Choosing the Right Salary for Your Next Job

At some point in your job search the topic of salary is inevitably going to pop up. Conventional wisdom tells you to save this discussion until after the interview, however, is this really the best move in the long run?


Withholding your current compensation and going through several rounds of interview only to find out that you and your potential suitor were $20,000 apart would be pretty disappointing for all parties involved, wouldn’t you agree?  It’s human nature to be concerned about being the first one to put a number out there in fear that there was more opportunity to increase your pay.  In most cases it’s not necessary for you to disclose your exact compensation in initial discussions with recruiters but at the very least mention your desired salary range. There is always a chance that you will leave money on the table, therefore it is most important to determine what you want and shoot for that number.

When you are ready to begin your next career move, you should take some time to reflect on the reasons why you are changing jobs. Go ahead, list them out. Perhaps you are sick of the commute, hit a dead end for growth in the company, or there is a pending reorg. What would it take for you to accept the next position? Would you take the same salary or even less for the ideal situation?   If you answer is yes, than figure out how much you can live off of and make that your low watermark.  After all, it’s not always about the money, right?

To determine your target number or maybe even your stretch number, you should go online and do some research. Google your job title in your metro area and see what the average offering pay is. Statistics say that the average employee can expect a 5-20% raise in salary when changing jobs, so be realistic about your expectations.  You can check out salary.com to glassdoor.com to get a frame of reference.  I did a quick look up for a Technical Recruiter in Bridgewater, NJ.  Keep in mind that all companies pay differently depending on the company size, location, and competition for talent.

image – cio.com

Now you are ready to begin your search!  Focus on jobs you are qualified for within your ideal commuting distance and salary range.  If the position does not list a salary range, you should call and ask the recruiter if the pay range falls within your target.  It also allows you to get some more information on the position as well as differentiate yourself from those who did not get the chance to speak to a decision maker.  Likewise, when a recruiter calls you and asks you for your salary range, you should be prepared to disclose that range to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Everyone in the hiring process wants the same thing, for you to get the job.  So be transparent and know exactly what your goals are and you will have a more successful job search. Happy hunting!

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