Career Advice

Here we consider the following:

1. Determining a Fair Salary Range

The interests of salary seekers and salary payers are more closely aligned than often appears to be the case.

While at first salary negotiations might appear to be a zero sum game where one party gains and one party loses, in fact both parties can lose if the agreement reached unfairly favours one party over another.

If the agreement is too favourable to you, the employer may think that a mistake has been made in reaching the agreement and target you as someone to face the axe at the first hint of trouble or a market downturn. Remember also that the employer will be faced with a difficult position if you are paid more than other people in the organisation who have similar experience and abilities.

On the other hand, if the agreement is too favourable to the employer you may feel that you have been unfairly treated. This will inevitably affect your performance and your desire to act in the best interests of the organisation.

It is in the employer's interest as well as your own to ensure that a fair agreement is reached. It is in both parties' interests therefore that you make your case for a fair salary objectively and firmly.

The best place to start when assessing what you should ask for in terms of a salary and other benefits is to examine what other people with similar experience and abilities can earn. This is not always an easy task. However the sources of information may include newspapers, career magazines, colleagues, family, friends, relatives and your other contacts. This analysis will provide you with a range of salary expectations which constitutes your 'negotiating space'. Within your negotiating space you are free to make a case for being paid in the upper range. Your interview performance is likely to make a big difference to whether the employer will agree to such a claim from you.

2. If asked for Salary Expectations

If asked to provide information about salary expectations prior to an interview you may or may not choose to do so. However, bear in mind that choosing not to do so may mean that you never get to the interview.

If asked for salary expectations at the interview it may be best to say that you are looking for a competitive offer. If pushed further you could say that you do not want to ask for a package that will price you out of the market and would prefer the employer to propose a figure. Remember that if you suggest a figure the employer will take that as your maximum expectation and may seek to negotiate your asking price down.