A question from Jenny about negotiating her salary PART 1

Last week I got a question from Jenny about negotiating her salary. I think it’s a great situation for us to break down together (thanks Jenny!).

Here’s what Jenny said in her message to me:
“When companies ask about my desired salary range, I’ve used a version of the line ‘for my experience, the current market salary range goes up to $X.’

Note, the first time they ask, I don’t give a # or range, but if they ask a second time, I’ll provide the above line. I believe it is a good base salary (even my previous boss suggested I ask for this), but they often sound surprised and always respond that it is above the range they’re able to afford.

It seems that in order to move forward, I have to be ok with the given salary range, which for two interviews, I have said the below quotes.

I feel pushed into a corner and don’t believe my responses have been setting me up for a successful negotiation for the actual conversation in the future.

1) “Salary is not the only thing I’m looking for, so I’m ok with this range and would like to discuss more when as we move forward.”

2) “This range is lower than expected, is this a final number or is there room to discuss?” Usually not much wiggle room, and I revert to line #1.

I still want to move forward bc I’m interested in the companies but would like to position myself better when it comes to salary negotiations.

Do you have any suggestions in these situations? Hope this is a good topic for us (the email community) to discuss, thanks!”

I’m going to break this into 2 post this week so it’s not too long.

Let’s start with some ideas to help Jenny navigate the first parts of her conversation about salary…

“When companies ask about my desired salary range, I’ve used a version of the line ‘for my experience, the current market salary range goes up to $X.’

IDEAS: You might try adjusting this by adding some statistics like, “I’ve done this research (on Glassdoor and Salary.com) which tells me the range goes up to X.”

WHY? This takes the subjectivity out of your statement.

WHY ELSE? Not fair, but true…you’re walking the double bind line that says women have to be both nice and assertive at the same time. It’s a delicate balance and one that we’re penalized for, especially when asking for what we want.

I HATE THIS ADVICE BUT IT WORKS: Overcompensate for this by being extra polite and complimentary, reiterating that you’re excited about the job before you ask. I hate this advice because I resent that I have to be extra complimentary, which doesn’t feel sincere. That said, if you are sincerely excited about the job, this is the time to tell them.

Immediately after they ask about your salary, say your version of, “I’m really excited about this opportunity. I think my skills are matched well with the job (you can go on as long as you like in this section). I’ve done some research on Glassdoor, Salary.com and I’ve spoken with colleagues in the field at other companies. My research tells me that this position pays up to $X.”

“Note, the first time they ask, I don’t give a # or range, but if they ask a second time, I’ll provide the above line. I believe it is a good base salary (even my previous boss suggested I ask for this), but they often sound surprised and always respond that it is above the range they’re able to afford.”

IDEAS: If you start with the suggestions above, they may not sound as surprised. However they could definitely be using a “I’m so surprised tactic” to throw you off. Or they could be genuinely surprised if your number is too high for your geography or skill level or what they’ve paid in the past.

They may not have adjusted that salary in a while, it’s hard to know unless you ask.

You can try asking a question like, “I’m curious to know how you came up with the salary that you’re offering.”

For a lot of people, that feels too risky. I get it.

If you’re not comfortable with that type of question, then say the above statement reminding them that you want the job and then say something like, “And although I would love to take this job, I’m sure you understand how important it is for me to negotiate the best salary I can.”

Be honest and authentic, unless you think you’re dealing with a hardball negotiator. In most cases the hiring person wants to get the best talent for the lowest price. And if the culture is too cheap to pay a good wage you have to ask yourself if you’ll be happy there.

On the other hand, there are things to consider other than just salary. Will you get good experience that will help you move from where you are to where you want to be in your career?

You may sacrifice the salary you want if you’re clearly getting something else that will help you move up.

I’ll discuss the second half of Jenny’s question on Thursday.

The best defense is to be prepared! If you have ideas for Jenny that differ or add on to mine, comment below and let me know.

Warmly,
Melissa

Could you do me a favor and click on the link below to tell me when it comes to negotiating, what is the single biggest challenge, frustration or problem that you’ve been struggling with?
– or –
It only takes a minute or two and would mean the world to me.
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