How To Negotiate Salary Part II: Respond To The Questions, “What Are You Looking For?”

In my last post, I gave you some ideas about preparing yourself to discuss money in conjunction with a job offer. This time I’d like to give you a strategy that will help you avoid the uncomfortable salary discussion before it is even relevant.

Most of the time, money is one of the first things discussed in the interview process and usually brought up by Human Resources. This is the wrong time and the wrong person to talk money with. Unless you are interested in working in personnel why would you negotiate your salary with personnel? The truth is that companies want to know what you want before they take the time to set up a meeting with the hiring authority.

Your Recruiter is responsible for negotiating on your behalf:

If you are being represented to the company by a recruiter, tell the interviewer that the recruiter told you that they handle all issues of money. Let the recruiter take the heat. That is their job. Let them work for their placement fee.

If you are not working through a recruiter, you are on your own:

If you are not represented by a recruiter, and HR asks what it will take for you to take their offer to tell them your most recent salary with your bonus and say, “I am open to any reasonable offer”. If they insist, ask them how you can make a decision without meeting the hiring authority, meeting your potential colleagues or knowing the challenges facing you should you take the job? If HR can’t tell you how much overtime you will work or the percentage of travel that is required you can’t tell them what is acceptable and unacceptable. If they insist on a number, tell them your most recent salary with bonus and say, “I will accept any reasonable offer”.

This is the same strategy I would use with hiring authority and anyone else you encounter in the interviewing process. Let them make you an offer before you commit to a number.

My next installment will cover, “How To Negotiate An Offer”.

For more information, you can contact me at sean@jacksonmccarthy.com.