The third and final interview excruciatingly winds down to the final question. You’ve survived mind numbing questions such as “Where do you plan to be in five years” and “Tell me about a boss that you enjoyed working for.” First, in five years, I want to be the one asking the dumb questions. Second, you would call me a liar, if I made up a boss that I enjoyed working for. So, let’s cut to the chase and ask the last question of the interview.
What salary should I ask for?
You can flawlessly answer every interview question and still screw up because of the all-important what salary should I ask for question. Like Goldilocks and the porridge, ask for too much money and find the exit door. Ask for too less than what the job pays and the hiring manager might view you as someone that’s less than confident. You need to be proactive and follow four simple steps to ensure you get the final question right.
Research, Research, Research
Several online resources provide accurate salary information that gives you a strong foundation for setting your professional worth. Updated annually, the Occupational Outlook Handbook does much more than simply project job demand by occupation. The comprehensive online guide also presents salary ranges for hundreds of occupations. You access the Occupational Outlook Handbook at the Department of Labor website. Salary.com offers a Salary Wizard that offers pay ranges for over 4,000 job titles.
The salary data that you acquire for your profession sets a minimum and maximum range. This is the point when you narrow the range towards a concrete salary figure. Experience plays a prominent role in determining the answer to the question, “What salary should I ask for.” If you have just graduated college, you should request a salary near the lower end of the range. More experienced candidates have the flexibility to reach for the salary stars. Some occupations have large variances in salaries due to the on the job experience factor.
Cost of Living
Two job candidates interview for the same type of job hundreds of miles apart. Job candidate number one interviews in an ornate meeting room located in a New York City skyscraper. Job candidate number two sits across from a hiring manager at a local diner located off the beaten path. Cost of living factors into salary request out of necessity. You need to earn more money, while living in large urban areas. Food, gas, housing, and clothing all cost more under the bright lights of the big city. Check into the cost of living index for the location where you expect to live, after the hiring manager extended a job offer. Then, you can accurately answer, “What salary should I ask for.”
A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Most occupations reward professionals that augment credentials by earning higher education degrees. The additional education helps you acquire knowledge of complex topics that only a few professionals in your field possess. Professional licenses and certifications also bolster your earning power. If a prospective employer offers a lucrative college tuition reimbursement plan, factor the cost of the plan into your salary request. You might earn a lower than average base salary for your occupation, but your future earning power sharply increases by acquiring an advanced education.
College Tuition reimbursement represents only one of the perks that sweeten the job salary pot. Most employers offer other benefits, such as company matched retirement plans, comprehensive health insurance, and subsidized housing for job candidates that relocate. Estimate how much each of the company benefits costs and use the number to form your salary request.