Photo By: Martin Bjork
Let’s hypothetically say that you’ve passed the softer introductory portion of the hiring process, commonly known as the “Phone Screen” though it can take many forms and it can also be technically challenging as well depending on the interviewer or the method. I ignored the technical aspect in the previous post and focused mainly on the softer questions; I’ll turn my attention to the technical aspects in later posts.
But first, if you’re about to enter the gauntlet of interviews that will ultimately determine your offer status, you should do some preliminary research such as.
Your Salary Expectations
This question will sometimes appear at the beginning of the hiring process during the phone screen, but usually it becomes more concrete and real toward the end of the interview process. It’s a tough question and can often feel like a stand-off or somewhat like a faux-car dealership negotiation as both you and the interviewer attempt to avoid disclosing an exact number. The best approach to handling this situation is to come prepared with the following information:
Based off this, I would create the following three ranges.
Take It Immediately (I would start your negotiations in this range if prompted)
How to determine this?
Think About It
You really want to take the current intangibles into considerations:
Reject It Outright
The above ranges make some obvious assumptions about your life situation. It assumes that you have a current job that you can compare your offer against. If you don’t, your leverage in these negotiations is significantly less but at the same time, you have less to consider when reviewing the offer’s base compensation. Note, I said base compensation, a lot of compensation packages will include stock options and possible bonuses but these are variable (and often require a vestment period to acquire). Also, don’t allow yourself to be lured into an inflated total compensation number by a company including the monetized value of their benefits (vacation days, sick days, health care).
Your concern is the base compensation, primarily. So before you set foot in that final negotiations room; I would recommend estimating a range for each of the above. If you’re in a situation where the interviewer immediately discloses a number, I would still try to negotiate up and then evaluate the final number based on whatever range it falls within accordingly.
Some other helpful information that you might want to know beforehand are certain details about the location itself such as the public school systems and employment opportunities for your children and spouse (if you have any) as well as the possible commute times and recommended neighborhoods to live in. There is also more company specific information such as information about the people you will or may meet or may be involved with in the interview process itself from a professional background perspective (if you share a common experience then you have a talking point that could work in your favor). You may also want to review the information on the company’s career website for any useful information that you may have overlooked when you were quickly searching for open positions to apply to.
Additionally, you may want to review others’ experiences with the interview process including problems that they were asked. You may never share the same experience or be asked the same questions, but having those answers available is helpful in case you are asked similar questions. Some companies include additional resources on their website to help candidates prepare for this next process so utilize it.
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