For years we’ve been told not to discuss salary in job interviews. But Monster.com career expert Mary Ellen Slayter says you can — as long as you do it very carefully and “not before you're confident that they're strongly interested in hiring you.”
In fact, she says it’s smart to bring up salary earlier on in the process because it can save you the hassle of going on additional interviews and falling in love with a company that has no chance of being able to afford you.
“The early stages of the interviewing process are really about getting to know each other, trying to see if the role is a good fit,” she says. “Money is part of that fit, of course, and no one wants to waste time going on job interviews with companies that can't meet their salary expectations.”
But you don’t want to give the employer the wrong idea, either. Never imply that money is your biggest concern, or that salary is what’s motivating you to pursue the job opportunity.
Also, know that if you broach the issue too soon in the "courtship phase" of the job search, you could wind up leaving money on the table, she adds. Wait until the second or third interview to discuss pay — and only do if you’re fairly certain they’re going to offer you the job.
“When you do bring it up, don't pin down specifics,” Slayter says. “You want to leave wiggle room for negotiation.” For example, you can ask the interviewer: “Did you have a salary range in mind for this position?”
If you decide to bring up the topic of pay in your next interview, be sure to do your research on websites like Glassdoor and Payscale to figure out what your skills are worth, she concludes.
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