Your negotiating power stems from your ability to demonstrate how your contributions will increase revenue and productivity and/or decrease costs and stress for your employer.
Therefore, the earlier you talk about salary (without having first addressed the employers’ concerns), the worse your negotiating position. Here are some winning answers that both quell the hiring manager’s thirst for a figure and leave you some breathing room to pull in a favorable salary:
- If prompted for compensation requirements before the interview, avoid giving a “ballpark” figure. Instead say, “I’d like to find out more about this position and the needs of the company before we talk about salary.”
- If probed for salary information during or immediately following the interview, politely decline by saying “I’ve learned a lot in meeting with you and I remain interested. However, I’d like some time to fully digest our discussion. Is ____ soon enough to get back to you so that I’m still in the running?”
- If you’re pressured repeatedly to give your salary requirements and you see no way around supplying an answer, try this: “I’m looking at positions that fall within the $____ and $____ salary range.” This comment will satisfy the hiring manager’s demands while leaving yourself with some breathing room to negotiate later. But most importantly, you’ll be subtly volleying the pressure back onto the hiring manager’s side of the table by insinuating there are forthcoming offers from competing organizations.
Remember the age-old rule of negotiation. He who speaks first loses. So if you must speak, make sure your answer is general enough to force your prospective employer to show some of the cards in their hand.