The job interview process can be equal parts stressful and exciting. You’re polishing your resume, evaluating your strengths, reaching out to contacts, and maybe even making a few cold calls. There are different conversations every step of the way, and each one is an opportunity for both you and your potential employer to put your best foot forward.
Even after an interview is behind you, there’s still the conversation about salary expectations that trips up many candidates. It goes beyond knowing your own value and what you bring to the table; we’re just not used to discussing compensation so plainly with someone who has the benefit of institutional knowledge on their side. Still, there are ways to feel more confident and prepared when the time comes.
Do Your Research
Part of your pre-interview prep should include salary expectations for the position. Some companies post the compensation along with the job description, which can help with a starting point for both parties. If you haven’t been given a general idea of what’s being offered, author and career coach Octavia Goredema recommends waiting as long as possible or at least until the offer stage to discuss numbers.
Ask Their Range
All women should feel confident in knowing and asking for what they’re worth, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. If we lowball ourselves, we’re unknowingly leaving money on the table. Shoot too high too early, and the interviewer might be turned off and go on to the next candidate asking for less money. We don’t often recommend passing the buck, but this is an instance you should. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask the interviewer what salary range she has in mind.
Prepare Your Response
Even after asking the hiring manager to give you an idea of compensation, you might be pressed again for your desired range. If that’s the case, you now have the research you did earlier to back up your response. Experts say to put your absolute minimum at the bottom of the range and give yourself room for negotiation upward.
Angela Copeland, senior vice president of marketing at Recruiter.com, says that while there are different ways of answering questions about salary expectations, hiring managers like to see candidates who have done research on current comparable pay for a specific position. When you’re confident in your own worth and have the information you need, you’re much more likely to get the offer you want.