Know what you're worth! A guide to answering the salary question.

Know what you're worth! A guide to answering the salary question.

We all get to that point in our job search where we get asked about salary. For some, they are ready to negotiate and seal the deal. For others, this is a dreaded question that leads to uncertainty. In a salary negotiation, there is really has no wrong or right answer. It truly is a question of how much you think you are worth. Things to consider in determining your salary would include the geographical location, industry, size of the company, and your expertise and skills.

Have you ever wondered where people get their salary information? There are several sources we can rely on to get this information. Here are four of them that are among the most common and popular places to start your research.

Salary Guides

Yes. Salary guides do exist. Research is always ongoing around the topic of compensation and benefits. With companies specializing in the various ways, benefits and components of compensation, the guides they produce can provide valuable information and insights to answering the question of salary. Most large recruitment companies and human resource organizations will have resources on salary and compensation broken down by geography, industry and experience level. You can use this as a starting point to understand what the market is like. For some you may have to pay, but there are many out there that provide free reports as well.

Colleagues and your network

Salary continues to be a sensitive topic for many people. Many candidates fear asking for too much or too little. One of the best ways to understand where your expectations are, where the market is and what your potential employer would offer is by asking your colleagues or leveraging your network. Find a hand full of colleagues or people in a similar industry and similar sized company and ask for their salary ranges. People are more likely to give you information if it prevents them from being too specific. If you are able to get a real salary range from at least five people doing a similar role, you can learn a lot about the market trends and compensation package possibilities.

Recruiters and HR Professionals

This arguably could have been the first source. It is probably one of the most reliable sources of compensation and benefits information if you are able to utilize it. Talking to a recruiter or a HR professional can provide accurate and current insight as to what the employer or similar employers have been offering to candidates. Like the salary guides, they are pulling information directly from the employer, however, the recruiter and HR professional can provide more specifics and advice on deal breakers for negotiating. If you are able to connect with the recruiter or HR professional handling the role you are applying for, this would be one of the best ways to ensure that you can seal the deal when the negotiation comes as well as determine if your financial requirements will be met.

Job Boards

In recent times, job boards have been providing more information on salary and compensation. As employers become more transparent throughout the hiring process, salary information right on the job ad or on similar job ads can provide immediate information on what they company is expecting to pay for that particular role. You can use this information to help in identifying opportunities that are in line with what you are looking for next.

You never need to dread the salary question if you are prepared. Leveraging salary guides, your colleagues and network, recruiters and HR professionals as well as job boards can provide information to enable you to be more confident and realistic as you proceed to declaring your salary expectations and negotiating the final deal. At the end of the day, you need to ensure that your salary reflects your contributions to the organization and the experiences, skills and expertise you bring. Never leave money on the table, know your worth and get compensated for it.

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