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Posted By Ciara Hennigan

Navigating Salary Discussions in an Interview

19 Jun 2024

Discussing salary in an interview can be one of the most challenging aspects of the hiring process. In our recent poll, 40% of participants highlighted this as their biggest interview hurdle. The following strategies will help you approach this conversation with confidence and professionalism. Here are our top tips:

1. Do Your Research

Before entering any salary discussion, ensure you are well-informed about the market rates for the position you're applying for. Publicly published salary surveys are often inflated so be careful where you source your information. Your peers are another source, but although they are well-meaning, it’s human nature to want to project a more successful image. A trusted recruiter can guide this conversation due to their market knowledge.

2. Know Your Worth

Assess your own qualifications, experience, and the unique value you bring to the table. Be prepared to justify your desired salary with concrete examples of your achievements and the skills you possess that are particularly relevant to the role.

3. Timing is Key

Wait for the interviewer to bring up the topic of salary. If asked about your salary expectations early in the process, it is fair to deflect slightly by mentioning that you are more interested in finding the right fit and are open to discussing compensation once you have a better understanding of the role. Depending on what interview stage it may be too early to justifiably give a concrete figure.

4. Provide a Range, Not a Specific Number

When asked about your salary expectations, it’s often beneficial to provide a range rather than a specific figure. This shows flexibility and opens the door for negotiation. Ensure the lower end of your range is still a number you are comfortable with.

5. Consider the Whole Compensation Package

Salary is just one part of the compensation package. Be sure to consider other benefits such as bonuses, health insurance, pension, annual leave, and professional development opportunities. Sometimes, a lower salary can be offset by a strong benefits package. It depends on which aspect is most important to you.

6. Be Honest About Your Current Salary

If asked about your current salary, be honest. Misleading your potential employer can backfire. If you feel your current salary doesn’t reflect your market value, you can explain this and focus on why you believe the role you are applying for warrants a higher compensation.

7. Be Confident but Professional

Confidence is key during salary discussions. Clearly and professionally state your expectations, and be ready to back up your request with your research and personal achievements. Avoid being confrontational; a collaborative approach usually yields better results.

8. Prepare for Negotiation

Understand that salary discussions are often a negotiation. Be prepared to discuss and possibly compromise. Know your bottom line—the minimum salary you are willing to accept—and be ready to walk away if the offer doesn’t meet your needs.


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