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Negotiating a salary for a new position can feel a bit like playing chess; there are a lot of different strategies and each side is unsure about what the others’ next move will be.  But starting the conversation can feel like a game of chicken – many times it’s been said that whoever brings up salary first loses.

At Purple Ink, we disagree – on nearly all of our client openings we like to post an estimated salary range on our ads so that potential candidates know what to expect up front.  This helps applicants know whether it’s a hypothetical fit for him or her salary-wise and it likewise keeps our applicant pool on target.

As an external recruiter, I appreciate candor and openness from candidates about their salary expectation. It helps me steer them to the right opportunity.

Here are some tips for a salary conversation when you’re interviewing for a new position:

  • I think it’s better to discuss salary earlier rather than later, but don’t bring it up in a first interview UNLESS the recruiter does
  • Don’t wait until a final interview to discuss salary. If there’s not a match from a salary standpoint, it’s better to know up front so nobody’s time is wasted
  • Instead of answering the question “what are you currently making” – use the phrase “my salary expectation for this role is …”
  • A good time to ask about a salary range is during a second interview, and a good way to ask is “What is the targeted salary range for this role?”
  • If an application asks for your current salary, or salaries made in previous positions, I recommend putting your current salary expectation instead with an asterisk stating it’s your current expectation

The conversation about salary is a necessary part of any job search and it doesn’t have to be stressful – approach it as an opportunity to further determine whether the job is a right fit.

Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt is Purple Ink’s Manager of Career Coaching Services and is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Catherine has a special interest in career coaching and recruiting and finds joy when she can connect the right person to the right opportunity.

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