Question: I have been interviewing for a position for which I meet all qualifications. They gave a salary range and asked what my salary expectations are, and I successfully avoided answering. However in my last interview, they asked what I am currently paid, which is below the market rate. How can I negotiate to be paid what I am worth?
Jo Miller answers:
You have done well to delay speaking about salary.
When you get to salary negotiations, ask for the highest salary in their range, and explain, “I believe I am uniquely qualified for the position because…” Then, give three or four brief bullet points explaining why you are highly qualified, and the best match for the position.
If they then offer you less, say, “Hmmm. Is that your best offer?” Then go silent, let them do the talking. If they put the ball back in your court, say, “I believe I am worth top of your range because…” and repeat your previously mentioned bullet points. Then go silent and let them talk.
If they ask what you currently make, continue deflecting their question. A savvy and diplomatic answer is, “I expect that if we decide this is the right match, we will come to a mutual agreement on my salary.” If they persist, explain that among your reasons for leaving your current position is the below-market salary. Remind the employer that you expect your qualifications to be rewarded at a fair-market rate.
Jo Miller is CEO of Women's Leadership Coaching, Inc. Through leadership workshops, coaching programs and webinars, Jo helps women create their roadmap into leadership positions in business.