When it comes to discussing money related issues, most of us find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation. Somehow we all shy away from talking about our financial status, not just with friends or colleagues but also with our family members. We just don’t like to talk about our income! This is what makes salary negotiation during a job interview process uneasy and uncomfortable both for the interviewee and the interviewer, more so for the former.
Getting hired follows three basic steps. Step one: Being called for an interview (either telephonic or face-to-face), Step two: Getting the job offer, and Step three: Negotiating the salary. Although many of us have may have faced a number of interviews previously and may have a fair idea about how the whole process takes place, their are others who may be fairly new to getting interviewed and they in all probability have a lot of questions in their mind related to salary negotiation that makes them uncomfortable. “How much should I say my salary expectation is?” “If the recruiter comes up with a salary figure, will it be fair?” “Should I ask for more if less salary is offered?” are some questions that may make the candidate uneasy. Having said that, the question is: What is the best time to start talking about salary with the employer? The employer is free to bring up the topic of salary at any point during the interview and in the real world you will be expected to answer this question in a number of places starting from the time you sent a job application to the company. Your expected salary may be asked by recruiters before they forward your CV to the company HR or by department/ human resource managers during initial telephonic screening etc. You as a candidate must not give in to such questions and should avoid quoting any salary figure until you are found to be the right fit for the position by the company and are offered the job.
Assuming that the company has determined that you are the right candidate for the job and is about to make a job offer to you, the next crucial question that comes to mind is how much you should ask for? The best way to approach this tricky question is by doing your homework before you come for the interview. You must know beforehand how much similar companies are paying for the same job for your level of experience. Various tools are available online that allow you to calculate expected salary for a desired position. You must also be aware whether the company where you are interviewing has a high or a low paying reputation. This can be found out by networking with people in the industry through various professional networks and associations. If you know someone in the company you may ask for a salary range that the company may be willing to pay for the position that you are applying for. Refrain from asking personal details as this may make the person uneasy and he/she may not provide you correct information. Also, if you are already working somewhere, your current compensation package could serve as a guide for your to-be employer in quoting you a higher salary package.
If asked about your current salary what should you say? On most occasions you will be asked to carry with you your previous salary slips (if any) to the interview, so never communicate an incorrect current salary package to the prospective employer prior to the interview. The best thing to do is to be honest about your present compensation package however you may communicate a round figure including any paid vacations, bonuses etc that you may be entitled to in your present role.
Once the employer has made an offer to you with a certain compensation package, feel free to ask if there is any possibility of increasing the salary that is being offered. On most occasions all HR managers will have some scope of increasing the initial offer as they are already prepared for negotiating. If you do not negotiate, many HR managers may consider you to be timid with weak negotiating skills. Stay confident and negotiate your salary by providing valid justifications for the increase that you are seeking. Employers want to hire you on a positive note, so there are high chances that your salary will be revised considerably, if not completely up to your expectations.
Also, as a medical writer you must not concentrate only upon your base pay. You must also check with the employer about any educational programs that they can sponsor you for, or any opportunity of attending meetings (such as that of the American Medical Writers Association) that you may get. Such things will greatly add to your professional profile as a medical writer.