Getting Your Desired Pay Level after a Job Offer
When you’ve received a job offer after the interview, it’s time to ensure that you get the pay level you deserve for the position offered. The market rate that big companies typically pay for a job is often stated in a range with a minimum, midpoint, and maximum salary. Smaller companies may not operate on such a formal spectrum.
Work within your salary range
When you’re offered (or virtually offered) a job and are asked to name your price, bounce the ball back into the interviewer’s court: Can I ask you to take the lead on this question — can you tell me your range for this position? (If you did your homework, you already know the range. You’re merely asking for confirmation.)
Most often the interviewer who doesn’t mind tossing the first figure on the table will respond with a straightforward answer. But interviewers may try to save the company a few dollars by purposely misrepresenting the midpoint to be the maximum salary.
Polite probing is one way to respond: I’m not sure I heard you correctly, or perhaps my research is wrong. Did you say that $55,000 (midpoint figure) is the high end of the range for this position? I thought it was $60,000, which fits in my range.
When the interviewer bounces the ball right back into your court, express your salary requirements in a range based on the going rate for the job: I’d be expecting salary in the range of ($58,000 to $65,000). I think that’s a range we can work with, don’t you?
Citing a salary range gives you haggling room and shows that you’re economically aware. Not sure where you should land in the range? Match your request to your experience level:
Don’t ask for bottom of the range unless you’re a rookie. Even then, you should try to position yourself as a top rookie candidate.
Experienced people should ask for a pay point just above midrange — not only to show that you’re above average, but also that you understand the need to leave room for raises.
Highly qualified candidates head toward the top of the company’s projected range, where they belong.
Use dramatic silences
What should you do when the interviewer offers you a salary on a lower level of the salary range for the position? Keep quiet! As the interviewer finishes the offer and waits for your reply, let the interviewer wait for enough time to notice your silence. Look at the floor. Keep your face glum.
These moments of nonverbal communication show your dissatisfaction with the offer, without a word to incriminate you as overly hungry for money. The interviewer may feel compelled by this uncomfortable silence to improve the offer. Or at least open a dialogue in which you can campaign for other kinds of rewards.
Stonewalled? Try to upgrade the job
Once you’ve established what the position entails and you’re told you’ve received the best offer and that the job isn’t worth more, try to make the position more important in the scheme of things.
Point out that the job requires more than the standard duties suggested by the job title — that the job’s content fits into a job description that merits a higher pay bracket. Clarify how you plan to minimize company costs through your performance. By using this tactic, you more firmly establish your worth to the company.
When it seems as though the right numbers just aren’t on your radar, try a straightforward response:
It pains me to say this. While I’m very attracted to what we’ve been discussing, the figure you named is just not an incentive for me to join your group. The good news is that we’re both interested, so let’s keep talking. What do you think?