“What is the salary you’re looking for?”
It’s a straightforward question in an IT job interview, but if you get it wrong, the consequences could be disastrous. Ask for too much and you could price yourself right out of an offer. If you ask for too little, not only will you be underpaid, but you’ll negatively impact your earning potential for years to come. Use these strategies to price yourself correctly during your job search.
Conduct Online Research
You research every product you buy on Amazon. Your salary deserves at least that same level of attention. The first thing to do is hop online and research salary information from various sources. Payscale.com and Salary.com are good first stops. Next, venture over to Indeed and Glassdoor and research salaries for the job title you want in your geographic area. This will give you an idea of the range that you can command in the market.
Factor Your Experience
It is important to remember that all online sources are estimations. Your unique skill set and experience greatly impact your earning potential. If you’ve just graduated from a coding boot camp and you haven’t worked in the field yet, you won’t necessarily be able to command the top tier of the range you calculated.
At the same time, you don’t want to lowball yourself, especially if you are new to the tech job market. If you’re experienced, start all salary negotiations closer to the higher level of the range, and if you’re just starting out, choose a salary level somewhere in the middle. You can always negotiate with employers and land on a number that is fair and reasonable.
Don’t Disclose What You Make Now
Employers sometimes ask about your current salary. Answering this question can be tricky, especially if you are currently underpaid. Say you make $60,000 per year, but the market rate is $80,000, which the company is prepared to offer. If you tell the hiring manager you earn $60,000, they could offer you $70,000 which is a raise to you and is a bargain for the company, but in the end, still results in a low offer.
While you never want to lie in an interview, you can answer the question, “how much are you currently earning” with something like, “I am looking to earn $85,000, which is the current market rate in our metro for developers with my skill set.”
Work With An IT Recruiter
If you really want to know what you’re worth in your market and if you want someone who will help you negotiate a fair deal, it pays to work with a professional recruiter. Recruiters can accurately assess your value against the salaries local companies are currently offering, and they will handle those tricky conversations with the hiring manager.