Asking about the salary – a tricky question at the job interview


The real answer about the salary question is actually the diplomatic avoiding of a specific answer which can be uncomfortable, so people don’t do it. In fact, that who says the first number is no longer in advantage…

The question of salary will inevitably come up during the selection process. The way you answer this question will greatly influence whether you will get the job or not, but also the salary itself if you get the job. So it is pretty important to know what to do in order to get what you want.

First, you shouldn’t be the one starting to talk about the salary. Especially not during the first interview! As in life, here timing is everything, that is, the right moment to talk about this topic. If you ask the question in the beginning, you leave the impression of a person whose only motive for coming was money and you will probably not get the job. Be patient.

If the employer asks „What kind of a salary do you expect?“ during the first interview, it is possible that he will use this question as eliminatory one. If you say the number which is higher than the one employer is ready to give or on the other hand, if you underestimate yourself, you will probably be eliminated. So in this case the best tactics is to try to postpone your answer until the position is offered to you. You should answer that you want to know more about the responsibilities on the workplace before talking about the salary.

The later in the selection process does the question come up, the better for you. This means you have the advantage and it is likely that the employer saw your qualities and he wants to hire you.

It is important to remember there is no need to negotiate the salary before the job is offered to you, but also you shouldn’t take the job before finding out your salary and what other benefits are included in the package.

The real answer about the salary question is actually the diplomatic avoiding of a specific answer which can be uncomfortable, so people don’t do it. In fact, that who says the first number is no longer in advantage…

Negotiating about the salary can take some time depending on the skills of those doing the negotiating and both the candidates and the interviewer. One of the things the candidate can do is not express his expectations until the very end. In this case both of the parties insist on their own positions. Studies show that during the interview it is important to „mirror“the person conducting the interview. What does that even mean? It seems that if the candidate mirrors the behavior of the interviewer, it is more likely the interviewer will feel more comfortable, which will contribute to the positive impression the interviewer will have of the candidate and set him apart from all the other and positively influence the decision on his employment. If we see persevering in the negotiations as mirroring the behavior of the interviewer, the analogy is clear.
However, there’s the danger that if we avoid to answer we will leave the impression that you are not capable of assessing your abilities which can negatively influence the final decision on employment.

The other possibility is that after gathering all the important information about all the aspect of the job you are applying to, you simply answer the question. Of course, never with the exact amount, but with a salary range. Try to assume the salary range considering what you know about the company, the average salary for that specific position and considering you personally (there is a difference if you are a trainee or you have work experience and if you are applying for a position with more responsibilities).

Before you get to the interview, do some research on the salary in the company you are going to have the interview in, on the salary in your industry and generally in the job you are applying to. You have to know how much the job is worth, but also how much you are worth. With these information you will you will know how to behave when you reach this topic.

Try to reach the top of the scope. List the arguments which you will justify this. After you have said what you want and expect from the employer, don’t add new demands. Do it once, because any additional demand will have a negative effect.
If the employer offers you a low salary, don’t take the job. It is possible that this offer is just a part of their strategy and if you immediately say yes, you shouldn’t expect a raise or promotion in the future. There is a chance that saying „no“to a low salary can get you a better offer. It is a risk, so if you really need the job, be careful!