How to Answer the Salary Question During a Job Interview

iStock
iStock

Negotiating your salary may be awkward, but it’s also incredibly important. Your starting salary sets the bar for your future earnings, from overtime to raises and promotions. So, when the topic inevitably comes up during your job interview, you want to be prepared. Here’s how to approach the subject.

ARM YOURSELF WITH RESEARCH.

It should go without saying, but research is key to nailing your job interview, and that includes the salary question. You can get an idea of what the market rate for your position is using sites that crowdsource salary information, like Glassdoor and PayScale.

“If you review this data prior to an interview you will at least have an idea of what the range is for the type of position you are applying for,” says David Carlson, author of Hustle Away Debt. “If you’re interviewing at a smaller firm that doesn’t have salary data available, consider looking at the average pay at large firms. It’s better to go into the interview with this information than nothing at all.”

Also, the nonprofit Educate to Career has a free salary calculator to help you determine your salary benchmark, based on your occupation and location.

WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE AN OFFER.

What’s your current salary? What’s your salary range? When your potential employer finally asks the million dollar question, keep in mind: It’s a loaded one. By tossing out a number, you automatically anchor a value to your work.

“Discussing your salary during a job interview almost always favors the employer,” Carlson says. “Keep this in mind if the interviewer asks you what salary you are looking for.”

The company should offer you a salary based on your skills and experience, and tossing out a number too early can diminish that. In other words, you don’t want to put a price tag on your work before the employer even has a chance to value it themselves.

“Politely tell the interviewer you would be open to discussing your desired salary but would prefer to wait until you have an official job offer,” says Carlson. “This may not be what the interviewer wants to hear, but it can help shut down the salary discussion.”

TRY THE “BRIEFCASE TECHNIQUE.”

Author and entrepreneur Ramit Sethi recommends a specific technique for answering the salary question. He’s dubbed it the “Briefcase Technique.” You can see how it’s done in this video, but here’s how Sethi breaks it down:

“So the client says, 'You know, I'm really just curious. What's your price here?' And what you say at that point is, 'Oh, actually, before we get to that, let me just show you something I put together.' And you literally pull out, from your briefcase, a [one- to five-page] proposal document. And this proposal ... is actually about things you found in their business that you could improve, and exactly how you would go through it.”

With the Briefcase Technique, you’re already offering something to work with. This encourages the employer to determine your value based on your skills, work ethic, and drive—not just a number. It’s not something every job candidate will do, and that’s part of the reason it works so well.

AIM HIGH.

But what do you do if the employer pushes the issue? "If you keep getting pushed to name a salary you could mention the higher end of the range,” Carlson says. “Think of the number you mention as the ‘ceiling’ of what your offer would be—it’s unlikely they are going to offer you more than you ask for.”

According to Clarke University, most employers can budget 15 to 20 percent more than they initially offer. This is important to keep in mind if the employer listed a salary range in the job posting or makes you an offer below market rate. Don't assume there's no wiggle room and walk away too soon.

Once you have an offer in hand (no sooner, if you can avoid it), Carlson recommends, it's time to begin your negotiating in earnest. 

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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Does the Dryer Eat Your Socks? Use This Simple Laundry Hack to Solve the Problem

You never have to search for your missing socks again.
You never have to search for your missing socks again.
m01229, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Doing laundry is never fun, but when your pile of apparel emerges with socks missing, it can turn into an investigation worthy of a homicide detective. Whether they're Nike, Gucci, or Gold Toe, no sock is immune to foul play—and typically, no suspect can ever be located.

Socks get “lost” when they cling to the washer drum, disappear into a pair of pants, or fall out of the hamper on their way back to the sock drawer. It’s also possible for a washer to “eat” a sock by allowing it to tumble out of the drum and get stuck in an inaccessible portion of the appliance. Some socks have even made it to the water drain or pump in their desperate bid to avoid your feet.

Reader’s Digest has a solution to this phenomenon: Use a safety pin. When you take your socks off, clip them together with the pin. By utilizing this sock buddy system, the pair will never be separated in the wash. It’s also far less likely for a pair to be obscured by other clothing or to cling to a hidden surface like the washer or fall by the wayside in a crevice.

If you’re concerned safety pins might damage your washer, you can opt for plastic sock clips like Loc A Sock. A pack of 40 clips is just $15 on Amazon.

[h/t Reader’s Digest]

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