3 Tips for Navigating Money During the Interview

Job offer negotiations, especially negotiations that relate to money, can be stressful.  They can also be particularly tricky, if you’re not experienced about the process and you don’t know what to do.

Almost anything can go wrong if you’re not prepared to navigate the topic of money—including not receiving an offer of employment or even having an offer rescinded.  Unfortunately, many candidates prepare for this part of their interview the least (if at all), thus decreasing their chances for success.

Below are three tips for navigating money during the interview (along with a bonus tip):

#1—Do not emphasize money TOO much.

If a company is going to offer you a job, then the subject of money will be broached eventually.  The purpose of going to an interview is to get a job offer, and you don’t want to jeopardize your chances of getting the offer.  After all, there is no decision to be made on your part until you have an offer in hand.

Wouldn’t it be best to get an offer so you know what decision there is to make?  If you focus too much on money before the offer is even made, you might not receive the offer at all.  That’s because company officials do not want to hire candidates whose top priority is compensation.  Why is that?  Because if they believe that’s the case, they’ll also believe that you might very well accept a counter-offer from your current employer or that you will leave as soon as another organization offers you more money.

#2—Do not bring up money first.

Wait for the employer to do this.  Your job at the interview is to sell yourself as being both qualified and interested in the position so the employer will want to make you a job offer.  If the employer is interested in you, at some point they will bring up the compensation topic.

When the employer brings up money, the best way to answer this question is to say, “Obviously, I am looking for your best offer, but career opportunity will weigh heavily on my decision.  You have a range in mind that you are planning to pay the person in this position.  I’d like to be somewhere within your range based upon my qualifications and what I bring to the table.”

This does not sidestep the question.  You are answering the question without giving a specific number.  This is a good idea because if you give a number that’s too low, then you’ll leave money on the table.  If you provide a number that’s too high, then you’ll price yourself out of the range.  Ask the employer to make their best offer so that you have something to consider.

#3—Do not accept the first salary offer unless you’re working through a recruiter.

A company will not always make its best salary offer right away.  This is because some hiring officials expect that there will be negotiation regarding the salary.  If you’re working through a recruiter, the recruiter should know what your expectations are and what the employer’s range is and will be able to negotiate a fair compensation package for both parties.  The recruiter should ask their client to make their best offer and be able to accept it on your behalf if they already know what you need.

Bonus tip—Work with an executive recruiter.

A top experienced recruiter in your niche industry has the knowledge necessary to guide you through the entire interviewing and negotiation process, including the offer stage and salary negotiation.  A recruiter can be a valuable resource in the short term, and they can also serve as a career coach and agent in the long run.  If you aren’t already aligned with a recruiter, consider doing so.

There are numerous benefits.  Working with a good recruiter is similar to working with a good real estate agent.  If you were buying or selling a home, would you prefer to negotiate the deal directly with the other party?  Probably not.  Salary negotiations can get highly emotional, and the agent can take emotion out of the equation.

You don’t want to have an emotional discussion with the person who is about to be your new boss.  Don’t you want to start your new employment on the right foot?

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of organizations.  If this is something you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.