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Negotiate Salary Without Pricing Yourself Out Of The Job

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There are some interview questions companies ask to quickly assess the cost or value of a potential employee. It’s best to ask yourself a few questions before you face those. One of the issues to ponder is, “How do you negotiate salary without pricing yourself out of the job?” One strategy sets clear expectations for both parties and gives you a good position in the negotiations.

Where’s Price On The Company’s Totem Pole?

The employer often thinks like a consumer. If they’re asking about salary early in the interview process, then price is a big deal to them. You could be making such a good impression that they think you are out of their price range. If that’s the case, you’ve done a great job of showcasing your skills to them. They may be really concerned about price instead though.

Regardless of their stance, if they think they’ll lose your interest in the job if it’s too easy for you, then they need to make sure they’re not paying you too much more than they expected to. Having voluntary employee turnover is very expensive for businesses, which is why they can be so sensitive about over-qualification. They’ll want to know where you stand financially and in your responsibilities.

A lot of companies have a line item in their budget for hiring, and they can’t go above it, so this situation is somewhat common. If they find that information out early, then they won’t waste time on someone who wouldn’t take the job or would leave if a better opportunity came up.

Your Defense Against Tough Salary Negotiation Is Having A Salary Range

Anyone who doesn’t exhibit a clear expectation about their income is uncomfortable to them. If you negotiate salary, ask what the salary range is for the position. It will be easier for them to answer that than if you just say you’ll “take what’s available,” but they still may not disclose what they would like to pay. If they offer more than what you were expecting anyway, then they may feel they wasted money. Offering a range gives them a sense of control without you making a sacrifice you’re not willing to make.

Plan for the absolute lowest amount of money that you would take, as well as your ideal income for the position. The latter figure could be as much as 30% or 40% higher than the low number. It’s okay to tell them you have a large range. If they ask why the disparity is so much, you can answer that price is not your only concern. Exhibit how important your happiness in the workplace is and the other perks (benefits, work environment, co-workers, etc.) you would like to receive to give them some flexibility.

Stand your ground on your low point though, explaining that many other things would have to be great for you to accept that salary.

If you’re transparent with them, and they can offer other perks to make it worth your time, then you can continue with the interview process. If they can’t match at least your minimum offer, then neither side should try to continue. An impasse in a compensation package isn’t exactly easy or quick to overcome.


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