Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
You just finished your first job interview with your dream company. A few hours later, you get a call from the hiring manager asking you to schedule a second one. You’re stoked!
However, you still don’t know the salary range for the position. How do you know if your salary will meet your needs?
Salaries can be an uncomfortable topic for many American workers. So much so that many Americans don’t negotiate their salary at all. But here’s a secret: getting the salary range from employers before negotiations is possible. Here’s how to do it.
Why You Should Negotiate Your Salary
According to Fidelity Investments, 58% of Americans don’t negotiate their salary.
This means more than half of American workers leave money on the table. Worse yet, they’re unintentionally exacerbating the pay gap, which disproportionately affects women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people of color.
The more we negotiate our salaries, the more it becomes normal, creating an opportunity to close the pay gap and ensure everyone is paid fairly.
Local Laws Regarding Pay Transparency
In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into federal law. In a nutshell, the law requires employers to provide equal pay for equal work.
Some states and cities have taken it one step further, passing legislation requiring companies to post compensation information in their job listings. Some of these states and cities include:
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Jersey City, New Jersey
However, regardless of what state you’re in, pay discrimination is 100% illegal. If you’re a U.S.-based reader and think you’re facing pay discrimination, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Hotline at 1-800-669-4000 to learn your legal rights.
How to Get Salary Ranges From Employers Before Negotiation
Everyone deserves to be fairly compensated for their work. But how do you ensure the salary you’ve negotiated isn’t too low? Here are a few tips to get the salary range from employers before negotiating.
1. Do Your Research
This is your first step before you do anything else. You need to understand your market rate.
Check out sites like Salary.com to understand your market rate based on location, education, and experience. Use the tools and filters to get specific about what a fair salary is for your situation.
For example, if you’re a speech therapist based in San Francisco, California, with five to six years of experience and a master’s degree, the average median salary is $109,803. That salary can vary between $92,000 to $127,000.
However, armed with this research, you’d know that an offer for $80,000 is below the standard market rate, and you can counter the offer effectively.
2. Consider Other Benefits
Your salary should be fair and allow you to live comfortably with some savings. However, it’s important to consider additional benefits. For example, maybe your employer offers a hybrid work arrangement.
Many employers also provide paid time off. Some will even help you pay off your student loans (which means you can use your paycheck for other things).
Consider the value of additional benefits outside of money when evaluating a job offer.
3. Ask for the Salary Range
If you’re advancing to another round of interviews, it’s OK to ask the hiring manager for the salary range. You don’t want to get a job offer with compensation much lower than your salary requirements.
Likewise, a prospective employer doesn’t want to get to the final round of interviews only to find out that they can’t afford you. Although it’s uncomfortable, asking this question can save both of you a lot of time.
4. Know When to Walk Away
If the employer is lowballing the offer and won’t budge on the numbers, ask yourself if you really want to work in a job where you know you’re being underpaid.
Even while negotiating, it’s important not to put all your eggs in one basket. Keep applying and interviewing for other roles. With persistence, you will find a job where you’re paid fairly for your work and experience.
Get Fairly Compensated for Your Work
Discussing salaries with a prospective employer can be uncomfortable. However, negotiating salaries is necessary so you can get paid fairly for your work.
Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask about the salary range, so you can assess whether the job will be a fit for both you and the employer.