I often get asked of the right time to discuss salary during the interview process.
As a recruiter, I make it a priority to cover this during my very first discussion with a candidate and it’s something we refer back to throughout the recruitment process.
It's my job to ensure my candidate gets paid a fair and reasonable salary package and one that is in line with their expectations and my client’s budget (see my blog on What are you worth? if you are unsure what to be asking for).
However, if you have applied for a role directly and have been called into an interview, when's the best time to discuss salary and related benefits?
A client recently told me a story about an interview they conducted with a candidate who came across well during the interview and answered their questions professionally.
It certainly looked like my client had found an excellent candidate until the end of the interview when my client asked them if they had any questions. Their first question was "What is the package on offer?"
There is nothing wrong with wanting to know this information but in this case, timing is everything.
This particular candidate lost this opportunity because they came across to the client, who was yet to make a decision about this candidate, as financially motivated and less-than-interested in the company, the role and their team.
Here are a few tips which will help you at that next interview:
- During most interviews the interviewer will ask you what your salary expectations are, be prepared to give a range that you would be comfortable with. Under no circumstances say that salary isn’t important. It is. Give them an answer that accurately reflects your position.
- Do your homework – review the advert, research the position, the company and the location. Call contacts or even speak with a recruiter that you are comfortable talking with to get an idea of what they might pay so that you pitch within the range that the company is likely to offer.
- Remember that it is perfectly reasonable to reverse that question when asked by asking how much they are willing to pay for the best candidate. Then you will have a starting point in your negotiations.
- You may be asked what your current or past salary package was so remember to include company car, super, salary sacrificing options, bonuses, etc. It’s smart to be clear in advance what the total value of your current, or recent remuneration package is. Humming and hawing when asked this question makes you look unprepared and less professional.
- Never say that you are earning more than you are. This can, and most likely will, be checked!
When considering a salary offer, keep in mind that there may be other benefits included such as additional leave, flexible working hours, training grants or a higher super contribution. Take all this into consideration when deciding to whether to accept or decline an offer.
Many national recruitment companies will have annual salary surveys that you can access for free online or on sites like Glassdoor, which will give you a good indication of what current market rates are for that particular role.
Feel free to contact Elite Executive if you need any guidance in this area.