Ask a Real Recruiter: Should I Use a Salary Calculator to Negotiate a Job Offer?

CEO & Founder Jessica Vann's Latest Column on The Muse
Practical Salary Negotiation Tips During an Interview!

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My latest ‘Ask a Real Recruiter’ Column on The Muse answered one piece of the very tough question – ‘How do I talk about salary in the interview process?’ ‘Still Figuring Out My Worth’ asked specifically if mentioning salary data aggregators in a salary negotiation is useful. Quick answer, no. You can find my whole response HERE, which also starts a bigger discussion around really determining your worth and what you actually need and want from a job, salary being one part of that larger picture.

What I want to add to the ‘Ask A Recruiter’ column by writing this post is a quick tip for interviewers to help navigate the salary discussion, because really it is an ongoing discussion. The salary answer isn’t always black and white, and it can change over the course of an interview. (Again, read the whole column for the ‘big picture.’)

So my advice is to keep salary a discussion during the interview process. Remember: anchors are for boats, not salary negotiations. If and when the salary question is sprung on you, there are ways to answer it that suggest flexibility and won’t anchor you to an exact number. Try the following:

1.      “I really appreciate your question, and would first love to learn more about the role and how I’ll be able to contribute before we go down that path.”

2.      “Ideally, I’m looking for something in the range of “x” to “x”, but also recognize there’s a total package to consider and would be interested to know what that looks like.”

I think we can all agree: how to talk about salary during an interview process and offer negotiation is a big, hot-button topic, especially given that the salary talk is also about to change dramatically in California with the enaction of AB 168, which basically states prospective employers cannot ask candidates or employees about past salaries, period. We’ve been monitoring this for a while and strategizing on how this will impact the conversations we have every day at Maven, but that is a specific topic for another blog on its own.

 - Jessica Vann