by Jack Chapman
Oops, you already told the employer what you're making or expect to be making. Now what?
All is not lost! Just because they know your current salary or salary expectations doesn't mean you can't negotiate for a fair market value.
Once you've broken the sound barrier, so to speak, on your salary, you at least have one advantage: no more tug-o-war between you and your potential employer about revealing salary.
If salary bumped you out of interviewing, it will be hard to gain reentry at all, and even if you do, it might be at the price of an informal pre-interview agreement that if chosen, you'll consider a pay cut.
If you're still in the running, however, your "disclosed" circumstances make it doubly important to do your research well. In this case, you don't need to address salary again until there's an offer. At that point use researched facts, not your past salary, to substantiate your salary request.
When they've decided on YOU, that is, when they're making you the offer, not your competitor(s), then it's time to make the move away from the number you disclosed to your ideal compensation. Don't let your past salary be the starting point for negotiations. Let your own satisfaction and joy of receiving great pay be the motivating force behind you at this point.
Remember that what you negotiate now is what you'll live with for a long time. A minute or two here can engender months and months of satisfaction -- or the opposite if you miss this opportunity. Let's assume they've made an offer. What do you say?
Respond with: "I know I've discussed my [current] salary/salary expectations. I want to make sure from this point forward that we're looking for a compensation package that is not just a 'raise' from my previous job, but rather a motivating, fair, value-based salary we will both be satisfied with. Can we agree on that principle?"
Once you have your agreement on that, then follow the rest of the salary negotiation rules.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
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