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How to Negotiate Salary at an Interview

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Discussing and negotiating for salary is a very crucial part of any job interview. Even the most seasoned of candidates often find it a nerve wracking task. However bungling on this aspect can hurt you in many ways. You ask for too much, and you lose the

How to Negotiate Salary at an Interview

     

Introduction

Discussing and negotiating for salary is a very crucial part of any job interview. Even the most seasoned of candidates often find it a nerve wracking task. However bungling on this aspect can hurt you in many ways. You ask for too much, and you lose the game. If you ask for less, you end up with the nagging feeling that you could have got more. Here are a few pointers to how you can arrive at win-win solutions to the task.

Do Your Homework

You expect the question to pop up, so why go unprepared? Therefore do your research and assessment beforehand. First of all, decide on your priorities at the moment- what are you looking for in this new job? Is it more money, responsibility, a more comfortable balance between work and personal life, a workplace nearer home, a great company? This helps to decide on areas that you can compromise and areas where you have to hold fast.

Research into the industry standards of pay for the job you are interviewing for. This can be done through the internet. You can also get the information from a dependable contact in the industry. However be flexible in your outlook- factors such as company size, the economy and amount of competition for the job have a role in deciding the actual package.

Do It at the Right Time

Avoid talking about salary at the start of the interview. Let the interviewer bring it up. Your first task is to convince the interviewer how you can add value to the organization. Give specific examples to support your line. In other words, you need to first sell your expertise to the company. Once this is accomplished, the interviewer will naturally be as flexible as can be in negotiating the salary.

In case the interviewer brings up the question too early in the interview, stall the question for the time being. You can say something like “Money is of course important to me, but what matters most is to see how suitable I am for the position. I would like to explore that first and then come to the salary part, if that is alright with you”

As stated earlier, you will need to keep some amount of flexibility. Companies have their own pre-defined ranges of salary for each position. Most won’t allow exceptions. Therefore the flexible aspects are likely to come in factors like a signing bonus, extra vacation time and such perks.

Be Forthright

When the time is ripe to talk about salary, do it in a direct way. However you would do well to talk in terms of ranges that fit well with the industry standards. This could be put across as “I am looking at a salary in the range of Rs.12-14 lakh p.a. However this can be modified for the right opportunity”

It is perfectly alright to be direct here as long as you are well aware of the industry standards. This in fact would help both parties to avoid waste of time in making a decision.

Use the Right Tone

Under all circumstances, it is important to use the right tone in negotiating the salary. If what the interviewer offers is less than what you expected, it is still important to be courteous. Thank the interviewer and see if they can be flexible in the areas that you have identified as the most crucial to you. Whether they are or not, ask for time to consider and avoid talking of new terms at that time.

If the interviewer can offer no flexibility at all, you might not want to take up the offer. Either accept the offer or decline it politely. If they offer you flexibility in the most crucial areas and you are happy enough, work out all the details in a second conversation before you sign the offer letter/ contract.

Summary

To sum it up, preparation and the right tone are the deciding factors for successful salary negotiations. Behave like a thorough professional when talking about your salary. Your conduct at this juncture will remain with the interviewer and other important people involved and influence all future negotiations for a raise or other perks.

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Posted on: March 29, 2008

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