don’t know the dollar value of your position in your marketplace, do some homework.  Ask folks within your workplace or your network who you trust their understanding of the pay scale for your job title.  Depending on your relationship and timing, you could also re-connect with your last leader and ask him/her what your successor was paid after you left.  Lastly, research compensation studies through Google and keep in mind, if it’s free, the information may be limited, a bit biased and dated.  To obtain the most accurate and objective report, you’ll want to visit a site that requires a small fee for the report; well worth the investment, given these types of documents come with lots of content that rationalizes base pay, bonus, commissions, etc.

Balance Data and Emotion

Acknowledge for yourself the difference between what you want, and what you’ve earned.  It’s not unusual, especially when we interview those candidates who have extended tenure with one company, that their salary expectations are based more on what they feel is owed, not necessarily what the position is offering.  When you start your search, try to be a bit more open minded regarding what the market will pay, especially if you’re looking on a national level.  Also take into account the internal salary adjustments you’ve earned with promotions as well as those that were annual cost of living adjustments.

Stay Committed to Your Salary Expectations

The last and most important aspect is to stay committed to your range.  Employers don’t appreciate when a candidate gives his expectations and then starts to apologize or negotiate against himself in the same conversation.  If you’ve done your homework, acknowledged your worth through a critical eye, then stay committed to your number.  If it’s rejected, so what? It’s probably not going to be a good fit.  More likely you’ll leave a lasting impression throughout the process that your conviction is rooted in data.

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