Friday, September 24, 2010
The artful dodge in talking salary history
Salary negotiations can be a tough terrain to navigate, especially these days when employers have cut salaries, skipped pay raises, or combined multiple positions, leaving many employees paid well beneath their worth.
Seventeen percent of unemployed workers have received at least one job offer since they became unemployed, yet 92 percent of them declined the offers with pay being the most commonly cited reason candidates turned down a job. (CareerBuilder.com)
It's common for companies to ask job candidates to divulge their salary history early in the process. Revealing this information without shooting yourself in the foot is tricky. But lying about your salary is never a good idea.
So how should one proceed?
The editors of Money Magazine (Sept. 21) recommend artfully dodging the question utilizing these strategies:
Avoid talking hard numbers. Leave the salary history space blank on an application or write "discuss in person". In an interview, suggest that the conversation first center around the job opportunity rather than salary history.
Focus on total compensation. Use the total of your wages plus any stock options, 401(k) match, bonuses, and upcoming raises.
Research salaries for similar positions. Do your homework so you have the figures to negotiate upward.