‘I have an interview next week, can I ask about the salary?’

Posted May 15, 2013, by Jo Messer

‘I have an interview next week, can I ask about the salary?’

Tom, 27, security officer

Discussing salary in an interview is tricky. If you’re considering broaching the topic at your interview, my advice is: DON’T! The best time to talk about salary is when you are offered the position.

If there is no information about salary provided in the ad or in the position description, it’s OK to call the employer to find out. I would actually do this before applying for the job, so you can make sure it’s in line with your expectations. When you make the phone call, emphasise that you are interested in the position but wanted to get an idea of the salary range to ensure the role is at the right level for you.

At the interview your potential employer may ask about your salary expectations, so you need to be prepared. If pressed to answer, you could say saying something like, ‘I’m flexible but would expect a salary that’s reflective of the industry, my experience and skills’. If they try and pin you to an amount never give an exact figure, but instead provide a salary range.

In order to provide an appropriate range, you need to do your research by looking at similar positions and the salaries being offered. Websites such as the My Career Salary Centre can give you a good idea of the pay range for the type of job you’re applying for. You’ll then be able to demonstrate that you have an understanding of your value in the marketplace.

The most important thing is NOT to be the one to bring up the money issue – that will only work against you and make it look like money is your primary motivation.

Jo Messer is a Career Development Specialist who has many years of experience in supporting and guiding students and graduates of some of Australia’s most respected universities, as well as mature-aged clients, across all facets of their career. She is a Professional Member of CDAA and an active member of NAGCAS. Whether you have a specific question about how to achieve your career goal or something more general, Jo is available to provide you with up-to-date advice.

Jo Messer

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