Author Topic: Determining Salary Requirements  (Read 4325 times)

purplepants

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 97
    • My Journey - Purplepants' Journey From The 7th Circle of Hell
Determining Salary Requirements
« on: June 25, 2015, 12:41:24 PM »
Every time I look for a new job, I get asked what my salary requirements are.  For my first job out of college, I was timid and desperately in need of a job, so I took what they offered.

For subsequent jobs, I've asked for more money and often negotiated a salary above the offer.  However, I never really know how much to ask for, so I typically have just asked for a bit above what I'm presently making.

I'm about to interview for a position in a new industry, and they've already asked me what my salary expectations are.  I was able to kind of avoid the question, but I know next week at the interview they're likely to ask again.

I've checked on sites like Salary.com and Payscale.com, and according to both of those, I'm grossly underpaid (like $10,000 to $15,000 underpaid).  But I'm wondering how accurate they are?  I just can't seem to imagine having the balls to ask for that much money, for fear I'd be eliminated as a candidate altogether.  But, you know, if that kind of money is on the table I'd hate to sell myself short.

Does anyone have other suggestions for determining a reasonable salary range to suggest?   

MDM

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10368
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2015, 12:53:44 PM »
One "rule" of negotiation is "never be the first to name a price."

Along those lines, you could say something such as "I expect that you are a good company so you pay market-competitive salaries, or better.  Is that a reasonable expectation?"  Then if they ask "what do you think a market-competitive salary is?" you can answer "your HR department probably knows better than anyone, correct?  What is the range you currently pay for this position?"

And so forth, etc.


tvan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 190
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2015, 01:23:13 PM »

One "rule" of negotiation is "never be the first to name a price."

Along those lines, you could say something such as "I expect that you are a good company so you pay market-competitive salaries, or better.  Is that a reasonable expectation?"  Then if they ask "what do you think a market-competitive salary is?" you can answer "your HR department probably knows better than anyone, correct?  What is the range you currently pay for this position?"

And so forth, etc.

Right on.

I will say for my current role they played this angle hard and I was growing impatient. So I said fuck it and through out an absurd number. They countered lower of course. But at least my high number got the ball rolling.

Also if you know they have "pay grades" or ranges it's better IMO to negotiate that grade. It allows for more upside. You always want to be near the bottom of your pay scale as then you will always have some upside. And you will appear underpaid vs others in that bracket.

purplepants

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 97
    • My Journey - Purplepants' Journey From The 7th Circle of Hell
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2015, 01:24:45 PM »
Yeah, I get that.

But the reality is that in 12 out of the 15 companies I've interviewed with during my lifetime, they weren't willing to state a range.  And frankly, continually playing coy with answers like "I think you'd know that better than I would" comes across as snotty and uncooperative.

Not to mention the fact that I'd like to actually know what salary I should accept, or what I should attempt to negotiate for.  So my original question remains:  does anyone have suggestions for determining a reasonable salary to expect?

MDM

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10368
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2015, 01:36:43 PM »
And frankly, continually playing coy with answers like "I think you'd know that better than I would" comes across as snotty and uncooperative.
Actually, it doesn't - unless you say it in a tone of voice conveying that impression.

However, there are two similar-sounding but very different questions:
1) What are your compensation requirements?
2) What are your salary expectations for this job?
Question #1 is more about you and less about the job.  In other words, what will it take for you to leave your current situation?
Question #2 is more about the job and less about you.  In other words, what is reasonable to pay for this specific role with its specific responsibilities?
I've been assuming we are discussing question #2, but maybe not.  Which of these do you mean?

Quote
Not to mention the fact that I'd like to actually know what salary I should accept, or what I should attempt to negotiate for.  So my original question remains:  does anyone have suggestions for determining a reasonable salary to expect?
What do you distrust about salary.com and payscale.com (and glassdoor.com, etc.)?

thd7t

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1341
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2015, 01:42:39 PM »
Well, as a counter point, by giving your number first, you tell them what you need.  If you know what your value is, it's true that you could leave some money on the table, but by not changing jobs, you're leaving more behind.  In addition, by giving a number first, you create an anchor for the negotiation.  They will rarely eliminate you because you ask for too much.  They may make a counter offer, but at that point they are concerned about losing you.

expectopatronum

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 225
  • Location: Texas
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2015, 01:57:43 PM »
Yeah, I get that.

But the reality is that in 12 out of the 15 companies I've interviewed with during my lifetime, they weren't willing to state a range.  And frankly, continually playing coy with answers like "I think you'd know that better than I would" comes across as snotty and uncooperative.

Not to mention the fact that I'd like to actually know what salary I should accept, or what I should attempt to negotiate for.  So my original question remains:  does anyone have suggestions for determining a reasonable salary to expect?

In addition to the sites you named, Indeed & Glassdoor. I have also asked a fellow coworker after he left, because our relationship was conducive to doing so. I could similarly ask him if he thought an offer was fair based on his experience and knowledge of what my value is as a candidate. I honestly just use the data out there and also gauge how my experience/qualifications match up. I moved up quickly in my company and have a fancy title, but I'm young. And is the new job in my industry or not? What's the COL difference in that city? All of this would be considered.

You can also look up the company itself on Glassdoor and dig through reported salaries (take with a grain of salt). That may give you an idea of their pay ranges.

My first job I also used my university's website which listed the reported starting salaries by major for the previous year's graduating class. Once I had my offer, I negotiated 8% up to the upper end of the range.

relena

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2015, 03:59:10 PM »
In addition, never tell them what you made before. They will never know what you made unless you tell them. If they call your former companies, all they are allowed to tell the person asking is that you worked there in the past and the time frame.

I haven't tried the noel smith-wenkle method, but I will probably try it next time around.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-negotiate-your-salary-1566202988

http://infohost.nmt.edu/~shipman/org/noel.html

it sounds like you don't want to try the method though.

WranglerBowman

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 204
  • Location: DMV
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2015, 04:13:13 PM »
I didn't know what I was worth when I came out of college and had been paying the price for accepting a low offer out of college for many years, since everything builds on your first salary.  Once I found out what my counter parts were making, thanks to billing rates associated with projects that any one could look up, I had a much better idea of what I was worth, compared to them.  In the new job I took 6 months ago they made me an offer that was only 5% more than I was currently making, but I knew I was the top candidate for the position and they liked me, so I threw a high number out and figured if it's meant to be they would counter.  They did and I got a 25% pay increase and now feel I make what I'm worth, maybe even a little more.  If you're not desperate to get out of your current job might as well throw a higher number out there and see what they come back with.

mandy_2002

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2015, 04:36:30 PM »
A friend of mine ran into this issue a few weeks ago while considering a regulatory job with the government.  It was her first real discussion about a job (interview), and they asked what she expected.  She knew that everything was more expensive in this area, so she said a number 10% higher than her current salary.  She went out to look for places to live, and found that just housing, with about half the space, was double the cost.  She discovered later that day that it is more like 25% more expensive according to COL reports.  Their offer was exactly what she told them (why would they go any higher?), and she ended up re-negotiating with her current employer to stay. 

It worked out in her favor, since she ended up needing nothing to change and getting a nice bump in salary, but she still wishes she'd done more COL research before going in the first time.  It wasn't a job that she pursued.  She was approach, meaning they wanted her, and in my mind they should have offered to compensate her like that was true.  But, I'm not a stingy HR person.

Field123

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 102
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2015, 05:07:34 PM »
One "rule" of negotiation is "never be the first to name a price."

Along those lines, you could say something such as "I expect that you are a good company so you pay market-competitive salaries, or better.  Is that a reasonable expectation?"  Then if they ask "what do you think a market-competitive salary is?" you can answer "your HR department probably knows better than anyone, correct?  What is the range you currently pay for this position?"

And so forth, etc.

Another tenant of negotiation is that you always want to be the first to name a price. It's called the anchoring effect. If you state a high number first, studies have shown that it anchors the conversation around that high number. Very powerful psychologically.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3289
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2015, 05:15:51 PM »
I find it depends on your gender. As a woman recruiters get angry with me when I try to negotiate or I try to get them to give a number first. My first job out of grad school I asked my male classmates what they were going to ask for. I asked for the same and I got it.

My current job they already knew what I was making and I told them I would go to them for a 15% raise. They gave me exactly what I asked for. A recruiter who sent me a contingent offer a week ago asked me my salary requirements and I told her what I make and that I would need 15% raise to leave. I read somewhere that HR calculate salary based on what you are making and add a %. It's working for me so far.

 I also have looked into pay scales for my role and I have a good idea of what people make. I was kind of annoyed because it wasn't until after I gave them a salary that they said they wanted to promote me to manager. So the number I threw out would be a little low for a manager. But in a couple of years I will be comfortable asking someplace new for another 15%. I'm taking the slow and steady approach.

superone!

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 112
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2015, 10:08:48 PM »
I think the key thing (as others have said) that the issue is knowing what the market rate is for the work you'll be doing. In terms of negotiation, askamanager.org has some great advice! Good luck!

purplepants

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 97
    • My Journey - Purplepants' Journey From The 7th Circle of Hell
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2015, 08:18:19 AM »
Yeah, I'm definitely struggling with knowing what the market rate is.  I don't have a problem negotiating (I actually kind of enjoy it), but I'm having a hard time knowing what to aim for.

Part of the problem is that the tech sector has started using my job title to describe a completely different kind of role with different qualifications and different market demand, so it muddies the waters a bit as far as researching on places like Salary and Payscale.

If worse comes to worse and I'm under the gun, I'll just give them a number that's a nice bump from where I'm at now and then leave myself room to negotiate by pointing out that's dependent of the specifics of the position, etc...

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2385
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2015, 08:50:47 AM »
One "rule" of negotiation is "never be the first to name a price."

Along those lines, you could say something such as "I expect that you are a good company so you pay market-competitive salaries, or better.  Is that a reasonable expectation?"  Then if they ask "what do you think a market-competitive salary is?" you can answer "your HR department probably knows better than anyone, correct?  What is the range you currently pay for this position?"

And so forth, etc.

Another tenant of negotiation is that you always want to be the first to name a price. It's called the anchoring effect. If you state a high number first, studies have shown that it anchors the conversation around that high number. Very powerful psychologically.

My Wharton negotiation professor taught me a nuance.
Never be the first to throw out a number - *unless* there is not a generally established price range for the rare/unique item or service.  In that case, the one who throws out the number first will be more successful because it will anchor the number closer to where that one wants it.

Buying/selling a 2012 Honda Civic?  Don't offer first.
Buying/selling a rare car where few if any exist (e.g. those weird ones that some one built in a crazy odd way)?  Anchor it.

OP, I would generally say something like "My salary expectations for the position are dependent on the entire package, but I am open to a competitive offer that matches my skills and experience."  If they press, I try to restate it and depending, will outright ask them what is the range for the position to put the onus back on them.  I particularly use that line when they ask you to state the salary expectations in your cover letter.  Hate that - give the game away before you even know if they are interested in you....
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 08:55:29 AM by CommonCents »

samburger

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 257
Re: Determining Salary Requirements
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2015, 09:08:02 AM »
Yeah, I'm definitely struggling with knowing what the market rate is.  I don't have a problem negotiating (I actually kind of enjoy it), but I'm having a hard time knowing what to aim for.

Part of the problem is that the tech sector has started using my job title to describe a completely different kind of role with different qualifications and different market demand, so it muddies the waters a bit as far as researching on places like Salary and Payscale.

If worse comes to worse and I'm under the gun, I'll just give them a number that's a nice bump from where I'm at now and then leave myself room to negotiate by pointing out that's dependent of the specifics of the position, etc...

My current job was my first full-time position out of college. They made me name a range on my application, and I asked for what I thought was an absurd amount of money. I was physically uncomfortable with the amount--I felt squirmy and awkward and I had to force myself to not think about it to get myself to click "submit" on the application.

They offered me the top of the range.

I was so taken aback that I didn't negotiate, only to find out later that the absurd-to-me amount of money is somehow less than what my peers make.

Don't let your gut tell you how much to ask for. Use those numbers you're finding online, even if they seem absurdly high to you.