How do I discuss salary? What questions should I ask? Should I send a “thank you” letter after the interview? When? To whom? In Part 2 of our series on interviewing tips, we will discuss those issues.
- Let the interviewer bring up salary first. Discussing salary is usually a very uncomfortable subject for many of us. We often feel that we don’t want to ask for “too much” or we will price ourselves out of the position, and we also don’t want to ask for less than we need, or think we are worth. So, how do we approach this subject? By letting the interviewer tell us what they are offering. Often, they will not volunteer this information. When they ask (and they will) “What are your salary requirements?”, the best response is “Like most companies, I’m sure you have a low, midpoint and high range for the position. Would you be kind enough to share with me those ranges, and then I could determine where I would fit within those ranges?” They will then tell you the range of salaries for the position; a good answer is “Well, based on my experience and accomplishments, I would be most comfortable at the higher end of that range.” Then say nothing more. This will help you get the highest salary they can offer for the position without being offensive. The rule of thumb in salary negotiations is: the first person to mention a number usually loses. So, help yourself get what you think you are worth. There is nothing worse than starting a new job with the feeling that you are underpaid. It will affect your performance and long term prospects. So avoid that issue by following these steps.
- Develop 3 or 4 questions you ask to every potential employer. Usually, at the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask “What questions do you have for me?” NEVER say “None.” This shows lack of interest and understanding. Avoid asking about benefits or salary; those will be addressed later. Instead, develop 3 or 4 quality questions that you ask every interviewer; this will make you seem prepared, intelligent, ambitious, and resourceful, and those are qualities every employer wants. Some sample questions are:
- – Can you describe the corporate culture?
- – What is the company’s management style and philosophy?
- – How is this department perceived within the company?
- – Can you describe the organization’s structure?
- – What would be the greatest challenge in this position?
- – What are the company’s values?
- – What are the traits of someone who is successful in this position?
- – What is the next step in the process? (this is always the last question you ask – they will tell you the timeframe for hiring)
- Send a thank-you letter to all individuals with whom you interviewed. This is considered appropriate protocol, and may give an advantage over other candidates who did not. Also, the objective is to keep your name at the top of the list of applicants; the more they see your name, the harder it is to forget about you.
Good luck on your interviews! Dom Feroce Director, Inside Sales