Bargaining for the right pay

By Vision Reporter

YOU might prepare well for that interview, but one question might make or break your chances of getting that dream job. The question is: “How much money do you expect the organisation to pay you?”

By Arthur Baguma

YOU might prepare well for that interview, but one question might make or break your chances of getting that dream job. The question is: “How much money do you expect the organisation to pay you?”

How one handles this question during a job interview will determine whether they get the job or not and whether they will get the right bargain.

Francis Peter Ojede, the head of the Human Resource Department at the Electoral Commission, says in the past, many times the answer to that question would go like, “I will take whatever your organisation is offering because you have your policies, which state what one should be paid depending on the salary scale.”

But he warns against this because the market values vary especially for the senior positions. Ojede says many organisations leave the salary range open. They want people to state a range they are comfortable with. But the interviewee has to handle this cautiously.

The problem with saying “I’m looking for a salary of between sh300,000 and sh400,000” is that while you might be thinking that you’re showing flexibility by stating a wide range, you could be ‘low-balling’ the salary you end up getting offered.

While you might be thinking that you would like the higher end of this salary range (i.e. sh380,000), the hiring manager might be thinking you would be happy with sh300,000 since you stated that sh300,000 was in your acceptable range.

Some people put their figure so high. Even then, the organisation depending on the quality of the candidate, will restructure the salary to get that candidate.

However, there are some guidelines to answering this question.

Depend on surveys.

Several institutions carry out monthly surveys about salary structures in different organisations.

Ojede advises people to find out different categories and how much is paid in each category.

If a person is working with a recruiter, you can let them know what salary you’re looking for since they need to know what range is acceptable to avoid wasting time with jobs that don’t match one’s requirements.

This eases the pressure on candidates before they go for interviews. A person should go for an interview knowing the salary range the company is offering. This ensures that you don’t price yourself out of range and ‘low-ball’ yourself.

Let the employer bring up the issue of money first
Some people decide to consolidate on the salary and say the gross amount they want to pay you. While this might be okay, at a senior level, it is better to negotiate for benefits like a car, house and security.

This offers a better deal. Ojede advises that you should let the interviewer be the first to discuss the issue of money (i.e. “How much money are you looking for?”).

Employers generally don’t want money-motivated staff since people can easily switch jobs if they are promised more money elsewhere.

Don’t state a salary you won’t be happy accepting
If you tell a hiring manager you would be happy with sh300,000, do not expect to be able to go back to them later during the interview and ask for sh350,000.

It can be difficult to get a higher salary agreed on once you’ve verbally mentioned a lower one. While you don’t want to evade the question if you’re asked “how much money are you looking for” during a job interview, you also don’t want to ruin your chances at getting a better figure by making a mistake handling the salary question.

The longer you can delay the issue of money during the interview, the better.

Bargaining for the right pay