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The Salary Question


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Old 3rd October 2016, 10:52 PM   #1
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The Salary Question

I am going to an interview later this week for a higher position in my company. I've heard from people I know that when interviewing for a position such as this, you end up getting asked what kind/size of salary you want/expect. One guy said that they gave him what he asked for, but wouldn't tell me what that was. My company tends to be pretty generous with salaries. I have a great position, and was actually surprised when I got my current position that they gave me about 25% more than I would have expected.

In my past positions, I've never really been asked this. Usually there is just an offer. I have a ballpark guess of what the position might earn based on a coworker's knowledge, (+/- about $10k a year), but I'm not sure if I should state this or not. One advantage I feel like I would be giving up if I state a number is the ability to "lowball" compared to other people who might ask for more. Here's my possible responses to the question -

1. "I honestly don't know what to ask for, but I've heard that between X and X is the going rate"
2. State my ideal number and hope for the best.
3. State the lowest number of the range I've heard.
4. State a middle or higher number of the range I've heard.

I dislike having to give a number first due to losing advantage, either when selling/buying a car (ie "what's your offer). I don't want to state a high number and seem greedy or expensive, but I don't want to sell myself short and get much less than I could have gotten.

What would you do? Advice? Any actual hiring people/managers on this site who ask that question for real?
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Old 3rd October 2016, 11:03 PM   #2
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I think you should lay the groundwork first showing why a pay increase is a good idea..then ask for 2. State my ideal number and hope for the best.
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Old 3rd October 2016, 11:03 PM   #3
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Best way to handle it is research your area and/or state to find the salary range for similar positions, since you already work for this company add 5℅ to that number, since your already established with them.

I always get excited about someone who does this, show due diligence and that they are serious about their career. Overpricing yourself is a huge red flag, but not as huge as under pricing. Underpricing show a lack of knowledge.
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Old 4th October 2016, 1:51 AM   #4
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The number should be reflective of your skill set and effort you are willing to put for the position.
I will suggest you quote your salary expectations above your ideal number. (Do some research as suggested by DKT3). Don't overprice. If the company is generous, it's great else if they want to negotiate you have some kind of buffer to fall back to your ideal salary.
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Old 4th October 2016, 8:05 AM   #5
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Go to salary.com and look up your position for your area and see where you fall in the benchmark. That will give you a good starting point. Then,assuming there is a higher range, argue why your skills, experience, etc. should put you to the other end of the bell curve. And definitely start with what you want, know how low you would possible go and negotiate from there.
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Old 4th October 2016, 9:00 AM   #6
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The problem with #1,3 and 4 is the part, "I heard". It suggests you've been talking salary with other employees and will not look good.


State a little higher than your ideal # and go from there. You could say you want $100 million a year, it's not like they are going to fire you or hold it against you unless you are demanding it and won't take no for an answer.


Even if it falls flat you are presenting it as ideally I would like to make...and if they come back lower you have an opportunity to ask what it will take to get you to that higher number. Win-win, no way you can lose.


If you ask for less, you will obviously not get more even though they might be willing to pay more. There's no real win there.
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Old 4th October 2016, 11:29 AM   #7
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Glassdoor is another place you might want to look because they post salaries for different titles. You'll probably figure out the range they pay if your company is large enough to have a few reviews.
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Old 4th October 2016, 9:13 PM   #8
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I've done some looking online, and the numbers I get are all over the board. It doesn't help that the job description isn't very specific.

Spoke with the guy who's retiring whose job (while a bit modified), is the one I'm applying for. We get along really well, and he hopes that I get it. His answer is to avoid the question and pretty much say, "It's negotiable." He stated that he has never answered the question directly with a number. He knows the people who are doing the hiring. He says that if I say a number too high, they'll pick someone who says a lower number. Too low, that won't work either, but apparently the company is hoping to reduce the pay of the position from what it has been.

What do you think of this advice? Do I simply sidestep a bit and avoid being pinned down?
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Old 4th October 2016, 11:33 PM   #9
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That's interesting advice. This sounds like a good promotion (congrats!) which means they want the most qualified candidate...not the lowest bidder.

I don't think an employer will ever pay you more than you ask for. Ever. Knowing that, you should ask for 5% more than what you think you deserve (based on research). Since you have a good idea of what they are willing to pay- within 10K, aim for the higher end.

Would an employer actually not offer you a position because you asked for too much money?
I think they'd just counter the offer with what they're willing to pay. I mean, unless you ask for some absurd amount of money that makes you look like an idiot, but it sounds like you've done your research, so I think you should be okay. Go for it! Confidence is everything in salary negotiations.
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Old 5th October 2016, 2:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by major_merrick View Post
I've done some looking online, and the numbers I get are all over the board. It doesn't help that the job description isn't very specific.

Spoke with the guy who's retiring whose job (while a bit modified), is the one I'm applying for. We get along really well, and he hopes that I get it. His answer is to avoid the question and pretty much say, "It's negotiable." He stated that he has never answered the question directly with a number. He knows the people who are doing the hiring. He says that if I say a number too high, they'll pick someone who says a lower number. Too low, that won't work either, but apparently the company is hoping to reduce the pay of the position from what it has been.

What do you think of this advice? Do I simply sidestep a bit and avoid being pinned down?

I think you should have asked him for a range than a particular number itself. Nobody feels comfortable disclosing their salary details. Also one is ethically bound not to disclose their salary particulars. Anyway his suggestion seems fine.
The salary numbers are different on account of variable JD, experience, company etc. Since you have already researched about the salary numbers, I would suggest you do some ground work on how to do salary negotiation since you are doing it for the first time.
Don't quote figures (over /below) which you can't justify and be assertive while negotiating the salary. Remember indirectly your soft skills would be put to test while negotiating the salary.
Good Luck.
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Old 5th October 2016, 11:03 AM   #11
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My advice is to do research what is the salary for this position (LinkedIn Premium for example will give you a range) and shoot for the upper end, giving a relatively narrow range. That assumes this number is close or higher to your ideal - saying that because what will happen most likely is you'll receive exactly what you asked for, so don't be shy, just keep it realistic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by major_merrick View Post
I am going to an interview later this week for a higher position in my company. I've heard from people I know that when interviewing for a position such as this, you end up getting asked what kind/size of salary you want/expect. One guy said that they gave him what he asked for, but wouldn't tell me what that was. My company tends to be pretty generous with salaries. I have a great position, and was actually surprised when I got my current position that they gave me about 25% more than I would have expected.

In my past positions, I've never really been asked this. Usually there is just an offer. I have a ballpark guess of what the position might earn based on a coworker's knowledge, (+/- about $10k a year), but I'm not sure if I should state this or not. One advantage I feel like I would be giving up if I state a number is the ability to "lowball" compared to other people who might ask for more. Here's my possible responses to the question -

1. "I honestly don't know what to ask for, but I've heard that between X and X is the going rate"
2. State my ideal number and hope for the best.
3. State the lowest number of the range I've heard.
4. State a middle or higher number of the range I've heard.

I dislike having to give a number first due to losing advantage, either when selling/buying a car (ie "what's your offer). I don't want to state a high number and seem greedy or expensive, but I don't want to sell myself short and get much less than I could have gotten.

What would you do? Advice? Any actual hiring people/managers on this site who ask that question for real?
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Old 5th October 2016, 11:59 AM   #12
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I do agree with your coworker. Avoid it at all costs. I usually say something like "If we both agree this job is a good fit, I'm sure we'll be able to figure out the other stuff as I am just looking for something competitive to what similar positions pay" or something to that effect. I try to shift the focus on being right for the job.
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Old 5th October 2016, 3:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Peach View Post
I do agree with your coworker. Avoid it at all costs. I usually say something like "If we both agree this job is a good fit, I'm sure we'll be able to figure out the other stuff as I am just looking for something competitive to what similar positions pay" or something to that effect. I try to shift the focus on being right for the job.
Yep. I agree with this.

I've been in this situation a few times, and once they decide you're the right fit, I think money rarely holds up the promotion.
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Old 5th October 2016, 11:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Peach View Post
I do agree with your coworker. Avoid it at all costs. I usually say something like "If we both agree this job is a good fit, I'm sure we'll be able to figure out the other stuff as I am just looking for something competitive to what similar positions pay" or something to that effect. I try to shift the focus on being right for the job.
Nice line. I think I'll modify it a bit and attempt to do a redirect/sidestep. If pressed, I can use a number range that seems reasonable based on the going rate in my area, and cite research rather than chats with coworkers.
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