Job interview etiquette: discussing compensation

My BIL is going for an interview for a big job and wanted me to find out something:

What is the proper way to discuss compensation with the interviewer?

Sometimes, the interviewer isn’t the “hirer”. If that’s the case, the question of pay won’t be brought up. An interview is just a meeting between a prospective employer’s agent and a prospective new-hire.

If the interviewer is doing the hiring, however, and the job is offered on the spot, then s/he should offer a rate or salary for the prospective new-hire’s consideration.

Either way, the subject of compensation is usually offered, rather than asked for. If your BIL is asked, “How much do you want us to pay you?”, then he should just name his price, because that sounds like they need him more than he needs them

Don’t mention it until they do. And never mention it before you’re actually offered the position. Once offered a job, you’re then in a position to accept or decline depending on the renumeration offered - and hopefully also in a position to negotiate.

There are two rules of thumb when it comes to talking compensation with the potential employer. One is to never bring up the topic of pay and two is to never give a definitive answer when asked “What are your salary requirements”. Sometimes the latter is hard to dodge but do your best. You could say things like, “You would know best what my contribution to your company would be worth.” or “I’m sure your pay structure is fair”. The objective in any interview should always be to get the job offer. Compensation negotiations follow when the employer has already determined that you can add value to his company. Once he or she decides that is the case, normally the salary they offer is more than you would have asked for. (Assuming they knew your prior earnings). The final thing to remember here is that no matter how attractive the initial offer is, ask for time to “consider” it. Give yourself some space to think about how well the salary offer and the position really fit your personal needs.

What Gorilla Man said. The job search process is a 2-step process- first convincing them to offer you the job, second deciding if you want it. Discussions of salary and benefits should only be part of the second stage.

I just interviewed at a company where the development manager seems to be in a large hurry to hire people. On the phone interview, he wouldn’t let me skate the question - he made it clear that he was on a budget and wasn’t going to waste his time or mine if he couldn’t afford me.

So I highballed him a little on my salary, and he went for it. :wink:

Everybody’s advice seems sound, but sometimes it doesn’t work. I’d never seen this before.

The ususal advice is to have them make the first offer. I say screw that. Why approach a job interview like you are a begger seeking a handout at their descrecian? You think they are going to come with an offer 20% above the mean? They will place you in a band based on your experience and skills.

If you are a competent professional, you should have a good idea of what you are worth. When they ask, say “based on my level and experience, I am seeking $x salary.” or “I am currently entertaining offers in the neighborhood of $x but I wanted to speak with you guys because blah blah kiss butt kiss butt”. Why waste time going back and forth on multiple interviews only to find out the position pays a third of what you would accept?

If they seem desperate, reject they first offer out of hand. If you have been unemployed for 6 months and have no other prospects, you might want to take what you can get. If you are really a bastard, accept the offer and a few days before you start, say “I received an offer for %20 more…”
Remember…the person who wins the negotiation is the one who cares the least.

I worked for a large Fortune 500 company for about 10 years and interviewed many job applicants. The interview process was generally divided into two parts.

First was a series of interviews conducted by the people who would actually be supervisor and coworkers. This generally involved a half dozen people and would last most of the day. The goal was to figure out if the applicant was a good fit for the position, both technically and from a personality point of view. Questions about compensation were rarely raised during this part of the process, but I wouldn’t have been put off by such a question. It’s a legitimate part of figuring out if you’re right for the job.

Second was a meeting with a human resources person to talk about things like pay and benefits. It would be perfectly acceptable to talk about compensation with the HR representative, who could only talk in general terms. For example, the HR person might say that the position is for a grade 6 engineer and the pay range for a grade 6 is $XX to $YY dollars per year, includes medical benefits bonuses, etc. A specific salary would never be mentioned until we made a formal offer.