Congratulations! You just landed a job interview. Now it’s time to showcase your skills and knowledge, proving you’re the best fit for the role. But there’s one thing you don’t know: How much will the job pay?
If you start talking about money too soon, the employer may think that compensation is your main focus. But let’s face it, the majority of us work because we need to pay bills. And, according to research, most people report that money is the number one factor they consider before taking a new job.
Moreover, there are important benefits to starting the money conversation early in the hiring process. First, you establish your value by targeting a specific salary or salary range. Second, you don’t waste your time, or the time of the interviewer, if compensation is only assumed based on the industry, level of experience and location. And finally, compensation could be an important variable in the decision-making process, meaning it might be high enough that it becomes a selling point among the other roles you’re currently interviewing for.
Here are four instances when it is appropriate to talk money.
When Applying For a Job
A job posting may indicate the salary range for that role. If not, an institution’s salary structure is often provided when requested, so a simple call to the HR department, inquiring the range, would work.
When Invited For an Interview
If the salary range is still unknown to the candidate by the time they’re invited to a first-round interview, it’s worth asking: “What is the compensation range for your ideal candidate?” It’s not conducive to either party’s time if your expectations and their willingness and ability to pay are too far apart.
At this time, you may also learn whether or not the salary range is negotiable, any other compensation variables in addition to the salary (e.g. signing bonus, incentives, merit awards), and who makes offers.
When the Reference Checking Process Begins
When an institution is ready to check your references, you are now a finalist in the search process. This is another good time to establish the salary range and determine where negotiations might start. While it’s likely that both parties won’t come to a final number at this time, the range should be known.
When the Organization Brings It Up
It’s more than appropriate to talk money when the institution broaches the subject, even if it doesn’t fit into one of the above scenarios. Sometimes recruiters screen applicants and approach the topic within minutes of the phone call, email or direct message. They may also bring it up before you’re selected for an interview, at the conclusion of an interview, when offered a position, and so on.
With this in mind, know your desired salary and what makes you a stand-out candidate for the position.
Related: Financial Planning After a Job Loss