When is the appropriate time to discuss salary expectations?
As a job search candidate, it’s in your best interest not to discuss compensation until there is an offer on the table. The general rule of thumb is that the side that mentions compensation first loses. You first need to get the employer to fall in love with you and feel that they’ve got to have you over everyone else. Once you’ve accomplished this you have leverage and you will be in a much better position to negotiate your employment package.
If asked for salary expectations early on in the interview process, you can respond by saying “I’m happy to discuss salary at the appropriate time but for now I’d like to discuss how I can add value to your organization and learn more about the position to determine if it is a good fit.” This answer ensures you maintain your advantage. You could also respond by saying “I’m sure that your company pays competitively and I don’t anticipate that salary will be an issue.”
Another strategy is to turn the question back on the employer and ask a question of your own. For example, you can ask what the salary range is for the position. Once you have this information, you can let the employer know if this range is consistent with what you are looking for without disclosing an actual dollar amount.
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