Tag Archives: salary

The salary question is illegal in MA

MA just passed a law making it illegal to ask your current or past salary before they have made you a job offer!

Here is the article.

I have to admit, I did not see that one coming.

Salary toys

It’s not how much you make, it’s….  okay, so it is how much you make.

Have some fun and compare what you make to the rest of the world.  It can be an eye opener when you play with minor variations in titles.

www.careerjournal.com  is a great place to go looking for good jobs. Monster and CareerBuilder are fine too.

Then go to www.salary.com and find the range of salaries for that job.  They have neat graphs that show you the range of salaries and what percentage of people get the high or low salary.

Add Senior or Chief to your title and see what that earns you.

www.homefair.com/homefair/calc/salcalc.html will help you compare the salary and cost of living in different locations.

Have fun.  If you don’t like what you see, figure out how to fix it.  If you are overpaid, figure out if you are worth it.

Something to do today

Have some fun with salary toys.

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Coming up

Working for the Fortune 50

Scrabble and muck and get ahead

When to give up and go elsewhere

How to be ruined or win with the money question

Alice came in and told us she wanted $110,000 per year minimum or she wouldn’t even consider another job.  We tried to get her to be reasonable.  Because of her previous salary, $95,000 or less was much more reasonable. As recruiters we decided to send her anyway.  When it got to negotiations the company was not willing to go anywhere near $110,000.  We called Alice and told her to forget it.  She panicked, “What do you mean you turned them down for me?  I would gladly take $92,000.  What were you thinking?”

We were thinking exactly what she told us.  Therein lies the problem when you are looking for a job:

Ask for too little and they will pay you too little. Ask too much and they might not even make you an offer.

Alice was lucky on two counts, first that we let her interview for the job, and second that the company made any offer at all.

How to win (or not lose) on the money question

Be honest with your recruiter.  Tell him the truth so he can negotiate for you. If you change your mind up or down, tell him immediately.  Give him a chance to negotiate for you in good faith.

Give the employer a sandwich.  Soft bread slices with meat in-between.  The soft bread on each side of the meat is a compliment on their company and job.  The meat is to tell them what you have made in the past. Tell them the facts.

Try saying, “I really like this company and job.  I would love to work for you.  In my last job I earned $58,000 last year.  I certainly would not want to work for less.  What I would like is to be able to entertain your best offer.  I certainly want to work for you.” Did you notice the bread, meat, bread lines?

Then let them go back and discuss what to offer you.

Telling people the truth is the way to get the best offer.  Tell them what they need to hear, not necessarily what they ask.

Something to do today

Try to figure out what other people are making at your same job.  It can be a real eye opener.  I have seen people paid half of what they should be earning sho are happy as clams.  Others earning 20% more than anyone else in a similar job feel underpaid.

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Later:          I refuse to say what I get paid

3 kinds of death

20 second interview prime time

5 soft skills that mean big bucks for technical folks

You can separate yourself from the rest of the technical herd with these 5 skills.  They really are the biggest differentiator in salary outside of raw technical prowess.

Read more….

How to answer “What do we have to pay you?”

Never…ever suggest they don’t have to pay you.  What they pay for, they’ll value.  What they get for free, they’ll take for granted, and then demand as a right.  Hold them up for all the market will bear.  (Lois Bujold)

” How much less than $55,000 will you take as a base salary?”

You probably won’t be asked that particular question. It is brutally bad.

Employers hate to ask any money question.  It isn’t polite.  But, you and the employer need to be in the same salary ballpark. Wouldn’t you feel upset if after 3 interviews over a period of a month you were offered a salary of half of what you are willing to take?

What makes the money question worse is that you cannot give a solid answer and win.  If you give a number too high, they may refuse to continue the interviews.  If you give a number too low, they’ll pay that low number and not a higher one you could have gotten.

There is only one way to answer the question.  Start out with a compliment. Let them know where you are now.  Finally, tell them you want to hear their best offer.  Here’s an example:

“How much do we have to pay you?”

“I like this company.  The opportunity is just what I am looking forward to.  The team is a real winner too.  I currently earn a $63,000 base plus a bonus of $2500 last year.  I certainly wouldn’t want to earn less.  What I would like is to be able to entertain your best offer.”

This answer gives them information to work with.  It is not a refusal.  The heartfelt compliments at the start make them feel good.  You tell them what your baseline for comparison is.  Finally you give them a chance to be generous.

One final note: Don’t bring up money, benefits, vacation or “what’s in it for me” in the first interview.  Even the second interview is often the wrong place.  After they have decided to hire you is the best time to discuss money.  At that point they will feel a real loss if you decide their offer is too low.

Something To Do Today

Most people cannot clearly state what they earn.  I don’t know why.  Before you go on an interview write down the clearest way you can state your current earnings.  Then practice answering “the money question”.

How much do we have to pay you?

Lack of money is no obstacle.  Lack of an idea is an obstacle. (Hakuta)

It’s your first interview.  Things are going well.  The wall clock says you’ve been here 45 minutes.  That’s good.  Then the hirer sits back in his chair and asks, “How much do we have to pay you?”

This can be a disaster.  If you come up with too big of a number, they won’t hire you.  If the number is too small you won’t earn as much as you could.  Is there any way to win?

Your answer needs to show a great attitude.  It can’t sound like you are greedy.  It must leave the door open for negotiations.  It has to get you a job offer so you can really start negotiating. Try this:

I really like the opportunity you have described to me.  This is a great company.  I would love to come to work for you.  In my last job I earned (amount), I certainly wouldn’t want to work for less.  What I would like… is to be able to entertain your best offer.

Show them your attitude first.  Let them know you like the company and the job.  Give them the historical fact of what you last earned.  Then defuse the question by saying you want to see their best offer.

This line works.  Most of the time they’ll stop asking you for a number. If they ask you again, repeat the line. Eventually you’ll be negotiating wages, but try to put it off until they really want to make you an offer.

Use the money question to show your attitude.  You’ll get more job offers. You’ll also make more money.

Something To Do Today

Put this question and answer down in your interview preparation notes.  Practice saying it five times before every phone interview or in-person interview.