Now that you know how to get to the interview and answer tricky questions from HR and the technical ones, finally it’s time to negotiate your package. If you are reading this article from your company’s office right now, chances are high that you came across this situation during the hiring process:
Interviewer: -What is your salary expectation?
You: (what if I ask too much? What if I ask too less?) -Well, I need to think about it.
Think with me: when you go to buy an orange, it will certainly have its price already set. When you go and buy a car, you already know how much it costs, or at least you have a ballpark figure of what to expect. And so should you about your services.
Thisn of yourself as someone also selling something, and even though not actually a product, you are selling your knowledge, experience and capacity to interact and influence people. The amount you should “charge” for it definitely depends on what you have to offer, PLUS what the company is expecting from you.
Back to the previous example, imagine that you go buy a cheap car, compatible with your budget, and the salesman offers you a Porsche. Yes, the car is nice, has all the features you want plus many others, but that’s not exactly what you are looking for. And so it is with the company, when you present them with your many certifications, abroad experience and etc. (this usually applies to seasoned professionals, usually) for a junior security position. Likewise, if you apply for a position requiring someone with 10+ years experience, while you have recently graduated from uni.
So, in an effort to help you set your expectation right and get a salary that will fulfill your needs and land you a good job, I present you with some tips to not flinch when asked the question above.
1- Do not apply for a position that is not applicable to you.
This is sort of a no brainer. If you apply to a position that’s not exactly within your field, you obviously won’t have any clues to what salary to ask. But that’s the least of your concerns. Applying to a position that is not applicable to you will waste your time and the recruiter’s, and in the unlikely case of you landing the job, your satisfaction will fade away very soon. I know that desperate times require desperate measures, but even in such case there is a risk that you’ll be let go during the probation period. You don’t want it, do you?
2- Perform a market research
I have already published salary guides that might help you with this part. Even though the numbers are not recent, I’m certain they won’t have floated that much. Click here, here (for salaries in Australia), here (for salaries in Brazil) or here for more information.
3- Spend some time researching about the company before going to the interview
Regardless of where you are, one thing is for sure: some companies pay more, and others pay less (or way less) for the very same position. Companies such as the Big 4 believe that you have to sacrifice on your salary, for the sake of working for a top brand and all the possibilities you have for growth.
Knowing that, make sure you talk to some current and past employees (you can use LinkedIn for that), or ask some recruiters. They will certainly know a good deed about the good/bad payers.
4- Set a minimum acceptable limit that will make you happy
Another common situation: the job is really cool, your “to-be” boss is very friendly and open-minded, and you’ve heard good comments about the company. However, the salary offered is 20% below what you expected. As with any other decision making, planning and being prepared is paramount. Put down all your expenses, your current salary (if any), your plans for the future, and try to reach a minimum amount that would give you pleasure to go to work. The worst thing that can happen to you is to be working for a great company but unhappy about the salary. Remember, it’s much easier to get a nice salary during the hiring process than by promotions and awards.
5- Do not over/underestimate yourself
Ugh, that’s the tricky one. Over estimating means that you might not get the job, and under estimating means that you might get it, but won’t be too happy about your decision.
Some tips that might help:
- You might have loads of certifications and training, but so do many other people. Don’t be fooled by the fact that your CISSP, CISA, CISM, etc. will each give you a 10k increase on your salary. It won’t.
- On the other hand, if you’ve got all these certifications (needless to say that the knowledge goes along), do not accept a position paying way less that the market average. If unemployed, perhaps you’ll have to make this sacrifice, but don’t do it otherwise. You have invested lots of your time and money, don’t forget about this fact!
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