For many job seekers, discussions about salary are uncomfortable.
Because an employer generally has a budget in which he must work, there’s really no way to avoid this topic and the company will need to know what kind of money you’re looking for so they can ascertain whether or not they can afford your services.
The starting point for such discussions is usually what you are earning at present. A good response to this question is: “Well, Mr. Jones, while my base salary is 40K, when I add in my commissions each year, I’m actually making $50,000. And, in just a few months, I will be receiving an increase in my base pay of another 5%.”
This lets your prospective employer know exactly where things stand and he can then ask the next logical question which is: “How much would you expect if you should be offered this position?” This will give you a chance to discuss other features of the job, by saying: “Serving as Area Manager for your company would be an important step up for me, and one for which I feel well qualified, given my professional experience to date. While I would, of course, like to maintain my current standard of living, I would look forward to the opportunity to expand your product line internationally. I am therefore confident that your offer to me will be a fair one.”
If you are really pressed to provide a dollar amount, cite an acceptable range: “I would hope for something in the low to mid 50’s.” The employer now has an idea of what it will take to woo you away from your current firm and you have given him some flexibility in terms of his offer to you.
Another good answer to this question is: “I’d be happy to accept this job with only a slight increase in my current salary, if we can work out a review in 6 months. By that time, I am confident that I will have demonstrated my worth to your company.”
Remember: it’s always dangerous to discuss salary too early in the interview. If it comes up, try to defer it until later, after you’ve had the chance to explore what it is you can do for the company and why the employer needs your talents. Otherwise, it may look as though salary is the only reason you want the job.
The more the employer thinks he needs you, the greater his salary offer is likely to be. (Just make sure that you can live up to the promises you’ve made!)