When is “Too Soon” to Discuss Compensation?
Money is a touchy subject in almost all settings. Naturally, discussing money during the hiring process is no different. Even though most employers are entirely used to talking about salary expectations and employee benefits packages, it’s common for professionals to struggle with initiating the conversation.
As difficult as it may seem, waiting to discuss compensation is the most important factor. Asking about money at the very beginning of the interview process, for example, is usually the kiss of death. You don’t want to blow your chances of having the upper hand during the negotiation process, so waiting until the right moment is crucial.
But the good news is that there are some ways to gain information on the subject in a less direct manner. Talking to other professionals who have worked at the organization is a common strategy. By researching an organization on LinkedIn, you should be able to source a few names of past employees. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and gently inquire about their experience.
Try writing something like the following:
“Hi ______. I saw on LinkedIn that you used to work at XYZ company. I’m currently interviewing for a position with them. I’m getting in touch with you in the hope that you might be able to give me some insight into what it was like to work there. Specifically—and I realize this is sensitive— I’m wondering if their compensation is competitive with other companies in the area?”
Be polite, respectful and brief. You’ll be surprised how many professionals are happy to share a bit of information. Everyone has been in your position at some point, and most people will be totally willing to help you out. And with just a little extra effort, you’ll go into your interview with some insider knowledge regarding the company’s compensation offering.
But now for the important part. At what point in the process do you broach the salary question?
Most people will say that they always, always wait until an offer is on the table. Whether this happens during a second interview, by phone, or via email, the time to begin negotiating compensation packages is always after you know 100% that the company wants to hire you. Then, and only then, should you start talking about money.
Learn More: 5 Salary Negotiation Tips to Get a Better Offer
For more information about discussing your salary with a prospective employer, contact Sparks Group!