Know Your Worth. What Salary to Ask For at the Job Interview?
All work must be compensated. This fact is true for most of us. The only question is: does the payment seem decent? Clearly, many initial factors influence the end result, e.g. the applicant’s experience, self-evaluation objectivity, the number of employers interested in the particular applicant’s competencies, average wage on the market, etc.
Still, despite the obvious importance of adequate wages, surprisingly many candidates often feel uncomfortable during the discussion of this issue at the job interview. So, what salary should you ask for at a meeting with a potential employer? When and how can you talk about it?
What would be an appropriate amount?
Usually, when browsing the job offers, we come across vacancies with a certain wage level that employers are ready to offer or the vacancies that omit this information at all. Thus, in case of the first option, you can immediately understand whether the specified salary would be good enough for you, and consequently, whether it’s worth sending a CV. In the second case, you must compare your salary at the previous place of employment (especially if it was the main reason for leaving the job) with current average salaries for similar positions on the market. Add 10-20% on top of that (to be ready to “bargain” with a potential employer) and after demonstrating the professional competence during the conversation, confidently say the desired figure.
If you are a “young” specialist with zero to little experience, you should not refrain from a low initial wage. You can ask for a minimum wage, discussing a possibility of its further increase after the trial period. Remember, first you work for your service record, then it works for you.
If you are a top-level expert, the employers are headhunting you themselves and there is much more wiggle room. Basically, here you can dictate your own rules when it comes to paycheck.
When is the best moment to address a compensation issue?
As a rule, experienced recruiters follow a well-functioning plan. They are usually the first ones to talk about wages. If the job interview is coming to an end but you haven’t approached the matter of salary, bonuses or other incentives (health insurance, cell service reimbursement, free lunches, etc.), this can be a clear sign that the company is not interested, or that an HR manager is tired/incompetent. In such case, take the lead and raise the issue of wage. But don’t forget that it’s appropriate to discuss salary only at the end of the job interview when the negotiations are almost over and both parties have learned all necessary information about each other.
How to discuss your future wage?
If you’re the one to initiate the money talk, do it in the most appropriate way possible, use general phrases like “What salary level is set by the company’s budget for this position?”, “Is there a possibility of wage increase after the trial period?”, “Is there a bonus system available?”. Avoid personalized and informal questions, such as: “How much will I earn?”, “How much do you pay?”, “What extra perks will I get?”.
In case the initiative comes from the recruiter, answer the question about salary confidently, but give proper arguments. Don’t underestimate or overestimate your expectations too much, so as not to regret about the low pay later or not to get a rejection at all.
Objectivity, rationality and adequacy should be at the core of your approach to determining the desired pay. That way, a positive result of the job interview will be guaranteed!