You Want How Much? 5 Steps for Sucessfully Playing the Salary Game
At times, finding out the salary a job is paying is like playing hide and seek. If a company does not want to tell you the salary, there is nothing you can do. If they want to know what you were making, how long can you dodge? Here are some tips that might help you with this issue.
1. Understand that most companies have grade levels. A particular job will be assigned a grade level with a minimum, mid-point and maximum. Most will try to hire someone within the minimum to mid-point level. This will allow for raises over the coming years. It is not always easy to change that grade level or it can take time for a company to get the information it needs to change the level.
2. Before you start looking for a position, know what dollar number you are comfortable with and what number is the bottom line for you. Also start thinking about other important item for you — vacation time, commute etc. What is non-negotiable and what is not?
3. You will probably be asked early on by HR or a recruiter what your salary is/was or what you would like. It’s hard to avoid this. You can give them your last/current salary or you can try: “I’m open.” That will not get you anywhere with a recruiter but might work with HR. Remember, if hired, the company can ask for a pay stub or ask your salary information from your company. Be honest.
4. You might be invited back to a company a number of times and never have a salary mentioned. Well, if you are invited back, there is something about you that the company likes. Good sign. You can chose to bring the subject up, but sometimes raising the issue can signal that you are money-motivated and a company might not like that attribute. Bringing up the subject of salary and benefits too early is definitely a bad signal.
5. Now, go back to item 2. Start thinking of what is really important to you — lower salary and less headaches; a job; a title or the money. The ‘number’ might be fine for you. If it isn’t, what will make it better — more vacation, a sign-on bonus, bonus opportunity?
In my experience, there is usually a small amount of wiggle room in the salary. That said, HR has to take into consideration the salary of the hiring manager and others in the department/similar jobs. A recruiter can help you with this but, if you are on your own, be upfront and offer solutions.