Salary negotiating is a critical subject that must be tackled prior to your initial interview with a prospective employer. Finding out your bottom rate, and being able to live with it (or on it?) is an important thing for job applicants to uncover before the first interview. Why then do a number of people make the tactical mistake and go to the interview unprepared? Lets take a look at how to negotiate salary during a job interview.
Don’t disclose the amount too early
Tipping your hand too early in the interview process on what you will accept for a salary is one of the first killer mistakes. A number of hiring managers will try to screen you out by finding out what your ballpark figure is. To disclose that figure too early in the interview process can and will lock you in to an amount you might not be happy with later. Trying to change your salary requirements after an offer has been given will make you look like a greedy person.
Have a salary range
Before going on the first interview you must have a salary range in mind. You then have to be determined not to reveal it in that interview or you just might find yourself on the outside looking in. In other words, you will be screened out of the selection process before you can show the hiring manager (the individual with hiring authority, not the Human Resources representative) what you can do for them.
Try to stall the interviewer If you are asked on the first interview what your salary requirements are. Chances are the first interview is with an HR rep who is trained to screen people out. Most of the times the salary requirement is one of the things the rep looks at to weed out candidates. More than likely the human resource representative is a no-nothing regarding your job. They are just tasked with presenting a certain group of job applicants to the person with actual hiring authority. For example operations manager, chief pilot, chief flight attendant, etc. They care little about what you can do for the company or your background.
I have seen the best candidates get screened out prematurely because they tipped their hand too early in the interview process.
So, if someone insists on a salary figure what do you do? The best answer can be summed up along these lines. My salary requirements are based on the scope and nature of the position. In other words, the higher your salary requirements will be, the more difficult the job. If pressed further — assuming the person insists on knowing your salary range. You can always mention a figure closer to your bottom rate. For instance, if you want 70K and sense that saying that figure ahead of time will sink you. You can tell them, my range starts in the upper 50s to mid 60s. That way, you wont be weeded out for what the human resource representative might consider an excessive salary requirement. Most importantly, it will allow you to go to the all important second interview with the individual who has real hiring authority.
The second interview
Your second interview is your opportunity to impress the hiring manager. Mention to them all the things you can and will do for them. At this stage avoid salary negotiating and let them know they cant do without you. Once you sell them on that point, you will be ready to give your salary figure of 70K. But, only discuss salary if they bring it up. Your third interview should be their actual offer to you. However, be ready for an offer earlier than that if you impress them and they insist on employing you on the spot. In that case you should be able to secure your upper figure.
Should they mention that the HR told them you would accept a much lower salary. You must say that the job responsibilities mentioned to you in the interview are much greater than what the human resource rep had indicated. Most reasonable people will know that HR only has a general, not a specific understanding of the job responsibilities, and will accept this reasoning. Reemphasize your business acumen, experience, all the points that set you apart from the average job applicant, which you are not.
I cannot tell you how the number of times i have heard candidates fail at this important game. Which it is — a cat and mouse game. Never should you think that you will be able to renegotiate your salary later. If you settle for less you will have to live with that. Maybe that works for you, but chances are you will not be happy and wish you never accepted the offer.