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The interview has gone fairly well: You’ve answered the questions as thoroughly as possible, shown yourself in a positive light, and engaged well with the interviewer. Then the time comes for you to ask your questions, and in your head you have your own private query: Do I bring up salary? If I do, how do I manage it without looking like I only care about money? You don’t want to come off as demanding or arrogant, and you’ve heard the horror stories about others who asked about compensation and never heard from the company again…

The old adage, “Never bring up salary on an interview; let the interviewer do so first” doesn’t necessarily apply if you manage it right. If you made it to the interview, you have a background and skills that they value, and you have value as an employee. Bringing up salary early on allows you to negotiate; it’s much harder to do so when your future employers have already decided what you’re “worth” and given you the number. In their minds, the salary number has more or less been settled. So what can do you?

Find Your (Salary) Range.

Before bringing up anything, arm yourself with knowledge of average salaries for your position. Check out sites such as Payscale, Salary, and Glassdoor, and be ready to give a salary range for a full-time and consultant assignment. Factor in benefits and how much they mean to you in case you end up negotiating.

Wait for a Second.

In other words, do not bring up salary during your first interview. It comes off as cocky and implies that money is your main focus. Wait until you’re called for the second interview, and then ask if it’s a good time to discuss salary. Reference the compensation at your previous job as your jumping-off point and, if they’re ready to offer something comparable, keep talking. This puts you in control of the conversation.

Keep it Clear.

Before sending over your references and discussing when you’ll start, have the compensation question clarified — have no questions about what salary will bring you in. And avoid game playing. If it gets to be too much back-and-forth, that’s a sign you may not want this position after all. And you don’t have to give them any W-2s in terms of salary verification — you can simply say your financial information is private and you understand if they aren’t ready to give an offer based on your previous conversations.

Do it like the higher-ups.

Know who gets jobs negotiating this way? Executives. So figure out a way to negotiate salary that’s comfortable for you, but know that you’re sought-after and have more worth than what an HR rep has decided you do.

So, while this may sound daunting, when you do get to that interview, don’t consider salary off the table. Put it on there yourself and go after what you want. They want you, and you have certain practical needs to attend to. If you want help broaching the subject, talk to the folks at PrideStaff for quality advice.

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