Salary negotiations suck, but, they are an essential part of the job interview process you need to take seriously. Here are the 5 best salary websites.
The truth is that nobody likes to go through a salary negotiation. It’s always uncomfortable to discuss money with potential employers, but to ensure your financial future you need to make sure that the salary you’re being offered is what you deserve.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should start negotiating your dream salary (as unrealistic as it may be) at your next job interview. It’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve as a job seeker and what you can realistically ask for is to be paid the industry standard. To find out what the industry standard is you’ll need to do some research and some digging. If you know someone who already works in the company you’re interviewing with, you can ask them what the company generally pays, but if you don’t happen to know anyone who works there don’t worry because we’ve searched high and low to find the best salary websites for you.
Before looking at the best salary websites, though, it’s essential for you to understand why you should be ready for a salary negotiation at your next job interview.
Why Salary Negotiation Is a Good Idea
Most people would agree that salary negotiation is an uncomfortable area. As a jobseeker, you want to use your job interview to impress the recruiter or hiring manager. You need to be willing to talk about your skills and qualifications as these things are what can distinguish you from the competition, but most job seekers feel uncomfortable talking about money. However, you should start seeing the salary negotiation for what it is: a business transaction.
If they decide to hire you, you’ll be offering your skills and hard work to the company and they, in turn, will need to compensate you for the time and work spent at the company. Therefore, it’s only fair if the salary you’ll receive will balance out with the expertise you’ll be providing. If the company you’re interviewing with is offering to pay you less than what you deserve it only makes sense that you start negotiating your salary; just as they expect you to do your best at work, you should expect the company to compensate you accordingly.
A salary negotiation offers you a unique opportunity to increase your salary, if you accept the job offer although the pay is lower than the industry standard then there will be nothing you can do about it until it’s time for an employee evaluation and that could well be over a year. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be greedy, but if you weren't offered the industry standard when you were offered the job, then a salary negotiation will help you get your monies worth.
When Should You Enter a Salary Negotiation?
Often, if a job interview is going well then, the recruiter will offer you a job. If you’re attentive enough, you’ll notice that, provided the interview is going well, the hiring manager keeps dropping salary hints.
Most recruiters will ask what your salary was at your last job. Be prepared for this question as it’s one of the questions that can throw you off your feet no matter how confident you are. Keep in mind that you’re under no obligation to answer this question and if the hiring manager is persistent about it, then you should add that to your con list when deciding if you should accept the job offer.
If you were underpaid at your previous job, then at your next job you can drop a hint and say that ‘it’s important for you to feel that you’re valued for the dedication you show to the company and that it has not always been the case compensation-wise’. Or you can say that ‘the circumstances of your last job were completely different; therefore the salary you received in your last job is irrelevant’. The trick here is to throw the curve ball back at them and ask them what they’re offering. Don’t be blatant about it, but if they’ve started talking money, it means that they’re interested in hiring you and that it’s your chance to enter a salary negotiation.
How to Negotiate a Salary
Although it would be ideal if all jobs were willing to pay us what we wanted, that is rarely the case. Most hiring managers wouldn’t even offer you the industry standard if it were up to them, so it’s your job, as a self-respecting adult to demand more for yourself.
Of course, as it’s always the case with job interviews, you’ll want to be classy and careful when asking for more money. You need to keep your cool at all times, and you shouldn’t allow your face to betray your disappointment when you see what they’re offering. Practice at home so that you can have your poker face on and if you see a salary, you disagree with tell them that you don’t think they understand the value you will be adding to the company.
Offer to go through why you’d be the best candidate for the job and how the company can benefit from your presence. If you have any ideas on how to improve the quality of the company’s work, for example, if you have an idea for a marketing strategy (if you’re applying for a marketing job) then this is the time to stress how profitable it would be for the company to have you on board.
It’s also important to keep in mind that you shouldn't try to negotiate a salary just for the sake of it. It needs to be justified so make sure that asking for more money makes sense before asking for it. Most employers set salaries on the based on how they’re paying their current employees for similar roles and on what they believe their competitors are paying for similar roles.
This is why it’s important all jobseekers conduct thorough research before going to a job interview. Luckily there are five great salary websites to help you with this task. Using these salary websites will help you understand if you should enter a salary negotiation (if they’re offering what you were expecting, there really isn’t a reason to ask for more) and they can also help you be more prepared to answer questions such as ‘What is your base salary’ (a question which you should answer after finding out what the industry standard is to show that you’re realistic).
Salary.com is one of the oldest sources of salary information online. And although this doesn’t matter as you won’t be interested in old data, it is important because it proves how reliable Salary.com is. What is unique about Salary.com is that it does not get its data from its users; it actually gets its data from surveys conducted by Human Resources staff. This means that the information provided by the site is extremely credible and that you can rely on the site to find out the compensation info you need for the company you’re about to interview for.
The site’s Salary Wizard is simple to use, and it can be used in two ways. You can either search for the job title you want and the city you’re interested in working and get salary information on similar positions, or for a fee ranging between $29.95 and $79.95 you can get a full report on the salary you should expect. You can include your education level, your experience level and lots of other professional information about yourself and get a focused result that can help you lead a successful salary negotiation.
Similar to Salary.com, Payscale.com is one of the best salary websites out there, and you definitely want to check it out before going to a job interview. Payscale offers access to more free data so you can get a lot more information for a lot less. But, unlike Salary.com, Payscale.com uses data provided its users. Payscale offers access to its database in exchange for information. It claims to offer data from over 5.2 million users, so although at first, it may not seem as credible as other sites that get their data straight from Human Resource managers, the sheer amount of the data available makes it extremely credible.
You can use Payscale to get a full sense of your value, which is information that is valuable to any job seeker out there. You can include your experience level, as well as your education level and find out what someone your age, doing the job that you’re targeting, should expect to earn in your city. What’s especially cool about Payscale is that it uses focused questions to determine the size of your potential employer’s company to provide a more realistic salary.
One of the most popular salary websites is Glassdoor.com. A California based company, Glassdoor often claims that it’s the Trip Advisor of career sources. Just like Trip Advisor, Glassdoor offers data collected from users. It offers snapshots of information, such as basic information about a company, including compensation and benefits, for free. If you’re interested in more information, you are required to fill out a questionnaire about a recent or current position you've held in a company, including salary etc.
What you should know about Glassdoor is that it does not perform any independent background check for the data provided by its users, but just like Payscale the sheer amount of data collected by the site makes up for that. Glassdoor claims to offer information on 16,000 companies using data provided by its 2.5 million users. Glassdoor is more than just a straightforward, easy to navigate, user-provided-data site, as it also offers user written reviews about different workplaces and it even offers information on what to expect when interviewing for a particular company.
Vault.com is another highly credible salary website that you should make the most of before a job interview. The New York site has a 14 years of experience in providing job seekers with salary information so if you’re looking for one of the best salary websites you needn’t look further. Unlike Glassdoor and Payscale, Vault does not take its data from its users. Instead, the data comes from surveys filled out by employees that are administered by Human Resource managers. This makes the site more reliable as you don’t risk finding data provided by an angry employee. Of course, the site is not free, but it only costs $15 to get a month’s access, while lots of colleges, including the Harvard business school provide free access to their students.
Vault calls itself ‘an online career intelligent resource’ and it’s not only one of the best salary websites, it also offers various job listings, as well as advice on resume writing.
Though not a salary website as such, LinkedIn is still a valuable resource that you can use as a job seeker when preparing for your job interview. LinkedIn not only allows you to find out information about the company you’re interviewing with, such as the size of the company or the name of the director etc, you can also use it as a valuable tool for salary negotiation.
Jim Hopkins, author of Salary Tutor, suggests that before going to a job interview you create a customized salary negotiation document using LiknedIn. This document can include information like who works at the company, what their education background and level of experience is and you can use this information to demonstrate the value you’ll be adding to the company. If, for example, there are high level employees in the company that do not have your experience and your educational background you can point out how you, with your qualifications, would be able to help the company push forward.
As a job seeker, it’s your responsibility to go into a job interview fully prepared, and this includes being able to negotiate your salary successfully. These five great salary websites will help you gain valuable insight that will make you a better negotiator.
Let us know if you’ve ever tried to negotiate a salary and how it went in the comment section below.