When interviewing, you’re bound to get these two questions: What is your current compensation? What compensation are you looking to get? If you’re not prepared for these questions, you’re bound to give weak or wrong answers. Here are some suggestions:
What is your current compensation? You need to remember, after you are on the new job your employer will check your past record: Compensation level, work history, title and your employment status. If you’ve falsified any information it’s cause for termination. So why not give them the information, but tilt it to your advantage: Provide them with your TOTAL compensation not just salary. Total compensation may include salary, incentives, bonuses, benefits, and other added value features you may have gotten. In that case, a $75,000 base salary may be worth over $120,000 in total compensation.
What compensation are you looking to get? Here is where you can be more circumspect with your answer. My suggestion is to never give a specific number, but rather, provide a range of minimum to maximum. Qualify your answer saying, “Compensation would depends upon a number of factors that I would need to consider”, like:
• A base salary range of between $85,000 and $125,000, depending upon:
• Bonuses and/or incentive compensation. Based on objective results or subjective factors of someone’s opinion?
• A good moving policy to relocate my family to the new location
• Benefits that are equal to or greater than my current benefits at less cost to me
• A 401k or retirement programs that are competitive to what I currently have
• The difficulty or simplicity of the job to be done, both short term and longer term
• The stability of the corporation (are they a prime target for acquisition or a turnaround?) The higher the risk the greater the total compensation and/or a buyout.
• The expectations of management and are they possible?
• The quality / talent of subordinates (are they inexperienced or short staffed?)
• The parameters of freedom (are there unproductive employees that can’t be changed?)
• Add your own factors or conditions dependent upon the situation
By providing a salary range and factors affecting total compensation you are setting the guidelines for negotiations, while giving the widest range of pay.
Your negotiating position. By giving a range between X and Y, you provide options that can position yourself better for negotiations. Accepting an increase of 10% or less is foolhardy, especially when you discount taxes, benefit increases and relocation to another city. Usually for that amount you will fall behind financially unless it’s a half step to a major promotion.
Money is important, but needs to be combined with opportunity, fit and ability to perform before making a decision that will affect you for a long time.
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