The tough questions: Talking about salary in an interview

Talking about money is often one of the most nerve-wracking parts of a job interview. Regardless of the industry you in, pay is bound to come up eventually, and it’s vital that you answer tactfully and find the balance between making a good impression and getting what you want. Too high and you could miss out on an offer, too low and you may undermine your potential earnings.

So when the interviewer asks about your salary expectations, don’t let it catch you off-guard. Here are four tips to answering the tough question.

Convince the employer of your value first, and you will have the upper hand when negotiating a salary.

1. Sell yourself first

You would never talk about the price of a product before you even knew what it was. The same goes for your potential employer. Rather than discussing salary right at the beginning, try to put off this topic until you have already convinced the interviewer of your worth to the company. This way, when it comes to talking about pay, the employer is likely to be much more open to paying reasonably for a candidate they already believe is right for the organisation.

2. Scope out the market

Rather than just taking a guess at how much you think you should be paid, make sure you do your research beforehand to ensure you are well-informed about what other professionals with your experience are receiving. This will allow you to provide the interviewer with a fair salary range, and you will be supported by your research.

Do your research before hand to judge what is reasonable in your market.Do your research beforehand to judge what is reasonable in your market.

3. Put the ball back in their court

Salary expectations can be a tricky topic, so it may pay for you to turn the tables. Let the interviewer take the lead instead. Try asking them what their budget is for the position, as this will give you a better idea of what you should expect. From there you will be able to establish whether your expectations align, and make your decision accordingly.

4. Consider a package

Finally, don’t forget that payment can come in a variety of forms, not just money, so decide what kind of compensation you most value and whether you are willing to consider a package. For example, you could take a slightly lower salary in exchange for the use of a company car. By doing this, you are more likely to settle on a rate that both you and your employer are satisfied with.

So next time you are faced with a salary question, answer strategically and you may increase your chances of finding the job you want.