Sticky Salary Situations: A Q&A for Anyone Who Works

March 24, 2022
By Nelson Connects

So, you’ve passed your initial interviews and are now in talks with the hiring manager and HR. Or maybe you’re making the case for increased pay in your current role. It’s finally time to face the big question: “What’s your expected salary?” or “Why do you deserve a raise?”


If you’re fresh off an unsatisfactory job and looking for greener pastures or want to ask for a raise, then it’s on you to know your market value in the current economic landscape. Your answer to the crucial salary question determines your compensation path, whether it be in a new employment opportunity or as you move forward with your existing employer.


According to a 2021 Education and Employment Survey, 47% of respondents said they are underemployed, underpaid, or not fulfilling their potential. While these downsides are unfortunate realities for many workers, they’re not inescapable. But to move the salary needle, there’s one thing you have to know for sure: your worth.


We’re here to help you navigate the following sticky salary situations so you can stand your ground and get the salary you deserve.


“What’s your expected salary?”


Whether you’re applying for a higher-paying position, rejoining the workforce after a sabbatical, or testing the waters in a new industry, you should be prepared to answer the classic salary question.

  1. Know the Market Value
    Understand the demand for the position you’re applying for. With a simple LinkedIn or Google search, you’ll be able to tell how many employers are looking for your skillset. A higher number of open positions means greater demand for your abilities, and the better your chances of securing more money. If few employers are looking for your skills and experience, you won’t have as much leverage when it comes to negotiating salary.

    Regardless, by establishing your knowledge, the hiring manager will be able to tell that you know your stuff. We’ve put together a guide on knowing what you’re worth, so that should help you in this process.

  2. Highlight Your Experience
    Before answering, preface the answer with your previous experience and highlight any disparities in roles and responsibilities. By establishing differences in required skills or know how, you’ll set the tone that you expect higher pay than in your previous jobs.

  3. Aim Reasonably High
    Taking your market value and experience into consideration, always aim higher, knowing that the number you provide will still be up for negotiation. Moreover, this reduces the risk of underselling your skills. Some companies admire when a candidate understands the demands of the role and therefore requests a strong salary. Stating a higher number can also be a way to exhibit confidence and discipline.

“Why do you deserve a raise?”


At times, asking for a raise can seem selfish or unwarranted, but when you’ve worked long enough with a company, you have to see yourself and your contributions in the bigger picture. Only then will you be able to determine whether you’re being compensated enough for what you’ve done thus far. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you worked over a year without getting a pay raise?

  • Have you taken on tasks outside of your scope during a time of need?

  • Are you in the next step of your career path?

If you answered yes to all these questions, then you should definitely consider filing for a raise and remember the following things:


Solidify Your Contributions


Whatever the process is for getting a raise, you should be able to back up your request with substantial evidence of your contributions. Now is the time to toot your horn and recount the achievements and KPIs you’ve hit, despite blockers such as a crisis or lack of support, time, or resources.

When you solidify your contributions, your employer can more easily see your value and importance in the organization.


Share Your Experience


Take your supervisors through your experience of fulfilling your duties. This will ground their notions on your role. The goal is to make decision makers understand that your job requires a lot and that you deliver. It’s imperative they understand there is a disconnect between your output and the pay you’re getting from the company.


Strengthen Your Desire To Do Better


What will it mean when they do give you the raise? By letting the reviewers know that your application for a raise equates to doing even more for the company and putting out better work, you’re rewarding them by rewarding you.


Navigating your way through these sticky situations should empower and encourage you to see the value in the work you do. And by doing so, you help create a workplace culture that you deserve and are proud of.


Whether you’re looking for better opportunities or resources to help in your career, drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you to see how we can help.

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