This week’s recurring theme was the “salary apology”. Time after time, I asked candidates about their salary objective and their responses went like this : “Um…well…I am paid pretty well and I just want you to know that I could be flexible. Money is not that important to me.”
That is not the way to answer that question – especially when a recruiter asks. You know what we come away with? You are flexible and will take any old, low-ball salary.
You are paid what you are paid. You have done the work and now you earn that much money. The only reason to deviate from this is if you are looking to move to part time work or get into another occupation. That’s really the only time to drop your expectations.
You can offer to be flexible but definitely don’t lead with that. If you really love the sound of the role or if the commute is going to save you a ton of time or money or the company is offering a bunch of non-salary perks (like a car or a house), you can offer a salary range that gives some potential wiggle room.
If there is a big difference in what you are making and what the job is offering, chances are there are other things that will be misaligned as well. The company may be much larger or much smaller or the role might be much broader or much more narrow.
Then there is the perception a weak answer gives to the hiring manager. If they hear you say you would take less money for their role and that is something they would never do themselves, they will wonder what is wrong with a) you or b) your present situation.
Maybe the most important reason to be clear on your salary objectives is this: it is absolutely heart breaking to get through the interview process, learn that you are one that has been selected for the role and then get presented with an offer that is 20% lower that what you make now.
So be clear and honest about your compensation objectives. It’s for your own good.