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Making salary demands known upfront

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Q. A week ago, I was interviewed for a job I really want. It went well, but I haven’t heard anything. I think I blew it when the interviewer asked, “What would it take for you to be happy here?” and I said, “I make $40,000 now, and I want $45,000.” Was that a bad move?

A. No, but there’s a better way. Dig for information before you talk money. Ask the interviewer for salary ranges for a position similar to the one you’re seeking. Also drop a hint early in the interview such as “I make $40,000 now, and I’d like to take a big step forward in my next job.” Gauge the interviewer’s reaction to that statement. And if the interviewer says, “We’ll discuss that later,” don’t bring it up again right away. By making your needs clear, you’ve made it easier for the interviewer to decide how much to offer.

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