Web Extra: The Salary Question

Ready for some – gasp – good news? According to Doug Hardy of Monster.com, who was on hand for Friday’s Web Extra, the just-released Monster Employment Index [pdf] figures for April show that there’s actually an uptick in online job activity. The sectors experiencing hiring range from hospitality to entertainment to even financial operations, according to Hardy.

If you’re on of the millions of Americans on the job hunt, and in the process of interviewing, chances are at some point you will engage in the potentially awkward conversation about salary with a potential employer.

When a job application asks for a salary requirement, Hardy says, put down a range that you can live with. He recommends a 20 percent range at least, so if your target salary is $60,000, give a range of $55,000 to $65,000. Then – and this is important – make sure to add the comment that you look at the whole opportunity including compensation, benefits, opportunity for growth and the right fit with company values like teamwork and integrity. Remember: companies have budgets just like you.

Always bring the salary conversation back to a discussion about the job as a whole, Hardy says. Never make the salary aspect a dealbreaker – especially in this environment. Consider the mere fact of getting that far in the interview process these days a bonus unto itself.