Candidates tell us they have the hardest time answering the salary question.
Job seekers hungry for their next opportunity hate to be stopped at the door by their salary. Pick a salary too high and you are out. Pick a salary too low and you leave money on the table.
We advise candidates to stick with the market range for their ideal job. This seems to be the safest way to avoid getting the salary knock-out. Apparently the Commonwealth of Massachusetts agrees.
Massachusetts just passed a pay equity law that requires employers to pay men and women equally for comparable work. According to an article in CNN Money, the new law prevents employers from even asking about salary history as part of the screening process or during an interview.
The idea is that if employers pay the market competitive salary range then the candidates’ previous salary becomes irrelevant. “This legislation is an important step toward advancing more equal, inclusive and thriving workplaces throughout the Commonwealth for women and families,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, in a release Monday.
Thousands of relieved job seekers just exhaled in relief.
The new law permits employers to take certain attributes into consideration like work experience, education, job training, productivity and measurements like sales, productivity or revenue. So the range for a plant manager in a large organization could be different / higher than someone with the same title in a smaller organization. But a man and a woman doing the same job in the same organization should be paid in the same competitive market range.
This makes it all the more important for candidates in Massachusetts and anywhere for that matter to understand what is the proper range for the job their want to perform. This information is readily available. My favorite site is www.salary.com. You can also check out www.salaryexpert.com, www.payscale.com or the old fashioned method of just asking people who do the job already.
For example, a recent client, we will call her Ericka, a manufacturing production manager, was interviewing for a position as a manufacturing production manager in another company. She previously earned $75,000 but felt like she was underpaid. We looked up the job on www.salary.com. The job description fit. The resulting salary information showed a range of $80,000 at the 25% low end to $93,000 at the median with $105,000 at the top end. Our client’s salary certainly was at the low end of the competitive salary range, even perhaps too low.
Armed with this competitive salary information gives candidates confidence in responding to the salary question.
Erika should respond to salary questions by saying, “I understand that the competitive range for this position is $85,000 to $90,000. I am fine with that range.” This way Erika avoids revealing her actual (low) salary and has a chance of getting offered a competitive (higher) salary.
This approach is completely different than responding, “I was earning $75,000 in my last position.” See the difference?
How will you respond to the salary question?
Get the confidence you need with a FREE copy of The Interview Doctor’s Job Requirements Comparison List and prepare yourself to prove with evidence that you can do the job!