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Salary Negotiation and the New Age of Interviewing

Girl in white and dollars.

Girl in white and dollars.A new Massachusetts law is dramatically changing the interview process for both employers and employees. Recent legislation makes it illegal for Massachusetts companies to ask about applicants’ salaries prior to making a job offer, although this practice is still common across the rest of the United States.

This has a huge impact on how applicants approach the salary negotiation process. The Five O’Clock Club experts agree that it’s best to delay salary discussions until an offer is on the table. This new law eliminates many concerns so candidates no longer have to deflect questions. When an offer is made, the art of negotiation begins.

For many workers, however, salary requirement questions are a standard part of the interviewing process. When asked about past salaries or salary requirements, it’s useful to try to delay the discussion with thoughtful responses.

A few options include:

  • My requirements are flexible.
  • My salary is negotiable.
  • I want to learn more about the job scope before discussing salary.
  • The salary I made previously isn’t applicable to this position due to the different level of responsibility.
  • What is the range you normally pay for this position?
  • What do you consider this position to be worth?

In many instances, these types of strategies will help applicants delay salary discussions until later on in the interview process. Next comes the four-step salary negotiating strategy that has worked for countless members of The Five O’Clock Club.

1. Negotiate the job: A job that’s too low level for your experience will pay less. Don’t waste time negotiating the salary; instead try to upgrade the job. Ask the employer to work with you to expand the scope of responsibilities until it’s a better fit for your skills.

2. Stay the course: Typically it takes multiple meetings and interviews to land a job offer. Ensure each meeting shows progress and that your post-interview communications consistently support the value you will bring to the job.

3. Listen to the offer: When you’re offered a position, it means you’ve convinced the hiring team that you’re the best candidate. Now it’s the hiring manager’s job sell you on the company. This is the ideal time to begin talking about salary.

4. Negotiate the whole package: If you settle for a compensation package that doesn’t meet your needs, you won’t be satisfied in the long run. Learn current market rates for the job. Create a list of must-haves and nice-but-not-necessary benefits. Then negotiate each step, starting with base pay. Always let the employer make the first bid so you have a starting point for your counter-negotiations. Stress your enthusiasm and desire to make things work for everyone.

Finally, a thought for Massachusetts employees who still get asked about salary: Rather than getting defensive and pointing out that the question is illegal, use these ideas for deflecting the answer and follow the four steps. You’ll maintain your positive relationship with the company while ultimately protecting your ability to negotiate what you want.

Have more questions on this? The Five O’Clock Club has the answers! We’d love to hear from you.

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