General Question

chelle21689's avatar

How to disclose salary requirements without risking a job offer?

Asked by chelle21689 (7405points) January 25th, 2016

As some of you all know, I’ve been a temp for over a year and I’m tired of being strung along. I finally have an interview with a university and it has great benefits. The job sounds good and pay is decent in my opinion. I make $16.50/HR right now, probably if I stick around another month or two it’ll jump to $17–17.50.

The position I’m interviewing for is starting at $37,000 which is a tad more than what I’m making but I would like to request maybe $19–20/HR range but in truth, I would take the $37,000 anyway. They disclosed the salary to me, if they ask me what kind of pay I am looking for do I keep it vague and say “It’s negotiable”? I know that this response has annoyed many. Jobs nowadays ask for your previous pay, so they know what I’m making right now. I’d like to make $40,000 to be honest. I’d be happy with a $18/HR although it’ll only be $60 more in a pay check.

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61 Answers

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@chelle21689, I work for a university and they have quite a strict pay scales. Specific jobs have a particular pay rate based on a scale. Our award means that goes up each year until you reach the highest rung on that scale. So you may not have much room to negotiate. If you can find out whether universities work the same way in your country, that would be useful to you. You can then ask what the pay range is for this job and what level you will be employed at. If the level is the lowest, you can ask them whether you could be started on a higher rung of the scale, and especially if the pay you’ll start on is lower than your current pay. Do keep in mind the additional work benefits. Universities here come with many additional benefits over and above the base pay. Good holidays, great superannuation, flexible work hours. So if you have to accept pay that’s a bit less than you want, the benefits might more than compensate for a little less in your pay packet initially. I’m guaranteed a pay increase every year.

Good luck! I hope you get it. Let us know how you go.

chelle21689's avatar

Yes, I checked out their benefits and it looks very good…especially since I don’t have any now. So if they ask about my salary requirements should I just tell them $18? It’s only 20 cents more than what they’re making. I think they would find that not too far off and just say “no” at the worse and offer me the $17.78. I would be happy with it especially if there’s room for growth.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Check out the universities website first. See if you can find any information about pay rates for general staff (that’s what we call non-academic staff here, you may have a different term). The other thing is, what exactly did it say in your job advert? Ours would usually specify the range of pay. General Award Level C (27,389.00–37,421.00) sort of thing. Look back at that and if you can share that info (modified for privacy if you prefer), that might help.

Your universities might work differently to ours. I’m in Australia. However, here we have really clear pay info. A Lecturer C would be paid on a specific scale. An admin person would have a similar scale.

If you can find out whether this is how this job works, it will help you. You can put the question back on them and ask ‘what pay rate applies for this position and what level would I initially be employed at?.

If the pay is more open than this, it does make it more difficult. I think I’d still ask them what level of pay applies for this job. I’d be amazed if they had a lot of leeway in terms of what they can pay.

I went for a job years ago in the UK with a uni, and it worked the same way as Australian unis. There was a particular pay scale for that job.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Since they can check your current pay, I would accept what they are offering. It will be an increase for you. Working at a university can have great benefits besides the normal ones of health insurance, vacation, etc. You can get a free education for yourself and sometimes your spouse and children. It’s also stable.

CWOTUS's avatar

The general rule in salary (and other money-based) negotiations is that “the one who says the first number, loses.”

Instead of offering an insipid and totally meaningless “it’s negotiable” (The question is the first round of negotiation, and by asking it they have started to say “Let’s negotiate your likely salary.” You don’t answer that opening round of negotiation with “it’s negotiable”, since the negotiation has already begun!), answer from a point of demonstrating your knowledge of the position, the salary range offered for the job and why you are perhaps worth more than some other rube who would start at the lowest possible salary.

For example, you can express – honestly and confidently! – that you have daily access to a worldly, diverse and highly educated and experienced network of professionals, business owners, retirees, librarians and current and former scholars and academics who have assisted you, and will continue to happily assist you, in all manner of business and personal issues. (Just don’t say the word “Fluther”, as it will sound strange in their ears.)

You might also mention, “oh, for instance …” the types of advice that you have offered in the past that you’re particularly proud of, and which demonstrate the high degree of readiness you bring to the job at hand. (It’s on your “Best Answers” list.)

And so forth.

You should acknowledge that you are aware of the current salary range for the position, and that you feel qualified and deserving of a less-than-minimum offer, because … and that’s an essay question that you have to answer.

Consider that if you’re talking salary, then they’re pretty sure that they want to dance with you, but they want to know if you expect to be picked up in a limousine driven by a liveried chauffeur, or will it be satisfactory (and do you have realistic expectations) of being picked up in a nondescript four-door sedan driven by the owner. (This is the point where you remark – figuratively! – that you expect that the sedan shall have been recently washed and vacuumed – detailing would be nice! – and that the driver should pick you up promptly, and at the door as a young woman of your quality and bearing deserves.)

By all means ask for a salary that’s higher than you ‘expect’, and be prepared to accept what you deserve. Just don’t settle for less. They won’t throw you out of the office if you ask for a high-reasonable salary. Part of the negotiation process is to see how you handle yourself. Make us proud.

msh's avatar

I am negotiable was fine.
The next time they ask:
“What does someone with my experience start out with typically?”

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I totally agree with @CWOTUS in terms of having your argument for more pay well thought out to start with. You can’t just say “I want…”. Be ready to explain why you’re worth a higher rate of pay. This goes back to why they’d want to employ you in the first place. What makes you particularly ideal for this job? What experience and skills do you have?

Do go in there as informed as possible about how their pay system works.

ibstubro's avatar

Here’s a handy calculator that should help convince you to leap at the wage they’re offering.

Jak's avatar

To get one, you must first ask for ten. I read that in the Wheel of Time series. Questionable source on the surface but Robert Jordan attended The Citadel and had extensive knowledge in several fields. I’ve used that in negotiation and it seems axiomatic to me.

chelle21689's avatar

To be honest I’d like $18 which is only 20 cents more so I don’t think they would be laughing at me for it…I would definitely take it still if they won’t budge because it’s more than what I have now especially with benefits. I’d like $40,000 but that’s just me being a bit more greedy, hehe. Thank you everyone. @ibstubro I actually discovered that calculator a couple days ago…if I were to calculate it, the benefits total $42,000ish.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Like @CWOTUS said: “the one who says the first number, loses.” Whatever they offer first, ask for something higher (even if they offer you something you would accept—they never start out at the highest they’re willing to go). If you have to make the first offer, ask for $19 or $20 per hour. If they negotiate you down to $18, fine. But if you offer $18/hr, you’ll probably end up with less. They’ll say something like, “well, the starting salary is just slightly below what you’re asking, so that should be acceptable, right?” Of course, you can always hold your ground and refuse to go below $18/hr, but starting out higher makes it easier to negotiate.

gorillapaws's avatar

@msh Has a smart strategy. Frame your compensation in terms of the value you bring to the organization. What are your experience and skills and intellect worth? How can you add value to your organization? Frame the discussion in those terms.

There’s a quote from Steve Jobs when an engineer asked why he wasn’t being paid more, Mr. Jobs said something along the lines of: “Why don’t you ask your manager why they don’t think you’re worth paying more?”

Ultimately you’re an asset/resource for a business that hires you. Pretend for a second that you’re a printing machine for company that prints stuff. Justify your purchase price to them: you can increase efficiency by x% which is worth $y over the years. As long as you cost less than $z they’re making a handsome profit by purchasing you. Obviously you’re a lot better than a machine, but the principles still apply. Salary negotiation is about selling as much as anything. Focus the pitch on the value you bring to the table and the cost of your salary will be a natural extension of that.

In academics you may be somewhat limited by inflexible compensation policies, but I would still approach the negotiation from the same direction.

Jaxk's avatar

I’m not sure what the dilemma is. If you would like to make $40K then say you’d like to make $40k. Not every employer is trying to play games and I wouldn’t start off the discussion assuming they are.

Haleth's avatar

About a year ago I wrote a question about getting a raise. The general consensus was that I wouldn’t be able to get one. Instead of asking for a raise at that time, I interviewed with another company and got a job offer. When I brought the offer to my boss, he asked what it would take to get me to stay. I walked out of the conversation with a shorter work week, a $10,000 raise, and an additional week of vacation.

Always ask for more money! And at the same time, be prepared to justify your worth. Try to come up with a list of awesome things you have done or skills that set you apart. Make sure you’re very familiar with this stuff and can explain it comfortably at a moment’s notice. So when the salary question comes up, you can pair it with a brief chat about the value that you bring.

Also, you should feel completely comfortable saying that your target salary is in the $40,000 (or whatever) range. Back to the list of things that make you awesome- this is the value of your work and expertise in the position. That’s not always the same thing as the position itself. You may not even have to mention your current salary.

Another example, last spring I interviewed for a position at a large wine store in my city. They were looking for sort of a lead salesperson; over the course of two interviews I talked them into making it a salaried management position and got a job offer. If you keep the conversation open-ended and ask a lot of questions, it might turn out there are other responsibilities you can take on or things they need help with. This is fertile ground for more money! (In the end I didn’t take that position because the work schedule and commute would have been awful- ten hour days plus an hour in morning rush hour, no thank you.)

Basically if you can back up your target salary with concrete reasons, you have a good shot at getting what you want.

janbb's avatar

I work at a college too and agree with @Earthbound_Misfit that salaries are pretty strictly set. There’s not a lot of room for negotiation; the may not even ask you what you want. If they do, sure you can say what you’d like, but I wouldn’t over-emphasize if the job and the benefits and the salary as stated are a good fit for you.

Cruiser's avatar

@Haleth and @Jaxk make good points. If you want more money be prepared to sell them on why paying you more (how much more you will have to decide) and why this would be a good solid investment on their part.

Bear in mind what very few employees consider is the real cost to the employer to provide good benefits. And I underscore “good” because as an employer myself they are darned expensive. I provide health insurance and short term disability. I pay 75% of the health premium and 100% of the short term and that costs me $500 a month or $3.12 per hour per employee. But where things get wonky is when that $18.00 per hour employee has a family of 4 the health insurance premium skyrockets to my cost of $1,535.25 per month or $9.59 per hour. Then each employee gets profit sharing, 401K contributions from me as well as quarterly bonuses that can be another $7—$8 and hour more. So my lowest paid $15.00/hour employee is actually compensated at over $25.00 per hour. Your future employer I am sure already has these numbers in their head when you are sitting there talking about your compensation. You are thinking hourly wages they are thinking total compensation. So since you do not currently have benefits, bear in mind that at the University given the same hourly as now you actually would be earning over $3/hr more when just health care benefits are added in. And depending on what the other benefits are you obviously will be earning even more per hour. Now if you do not need health care benefits because you are already covered under another policy then that expense is the “meat” you want to go after when negotiating your pay.

chyna's avatar

According to your quote of 37,000 a year that would be 17.78 an hour which is still more than what you might get in a raise next month. That is an increase of $102.00 every 2 weeks above what you are making now.
You have said many times that you don’t like the job or the people you work with. I think the benefits of this job far outweigh the extra quarter per hour you would be asking for.
You are in a temp position right now which means you can be let go at any moment. I would take the job at the salary they offer just for the security, but that’s just me.

ibstubro's avatar

Yes, @chyna, and @chelle21689 has already calculated the the addition of benefits brings compensation to $42,000. So, a raise, benefits, and job security.

20¢ an hour is, what, 13¢ take home? Skip one coffee a week.

Personally, $5,000 a year for good benefits seems like a low estimate, to me, and @Cruiser‘s calculations seem to support that notion.

chelle21689's avatar

I just found out it’s panel interview, oh boy. Not just one but three people grilling me! Also the map is a bit confusing and I actually attended this university years ago. Parking was hard to find…

chyna's avatar

Don’t let that intimidate you. I bet they know that it puts people on edge to have 3 people interview and they will do everything they can to put you at ease. Just be yourself and smile a lot.

janbb's avatar

Please update us and let us know how it went.

chelle21689's avatar

@chyna Especially a group interview! It’s intimidating to think about…I’ve never done a group interview. The thing that is intimidating is trying to stand out from the rest. Haha, can’t wait to get it over with.

janbb's avatar

Wait – I have the impression that you’ll be interviewed by a group, not in a group with other candidates. Are you sure that’s the way it is? Usually academic interviews are done by a search committee but individually.

chelle21689's avatar

I was told in the email “This will be a group interview with myself (assistant director), Theresa (HR director) and Susie Q (Payroll Manager).

I’m not sure if she meant just meeting with them or GROUP interview as in with other people. I’ve never done a group interview other than when I was 14 which was over 10 years ago interviewing for a cashier position at a clothing store lol.

If it’s just the three then I’d be even more relieved. I’ve done interviews with two people before fine. I think if I can get through the surprise 6–7 person interview grilling me I can get through this one!

janbb's avatar

I’m quite sure that means that they themselves are the group.

Cruiser's avatar

@chelle21689 If it is indeed a group just them and you then I suspect they are there to interview you and make a final decision or there is really no other reason for all those directors to be there. If it turns out to be a group interview with other candidates that it is a cattle call and you will have to really present yourself to stand out from the other candidates.

chelle21689's avatar

@janbb I hope so! Thanks everyone!!!

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@chelle21689, I’m quite sure she means it’s a panel interview. So there will be you and the three other people who will each ask you questions. Normally one person is the lead interviewer and the others have some connection to the job you’ll be doing. This is very normal in a university setting. I’ve never had a university interview with less than two people and most have had four. The last had six senior professors. That was a bit daunting! They all sat on one side of a big table, with me on my own on the other side, and each of them asked me questions.

Are you nervous about the interview?

CWOTUS's avatar

My first and only panel interview was a video interview in 2000 with me in Michigan and my eventual employer in California. I had never participated in a video discussion before, and I was doing it from a third party’s office. (I didn’t have a computer or peripherals capable of that kind of interface at that time; few people did, I think. How times have changed!)

In any case, it was a fairly enjoyable experience, believe it or not. I didn’t go into the interview with any kind of preconceived notions that they would be ganging up on me or in any way playing a “gotcha” game. Well, maybe one preconceived notion: I believed that if they had scheduled the time for the department’s vice president, the manager of the group that I’d be working for, the coworkers I would be interacting with, and paid for my appearance at the third party facilitator’s video conference center, they were already pretty sure that I was the guy, and they just wanted to see me in person without the expense of flying me to California.

So I figured that all I had to do was relax, be my normal friendly, humorous self, not try too hard and not try to pretend to knowledge or credentials that I did not have, but also not to be shy about the experience and skills that I could offer. Apparently I didn’t blow the interview, because they made the offer the following day. And even though it was an entirely new direction for my career, it was an offer for more money than I had earned up to that point.

So I would recommend that you go with the same attitude: This is not where you have to “prove yourself”, except to the point that you want to come across as the kind of person that the panelists feel they can work with. Don’t be too cool and don’t try to put on any front; I expect that you’ve already done that. They just all want to see (and, yeah, evaluate) the human behind the résumé now.

chelle21689's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit a bit. More so how much time I need to give myself finding the right building, traffic, and parking. If parking is not available I have to go to an office for a visitor pass. I tend to over think things! I’ve been brushing up on interview questions and preparing what I’m going to say without sounding too rehearsed.

I just remind myself it can’t be as bad as being surprised by 7 people grilling me at an interview one time. I felt myself inside getting light headed but managed to pull it off lol.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I totally hear you on parking and finding your way. Get there very early. Find where you need to go and then go and get a cup-of-tea or sit in the fresh air and relax for a while. That way you won’t be so stressed. There’s a Ted talk about posture that might help. She suggests going to the loo before your interview and stretching your arms out to make yourself big. Give it go! It can’t hurt.

Beyond that, download a meditation app for your phone. Before your interview, if you’re stressed, do some breathing exercises to help calm you. I had to go into a serious performance management interview a couple of years ago. It was incredibly stressful. I could feel myself starting to hyperventilate before I went in. So I did some breathing exercises and it really helped me to calm down.

The other thing is to take note of what @CWOTUS said towards the end of his post. Interviews aren’t just about them judging you. They are a two-way street. So have some questions ready that you want answers to. What training will you be given? Will you have access to mentors to help you to settle in and learn about the organisation’s culture? What opportunities are there for you to advance and to gain new skills within the organisation? You got an interview, they think you can do the job!

When you’re in there, if they ask you a question and you aren’t sure of the answer, take a moment to breathe and think. Then answer. You don’t need to rush. What you want to do is to show them you’re competent and capable and that you can communicate well. You can do that. Smile.

I have to say that the six professor interview was great. It was scary and daunting initially. However, once they asked me questions and I started responding, it was fine. Make eye contact with them. When you answer, look at the different people in the room. Try to stay calm. They’re really not out to trick you. They want to find out who you are.

Let us know when it is so we can all send you positive vibes! :-) I think it would be fabulous if you can get a job with a uni. They really are good places to work. The benefits extend far beyond the pay and conditions.

chelle21689's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit very helpful, thanks. Appreciate it everyone.

chyna's avatar

I always go to an interview the day before or a few days before so I know exactly where I’m going, what building I’m going to and where I need to park. I also check to see how much time I need to get there.

janbb's avatar

^^ Yes, me too. I do a dry run when there isn’t pressure.

chelle21689's avatar

Just did the run and I’m glad I did! Lol now I know where to go…with time to spare. Maybe about an extra 20–30 minutes. I think I prepared as much as I could.

Guitarded's avatar

ask for at least 20% more than what you would accept as a minimum to take the job. then negotiate a bit if they nibble.

chelle21689's avatar

So I don’t know if anyone will be reading this but the interview went well. It is a very conservative and quiet environment but the benefits are pretty awesome. The only concern I have during my interview is prior to coming in I noticed the date of my cover letter was completely wrong!! Lol, I was hoping maybe they didn’t notice but as I sat down I saw my cover letter right in front of her. I apologized about the mistake as she was reading it in front of me but she said she didn’t even notice. How much do you think that hurts my chances if it went well beside the whole date thing? Interview went over an hour but I am thinking its normal because they said in my email expect an hour of my time.
I should hear something next week.

msh's avatar

Excellent! Good for you!!!
What a relief, huh?
Glad to hear the positives.
:)

chyna's avatar

That sounds very positive. Please let us know when you get it!

janbb's avatar

Don’t worry about the date thing at all! Not for a minute.

chelle21689's avatar

Also, one more thing. How important is a work environment to you and being “friends” with coworkers? It’s a extremely small office room in a big building on a campus. Cramped three desks into one room. They stressed in the interview about the small office space about a goal to move and have bigger space.
Also, I get along great with my current coworkers. We joke around and talking helps move the day along. I’ll probably work with one other person In a conservative environment if I get the job. No where near friends I think but I can get along with them… But it is so quiet there. I guess the benefits and duties outweigh the small office and not being buddy buddy as long as I’m not crying all the time like my last job…right?

CWOTUS's avatar

If several people participated for the full hour in an interview, then you should realize that they have already made a “significant” investment in your hiring. What they were looking for, I think, would be any glaring example of why you would not fit into the environment, and “does anyone on the panel have a strong objection to this candidate?”

Assuming you did not stand out for obviously bad reasons (chewing gum through the interview? cleaning your nails as you responded to questions? answering your phone during the session? horse-laughing? or whatever other obviously “wrong” behavior can be pinned on you), then I would expect a positive response from them. (Of course, if they were still interviewing multiple candidates in the same way, then they are being ultra-conservative, and I, for one, would not want to work with a group of people who “cannot afford to make a mistake, so we’ll perform analysis to the point of paralysis to prevent that”, so that’s something to think about, too.)

Your calling attention to the correction to be made on your cover letter (assuming that was the worst error on it!) should not be seen as a negative. One of the things that allows me the relative freedom that I have in my own profession is that I’m always on the lookout for errors and corrections to be made in my own work, and I issue my own recalls and revisions even when the errors have not been spotted by others. So my work is not over-reviewed, and I am never criticized for withholding information of this type.

chelle21689's avatar

@CWOTUS Thanks! If I don’t get it then on to the next, I know there’s a good job that’s a fit for me somewhere. Thing is, it’s kind of hard to go to interviews while still employed…only so many “doctor appointments” you can have! I’ll update everyone if i got it or not.

chelle21689's avatar

Everyone I got the job!! And pay is higher than they told me 38k starting!

janbb's avatar

@chelle21689 Yay!! Yippee!! Wonderful news! Good for you!

chelle21689's avatar

Thank you!!! And now a new worry starts for me, I hope I do good and I like it.

janbb's avatar

There’s always worry around doing well at a new job; you wouldn’t be normal if you weren’t worried.

msh's avatar

Sincere congrats! Wonderful!
Take it on a day at a time.
Good fot you! :)

chelle21689's avatar

Thanks for support everyone! Did I mention my coworker and I were temps over one year with no sign of being hired on? He quit with no notice last week after being frustrated with them… Now I’m leaving! Lol that will teach them to take us for granted, of course I’m giving notice. My other coworker is desperately trying to leave. I hope they realize the importance of how it is of treating employees.

msh's avatar

Good fot and for you.
fot???
Who’s tired?

chyna's avatar

Congrats!!!

chelle21689's avatar

I’m going to be on vacation Friday-Tuesday so I can’t give notice until next Wednesday. This will be a 1.5 week notice instead of 2. Is that bad?

janbb's avatar

Why not tomorrow?

msh's avatar

Tuesday: I will be leaving at the end of the week. I wanted to let you know ahead of time.
Co-worker # 1 blew them off.
You have another position which will help you advance your career.
Two weeks is difficult to work through. And you are going away. Wait until your return. That way your vacation is still paid for, and not cancelled ahead of time. And they cannot fire you, thus back-dating vacation into work days you ‘missed’.
Have care.
Two weeks notice isn’t necessarily the ruler to use in all situations.
Enjoy your vacation! :)

CWOTUS's avatar

The purpose and point of giving notice is to enable your employer to transfer your work to others in good order, and so that you can answer questions that come up regarding particulars about the transfer, or in some occupations, to hire and train a replacement, if your work is relatively unskilled and not so difficult to transfer.

So it’s really your call whether your employer realistically needs more notice than you’re planning to give. Many do not. In fact, with my employer the next question from any superior or from HR would be whether or not I was planning to work for a competitor in the same industry. If I affirmed such an intention, then I would be politely escorted from the building that very day, and only allowed back to my desk to remove my personal effects (if I had not already done so) only under direct supervision by HR.

msh's avatar

Really @CWOTUS? Interesting response when asked future plans.
chelle21689 stated how the boss has behaved.
I doubt that any professionalism is at stake here.
Two weeks doesn’t guarantee squat anymore- on either side of the aisle.

chelle21689's avatar

Lol I’m just a temp. What benefits? I don’t think they need me that badly.

chyna's avatar

Always leave on as good terms as possible. You never know when that person could end up being your boss again someday.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Oh congratulations @chelle21689! I’m really happy for you. Woohoo!!

As to giving notice, give it as soon as you can. If you aren’t on leave yet, go in and let them know you’re leaving in two weeks. In the future, you may want these people to give you a reference. Always finish up on good terms if you can. So be polite and helpful as you leave their employ. That way they will hopefully wish you well and you can always put them down if you need a reference.

chelle21689's avatar

P.S. Signed the contract and they upped it another 1,000!

msh's avatar

This was a great choice! A wonderful thing to have happen for you! I am so pleased for you! Yea! Congratulations! :)
Good for you!

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