Much like admitting to your boyfriend/girlfriend that yes, they have put on weight, discussing salary in your interview can sometimes be a rather uncomfortable process. On the plus side, you are far less likely to have plates/shoes/rabbits/hair straighteners/your Nan’s wooden leg thrown at your head in the latter situation (unless you interview with one of our competitors, Guffaw!) and really, salary discussions are a natural part of the process, so there’s no need to be nervous. However (yes, there’s always a catch, isn’t there?) there are a few points that will be handy to bear in mind if you want to avoid a faux pas and taking a rodent to the head:
- For the love of God, don’t ask the salary for a role before your recruiter’s even had time to say hello, particularly on the phone. At the end of the day, we go to work to earn a living, but your job should also be something that interests and excites you. If a company is looking to hire, they want people who will be genuinely passionate about their growth and success, people who will roll up their sleeves and contribute. Not someone who is solely interested in earning a green back and hates their time there in the process. So, have a little patience and find out what the role is all about before you head to the bank.
- Read the advertisement carefully. At least half of the ads out there will specify what the salary range is for a role, and good old Seek even has a handy salary search tool built in. Decide what your absolute minimum is, taking into account potential for growth, career satisfaction etc, and stick to it. If you need $80k to sustain your mortgage and lifestyle, don’t apply for roles that are paying $40k because, well…..that’s silly.
- Be realistic. Money makes the world round, at least according to mad old Liza, but do try to keep an element of realism to your salary expectations. If you are currently earning $40k and that is the average for your industry, but you are only applying for $60k roles, you will be missing out of a massive slice in the job market. If in doubt as to what is a good level for you, ask your recruiter. We deal with people’s salaries day in and day out, and have a pretty good (OK, an amazing) idea as to what would be a fair range. It’s natural to want to go up a bit, but if you do make sure that you are still marketable with that salary. We want you to be getting the most that you can be, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
- To drop or not to drop, that is the question. This is a tricky one, as it depends very much on the position and company in question, so when is it a good idea to take a salary cut for the hope of career progression? I’m going to cheat and refer you to another great article in our archives Give a little to gain a lot for more in depth advice on this subject.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth. Don’t feel pressured to accept a salary that you know to be significantly lower than what you could be earning, but do ascertain if this is the case in the earlier stages of your interview, and not when you get to the client interview stage. Your recruiter will always ask you during your interview what your salary expectations are, so be upfront, realistic and fair to yourself.
At the end of the day, a good old pinch of common sense and humility will always see you through when entering salary negotiations, just make sure that you are seeing the situation from both sides of the fence, and not just your own.