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How to negotiate salary at interview stage.

Category: General Interview tips Career Advice 

This is a particularly tricky subject. The issue of how to approach this subject can be quite sticky, even after you’ve started a new role. However, it comes up frequently, but often people aren’t sure what the best way is to tackle negotiating salary.

Hopefully, before you even applied for the job role, you had an idea of the salary and it was one of the deciding factors for you applying. After going through the interview process you’ve realised that the role has more responsibility, which gets you thinking whether it’s worth the supposed salary.  Sometimes a job can be advertised with a salary range, meaning that the company can choose what they’d like to offer based on individuals.

Obviously, when it comes to this stage, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot and scupper any chances you had of getting the job, but you also equally don’t want to let the process proceed if the salary will never meet your expectations. It can be a very difficult task when it comes to balancing the salary and your expectations. So here are some tips to help you negotiate your salary at interview stage.

-          Do your research.

By this point, you should have done at least some research about the company before you go in for an interview. At this stage, you can also do some research on the salary ranges being paid for similar roles in your area, but also to the ones you’ve already applied for. Some ideas where you could look is job boards or talk to one of our recruiters. Recruiters have loads of experience placing people into roles which may be like yours, so having a brief discussion with us about your experience and we'll advise what salary we believe you deserve.

When you go to an interview, make sure you have a salary figure in mind, the actual question of wage may never come up, but if it does you’ll be prepared. It is also worth having a think about what non-monetary rewards may benefit you; such as flexible working, more holiday, a gym membership, pension contribution etc. When thinking about benefits do keep in mind why you want to leave your current position, is it due to a long commute? Working hours? Or even just purely down to money? REMEMBER the reason why you’re looking to leave and think about how much it's worth to you in the new role.

-          Timing is key.

When bringing up a salary in an interview timing is key! Too early and you look like you only want to change your role for the money, too late and you may have missed your chance. However, don’t charge into an interview and bring up your salary expectation straight away, it often tends to come up organically as part of a wider discussion anyway, especially if you make it through to a second stage interview. Usually, an interviewer will ask ‘what salary are you looking for?’, and the way you answer this question depends on how strongly a salary is a driver for you and why you are partially interested in the job. If the salary is important, and you would only change jobs for a higher salary, it is worth letting them know the figure range you’d accept.

Even if salary isn’t a driving factor, and you're asked this question, it is still worth putting a range forward to show that you know the market rate, but do also remember that they are likely to see your minimum as their maximum so try not to undersell yourself!

If you aren’t asked this question in your first interview, it is always worth waiting for a second interview. When you are being seriously considered for the role, salary is likely to be a subject of discussion, even if it doesn’t get asked during your interview, it is then the perfect opportunity to bring it up yourself around a wider conversation about benefits.

-          Why do you deserve a higher salary?

If you are asking for more money than the job is offering or than the going ‘market’ rate, there must be a good business reason why. The key point here is that there must be a BUSINESS reason – just moved to a new house or taken on a bigger mortgage or even having a child may be the real reason why you are looking for a higher salary, however they aren’t a valid reason why a company would choose to pay you more.

It is also worth asking about when do internal salary reviews happen, if you are still keen on the role, but they can’t meet your expectations, it’s always worth asking whether you can build in a salary review after a probationary period.

-          How to ask.

If it doesn’t come up organically we suggest approaching the question of salary carefully, you can ask about salary as and when you are asked if you have any further questions, as it’s usually the best time to widen the discussion about benefits.

Always be open and clear about what you are looking for and ensure that there is a solid business reason why you think you’ll be worth the extra costing to the business. It is also worth mentioning about when the internal salary reviews happen as if you are still keen on the role, but they can’t meet your salary expectation, it’s always worth an ask about whether they could build it up in a salary review after your probationary period has ended.

-          If it doesn’t go the way you wanted.

If the salary offer still isn’t as expected, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all is lost. Think about the other reasons why you were applying, unless it was just purely for the wage, is there any other reasons to outweigh the salary? Don’t forget about other benefits, such as holidays, Flexi working times and other benefits. These are all up for negotiation now.

However, if the overall job role and package still doesn’t meet your expectations, don’t feel pressured into taking the role, no matter how far through the process you are. It is very important that you're starting a job where you’ll be happy, confident and not already looking to potentially move on.