This is the point at which applicants start to sweat.
The interview is going really great, you’re showing off your industry knowledge and everything is moving rather smoothly…
…until the interviewer asks, “How much do you expect to be paid for this job?’
‘H-h-h-how much are you willing to pay?’, you manage to blurt out, in the middle of that scattered train of indecisive thought:
How much should I ask for?
Am I asking for too much?
Am I asking for too little?
This is a huge flare to an employer that you are available for exploitation. And there will definitely be that one employer who will capitalize on this uncertainty and offer you less than your value for a job.
This is the first ride on the journey to the throng of hardworking Nigerians who are overworked and underpaid.
This is the story of so many who work hard to earn salaries that are in no way commensurate to the amount of hard work they put in.
Let’s assume that you are reading this article because you want to know how to handle salary negotiations and discussions during an interview.
So, let’s get to understanding why an interviewer will ask you how much you want to earn. The main answer is actually simple: they want to know how much value you place on yourself before placing any value in you as well. So, you ought to be prepared to show that value before being hired, and knowing how to answer the salary question is instrumental to your successful interview.
So, just how do you answer the salary question in an interview?
This is the most important thing.
What should you research:
Your prospective role: This will help you know what is expected of you. You should know firsthand, the skills and competencies that will be required and determine if your experience puts you in the upper level of that role or a lower one. This will help you in determining what
amount to quote.
The starting average salary for that role: Knowing this will help you settle on a range of figures you can easily quote should the interviewer insist on you saying what you expect. In Nigeria, salary calculators such as Payscale’s can be instrumental to understanding your salary range.
The organization’s salary structure: this is not always readily available to those who are still within the organization as Non-disclosure agreements may have been signed, but you could seek out former employees on a platform such as LinkedIn to inquire from them. It is helpful to do so, so as to understand whether the organization’s structure is competitive with market prices or not. This will prepare you in instances where you are allowed to negotiate your remuneration.
Based on this research you can properly determine how much your skills and competencies are worth. The key ingredient in doing this is honesty. Simply put, don’t exaggerate your experiences and don’t underestimate them either. Say them as they are. This will help you to know better how much your skills and competencies are worth and even if you do not arrive at a definite figure, you will have a range that you can confidently use in your discussions/negotiations.
DON’T BE TOO FORWARD OR EAGER
During the course of your hiring stages, you will definitely have the chance to talk about your salary.
We suggest that this discussion is left for last, because, in negotiating your salary, your value has to first be established in initial stages such as your cover letter, initial interview contact, or any assessments you may be given. Once your interviewer has seen how much you have accomplished and has no doubt about what an asset you are, negotiating how much you will be paid is not going to be such a long process.
So, there’s no need to appear too eager to take whatever is being offered.
Money is a touchy subject for everybody, and one of the ways to get a more suitable salary is by negotiating when the salary offered is below expectations. Negotiation is about control and whoever controls the conversation, gains the most satisfaction. It is more profitable if both you and your employer come out smiling.
So sometimes, the salary may not meet your expectations, but if it is a job you are willing to do, you could request additional compensation which may not be monetary.
However, if you are unwilling to take what is being offered or negotiate for a better offer, courteously inform your interviewer that this is not a good fit for you. Don’t complain or whine. This display of self-control has been known to make a mark in an employer’s mind.
LOOK OUT FOR OTHER BENEFITS
Keeping an open mind can involve asking your employer if there are other benefits attached to your role especially when the pay is below your expectation. Are there paid vacations, paid leave, retirement plans, health insurance, housing allowances, etc. that can garnish the remuneration?
LET THE EMPLOYER SPEAK FIRST
Knowing your employer’s salary figure helps you compare their figure with your personal expectations. So, it is advisable that you prod them into offering what they had in mind before stating yours. But if they insist on hearing yours first,offering a salary range will be a better way of answering the question.
Ensure that your employers put their remuneration package in writing before accepting the position, the job title, its description compensation and other responsibilities should be in writing. That way, reference can easily be made to the document if the need arises.
HAVE THE REQUIRED ATTITUDE
What does attitude have to do with it?
Remember that book about Attitude being everything? It is very correct. When discussing your salary and remuneration some attitudes are necessary for you to pull through without leaving a sour impression on your interviewer.
Honesty: Be honest about your salary expectations, so you are not stuck with work you will hate doing. Be honest about your previous salary, be honest about your level of experiences, because the truth will always come out and nobody wants to be painted in a bad light.
Confidence Very important to have is confidence so that you are not taken for granted and your actual value is seen and appropriately appreciated. Timidity has a way of covering that value, even though it is there.
Courtesy: It costs absolutely nothing to express your difference with your interviewer in a courteous manner. No matter their action and reaction, it speaks highly of your character to be polite in showing your interviewer how much your skills are worth. So convey your demands /requirements in a courteous manner.
The job market is a challenging place where it seems that organizations can offer a pittance and get good hires, but this is in no way a reason to downplay the value of your skills. This is why it is important to understand the salary structure of a role you are interviewing for.
So, if you’ve found this article valuable, pass it on to someone you know who could use this!