How To Properly Make A Salary Request
MyOnlineCareerSpace can teach you how to approach the often difficult salary request. A situation that is not easy to approach. MyOnlineCareerSpace can show you how to make it go smoothly and get you the answers you need.
Here's the scenario: You've found the ideal job, but either the job ad or your contact from the human resources department has asked you to forward your salary requirement and/or your salary history.
What do you do? Therein lies the dilemma. However, you have options. Before we look at them, let's examine why employers ask for these things. Most often, the simple reason is that employers want an easy screening device to help sort applicants. Remember, a single job posting can generate thousands of responses. Those applicants with a salary requirement too low or too high are discarded. Other times, the employer is looking to save money by hiring a job seeker at the low end of a salary range. In either case, it's not really fair to the job seeker. With a salary history, employers also want to see frequency and size of raises and promotions.
What can you do about it? First, you need to decide whether you want to work for an employer who would screen you out of the hiring process based on salary. What does this method really say about the employer? Are they stingy with raises? Are they looking for the least expensive candidate, or the most qualified? Quantity or quality?
Assuming you still desire to work for the company, the next step is determining your response to the request. With salary histories, you don't have many options. You can attempt to make the point that previous salaries have no bearing on your potential salary — especially if you are changing careers or recently received a new degree or certification, but that response may be met with little fanfare. If you really want to work for the company, then prepare a salary history. Don't lie or exaggerate about any of your previous salaries, but if you feel you've been underpaid in the past, make sure you make a case for a higher salary — both in your cover letter and in your salary history. Explain why (if you are certain) you weren't paid the market rate for your contributions and skill sets. Maybe the country was in a recession. Maybe business was slow. Try to be specific in your explanation. Be sure the paper, style, and typeface of your salary history matches those of your resume and cover letter.
Finally, assuming you have determined you really want the job, how do you respond to a salary requirement request? There are a number of strategies, each with its own level of risk:
Provide your salary requirement.
Provide the employer with the information requested, but realize that you run a strong risk of being screened out if you are too far above or below the range the employer has in mind for the position.
Ask for a wide salary range.
Even with some basic research, you should be able to determine a salary range for the position. As long as part of your range overlaps with the employer's range, you should be okay. But what if your highest amount matches their lowest amount? You will be stuck at the bottom of their pay scale. However, assuming you give a range that is acceptable to you, you should be okay. It may be better to state something like, "a salary in the mid $40's".
State that you expect competitive or fair compensation.
Put the ball back in the employer's court by informing the company in your cover letter that you expect a competitive salary. The danger? If the employer doesn't offer a competitive salary — or is a stickler for having an actual salary request — you've eliminated yourself from being considered for the position. And again... do you want to work for a stingy employer? Better to be "opted" out now than to accept employment in a position in which you feel unfairly compensated.
Express your salary flexibility.
Similar to the last strategy, simply state in your cover letter that you are flexible about salary. The danger is again not providing an actual salary request — and that alone could eliminate you from consideration for the position. If you believe that your qualifications and skill sets match what the employer desires, this is a good strategy.
Discuss salary in an interview.
State that you would prefer to discuss salary in an interview, but make sure to add that you don't believe salary will be a problem. The danger is again not providing an actual salary request — and that alone could eliminate you from consideration for the position.
Give your salary history.
Ignore the request for a specific amount and simply show your salary history — with the idea that your next job offer should be reasonably higher than your current salary. The problem here is that you have not provided the information the employer seeks, and you may be eliminated.
Ignore the salary request.
Many people believe that employers have no right making a salary request so early in the process and simply ignore the request. The most likely occurrence? If you ignore the request, your application will most likely be ignored as well. It's a matter of personal dignity.
Do not volunteer salary information.
Whenever possible, do not volunteer information about your salary history or your salary expectations or requirements in your cover letter, resume, or during a job interview. Information is power in job-hunting, and your goal should always be to hold on to your power as long as possible by delaying discussions about salary as long as possible. Wait until there exists a legitimate pending offer of employment.