When should you discuss salary in an interview?

No matter how promising the opportunity, there’s no denying that salary is a major factor when accepting a new role.

For many of us, being compensated fairly for our skills and experience impacts job satisfaction. However, it’s important to broach the salary conversation with your prospective employer at the right stage. Failing to do so could compromise your chance of securing the role.



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Here are three factors to consider before raising the topic of salary during the interview process.

1. Avoid salary talk during the courtship phase

The first interview is an opportunity for your potential employer to get to know you and identify your attributes and strengths. Before starting a dialogue about your salary expectations, you need to display suitability for the job and be sure the position is right for you. Waiting until the second or third interview is much wiser for discussing pay. Once you’re confident the company is interested, you can lay your cards on the table.

2. Don’t imply that money is your sole motivator

Although opportunities for a higher salary can be a catalyst for your decision to change jobs, suggesting that it’s your biggest motivation is a grave mistake. Bringing up salary during the initial interview, or referencing it in your cover letter or resume, can send the message that you value dollar signs over opportunity and experience.

3. Make sure you leave room for negotiation

When you do decide to discuss wages, don't mention a specific figure – provide your preferred salary range instead. Showing that you're flexible is the first step towards negotiating a pay packet that’s viable for your employer and reflects your ambitions. Arm yourself with information by surveying friends in your industry and checking out salary guides to assess your market rate. If you do your research, you'll be better equipped to negotiate. Before you talk money, remember to put yourself in your potential employer's shoes. If you wait until you've proved your value as a serious prospect, stay professional and prepare for negotiation, you're likely to get the best result.

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This article originally appeared as When should you discuss salary in an interview? on the Robert Half Australia blog

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