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by Vault Careers | March 10, 2009


Dear Cynthia:

I recently applied for a job and it just so happened that the hiring manager is someone I worked with a few years back at another company.Because he familiar with my work ethic, he almost assured me that I would get the position. In my initial information I mentioned that mysalary range was between $60,000 to $70,000 annually (which I know u should never do, but I learned this after I had shared the information).I was later offered the position but at a yearly salary of $57K. I feel conflicted because I know this person and we were friends in the past. Iknow I need to look out for my career's best interest, and I am trying to think of the best way to express my concerns about this offer. Can youhelp me with this decision?

C. White Austin, Texas

Dear Reader:

Allow me to share pointers on how to develop a scalable system that will assist you in weighingyour dilemma. I saw several interview faux pas:

Sharing your salary information at the wrong time during an interview can be lethal injection into your negotiating power. Many times employers or agency recruiters will push to obtain this information up front. This allows them to weed out your candidacy in the first round. If your current salary or expected salary is too high (higher than their budgeted range allows) then you are considered too expensive. If your current salary or expected salary range is too low (lower than industry standards or employer's pre-budgeted range) then you are not as valued or they ponder why you have been undervalued throughout your career history.

The "who do you know" or "networking" theories of employment and career advancement are sometimes very beneficial during a job search, however sometimes it can be counterproductive. An employer's or hiring authority's priority is to find the best and the brightest, quickly and at a low cost to the company. Peers, associates and friends are great to network with and sometimes can give you the little push you need to open the previously closed door to employment opportunities. However, as a job seeker you must always focus on your core business, which is you, and be wary of entering into any new ventures with friends or peers without understanding what you have to offer outside of friendship. Your past relationship is in the past and your future should rely solely on your skills, capabilities and the benefits you bring to the company. Your associate will understand if you negotiate for a better opportunity, higher salary or advanced training. Your friend will not respect your decision to join the company by depreciating your market value.