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Salary Negotiation:

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Old 01-16-2008, 07:53 AM   #1
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Salary Negotiation:

Hey Guys,

I have a job interview today. I've researched the company, and I feel extremely prepared for the interview -- minus one key point. Salary. I'm petrified to hear the "What kind of compensation are you looking for question." If I go too low the company feels I'm devaluing myself, if I go too high I'm greedy -- I have no clue what to say to this question.

Personally, I'd like to say something to the effect of: I didn't come into the interview with a number in my head, at this point the experience is the most valuable asset to me. However, I don't know how well that would go over.

If anyone in HR or with experience could help me out, I'd appreciate it. I looked up the title, and the median salary is between 40-55K a year from what I saw (with my level of experience [none])

"Tactical Systems Technician I" is the job title I'm going after if that helps.

Thanks a ton guys!
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:37 AM   #2
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

The safe bet is to request something in the middle of that 40K - 55K range.

They would prefer that you give a number because it helps them make a decision. If you don't give a number, you run the risk of them thinking this guy's making it too hard for us.

If it were me, I'd say something like "Well, I think $50K would be ideal, but $45K would work too." That puts you right in the middle of the range. You've got to pick the numbers that work for you (because if $45K doesn't work for you, then don't say so!).

Other things to consider, do you feel like you'd be a candidate that really stands out from others? Did you go to a stellar college, have a 4.0, have a graduate degree? If any of these are true, you can probably shoot for $50K or higher. If none are true, think $45K-$50K.

Decent starting salary any way you cut it. Good luck!
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:39 AM   #3
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

Actually, I'm still in college. It's customary for students in the GMU IT degree to go into the work force while in school. Thanks for the advice Schneed, ugh I hate that part of interviews.
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:53 AM   #4
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

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Originally Posted by Daseal View Post
Actually, I'm still in college. It's customary for students in the GMU IT degree to go into the work force while in school. Thanks for the advice Schneed, ugh I hate that part of interviews.
That's right, you had mentioned you were at GMU before. I remember you were going bonkers for the Final 4 appearance! I went to Richmond and when we beat 3 seed South Carolina in 1998 I was flippin out, but that's nothin compared to a Final 4!

GMU's a solid school. If you can do yourself any favors in the interview, it is to appear enthusiastic about working for the company, and to try to appear "polished and professional" beyond your years. Interviews for new college grads are much different than interviews for experienced workers. There are no questions to ask about your work experience. You want to be able to demonstrate that you're a hard worker, show that you're a good and willing learner, and demonstrate that you're ready for the workforce in terms of maturity (acting polished and professional).
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:54 AM   #5
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

PS I think saden works in IT. Might want to PM him for other info.
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:55 AM   #6
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

Make sure you come in with knowledge of jobs in that area too. Call around and even ask some HR departments what the base pay is for the job you're interviewing for.
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:56 AM   #7
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

Not only that, it's been my experience that you're going to get damn near the base salary for the position without experience. Where I work, there's this guy who is TOTALLY incompetent but makes almost double what the rest of us make because he's been around for thirty years.

Get as much as you can first, because it'll take a promotion or a job change to negotiate it again. Talk about costs of living, apartments, houses, benefits, all that stuff.
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:57 AM   #8
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

I would suggest asking for the lower end of the range (e.g. $45K) since you don't have experience, with the qualification that your salary needs depend (to a limited extent) on the fringe benefits and opportunities for salary increases/promotions. It's perfectly reasonable and wise to accept a lower salary now if your future prospects with the company are bright and they have great 401K, medical/dental/optical, disability, and vacation benefits.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:01 AM   #9
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

Yeah, to be honest the salary doesn't really concern me that much -- it's answering the question I'm afraid of -- I think I'm going to say 40-50K, thats a broad range and hopefully good. I'll still try to avoid the question if possible, but we'll see!
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:05 AM   #10
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

Don't be shy asking high. If they really want you, they'll say this: "Sure, that's more than we're willing to pay, but let's at least OFFER him a lower figure because all he can say is 'no'".
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:06 AM   #11
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

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Yeah, to be honest the salary doesn't really concern me that much -- it's answering the question I'm afraid of -- I think I'm going to say 40-50K, thats a broad range and hopefully good. I'll still try to avoid the question if possible, but we'll see!
You can also skirt the issue totally by saying, what do you expect the salary to be? Put the ball in their court without giving an actual number. If they give you a range, then tell them a number you're comfortable with.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:08 AM   #12
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

If you know the approximate salary range, don't be afraid to throw that out there and say something like "based on the research I've done the range for this position appears to be X amount to Y amount (at that point you could ask if they agree with said range), and I'm comfortable discussing a figure in this range".

I would definitely avoid getting pinned down to an exact figure.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:11 AM   #13
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

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Originally Posted by TheMalcolmConnection View Post
Don't be shy asking high. If they really want you, they'll say this: "Sure, that's more than we're willing to pay, but let's at least OFFER him a lower figure because all he can say is 'no'".
I would agree. In most companies you're going to get your money coming through the door so don't be afraid to shoot high. Not ridiculously high of course, but keep in mind they're going to come at you on the lower end of things so they are playing the same game you will be.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:13 AM   #14
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

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Originally Posted by Mattyk72 View Post
If you know the approximate salary range, don't be afraid to throw that out there and say something like "based on the research I've done the range for this position appears to be X amount to Y amount (at that point you could ask if they agree with said range), and I'm comfortable discussing a figure in this range".

I would definitely avoid getting pinned down to an exact figure.
Now that I think about it, that's probably the best approach. Show them you've done your due diligence and try to put the ball in their court.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:14 AM   #15
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Re: Salary Negotiation:

And don't accept the first offer on the spot! There's usually some wiggle room in there somewhere, even vacation time is negotiable with most companies. If they won't budge on salary ask for an extra week of vacation. I've found that companies are far more generous with throwing you an extra week of vacation over giving you more money. So if you value time off, don't be afraid to negotiate vacation time too!
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