Barbara Guss

Barbara’s Wednesday Wisdom 5.17

Hawaii Business Magazine’s “The Careerist” was given a tough question for May 2017’s issue. Naturally, our very own Professional Recruiter, Barbara Guss, would have the answer. Read more for Barbara’s Wednesday Wisdom.

Q: I’m interviewing for a new job outside my current company. Nothing’s wrong here, but there’s limited upward mobility and I am looking for a greater challenge. My resume is strong, I’ve got a good network of professional people, and I’m getting interviews. But I trip up every time they get to the money question. Everyone asks it differently: “What are your salary requirements?” or “How much are you making now?” or my favorite, “What do you need to make?” (That last one implies that, as long as my basic food and shelter needs are covered, I’m good. But no, not so much.) What am I supposed to say?

A: How I shudder when prospective employers ask that question! It makes you feel like they don’t want to pay you a dime more than they have to – which is exactly the point.

I turned to my go-to recruiter in Honolulu, Barbara Guss, for her best counsel on how to respond without tanking any chances you might have of getting the job (and the salary you deserve). “It’s tricky and it has to be done with confidence,” she says. “I always tell my candidates to say, ‘While compensation is important to me, I want to make sure that I understand the scope of the responsibilities and the expectations so I can properly assess my suitability.’” Bam! Like she says, you’ve got to do it with confidence, so make sure to practice that mouthful in front of the mirror a few times.

If the employer persists (and the employer most likely will), Guss suggests countering with something like this: “I would hope that after you consider my experience and my skills, you will make me your best offer.” Mic drop. They asked. You responded. They tried again, and you kept your dollars tucked safely in your pocket.

Remember that salary is only one part of your compensation, and you should inquire about the rest of the package. How strong are the benefits? What about paid time off (PTO), holidays and sick leave? Don’t forget the 401(k), wellness programs, work-life balance, flexible work hours and other employee perks. Employers today are incentivized to do more than the basics to keep good employees. After all, you deserve more than a pittance to cover those basic housing and food needs, and they need someone who can navigate with the confidence it took to get through that prickly conversation.

Click here to read the full article: The Careerist: Toughest Interview Question: “What are your salary requirements?”

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