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Timing and honesty are everything in salary discussions….probably in life, too! When to have a salary discussion in the interview process and how to present your current compensation and justify your expected compensation should all be well thought out before you start interviewing. Your recruiter can be a great help in setting your strategy, offering their insight on the company and the career path compensation information they have. Don’t make the following mistakes!

1. Refuse to go on the interview until the salary is in line with what you want.

The JOB should be in line with what you want and you should have the confidence that your abilities will justify the salary you are targeting. Of course your target salary needs to be reasonable!

2. Refuse to give your current compensation.

Secrecy and subterfuge are not great interview strategies. Why not give your current salary? Are you ashamed of it? If you are overpaid, why are you looking to leave? Good answers to these questions allow room for realistic negotiations.

3. Write different salary information on your application from what you share verbally.

Consistency is critical to affirming your honesty and credibility.

4. Don’t research salary information online or discuss with your recruiter.

Your recruiter will know the company’s target salary range and how this range is competitive in the marketplace. The recruiter can also tell you whether you are fairly compensated and what you can target for this specific position. Ask them lots of questions! Websites for salary research include: salary.com, payscale.com, indeed.com, careeronestop.org and glassdoor.com.

5. Refuse to state your target salary range.

Head in the sand is not an effective, professional way to approach salary discussions. If you’ve done your homework and had in-depth discussions with your recruiter, when asked, you should be ready to state your expectations.

6. Commit to one number and refuse to negotiate.

When asked for your salary expectations you should always give a range and you should only give a range where the bottom number is a number you would accept. At least some flexibility in your salary discussion emphasizes you are a rational and reasonable individual.

7. Bring up salary in your first discussion with the company.

Until the in-person interview allow the company to dictate when salary is discussed. Before you travel to the client on your own dime or theirs, some salary discussion should take place. Hopefully your recruiter can broach this topic with the company.

The recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates stand ready to assist you in your job search and your salary negotiations. Contact Managing Director, Jacque Paige, at jpaige@smithhanley.com or 203-319-4310, or take a look at our website, smithhanley.com, for your particular job function. Looking forward to working with you!

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