Top of the page

How To Talk About Salary - Without It Being Awkward

Category: Tips and Advice

How To Talk About Salary - Without It Being Awkward We’ve been indoctrinated to believe that talking about money, and especially salary is something to avoid because it can make people feel uncomfortable. The key to avoiding awkwardness is to be prepared. If you’re not prepared, that’s when you run into awkward situations.

Here are eight quick tips for talking about salary during the recruitment process.

    Preparation is key – you never know when the salary question is going to be brought up. It could be in the application or it could be in the final interview. That’s why it’s critical to know your numbers before you even apply for the job so you’re not caught off guard.
  1. Don’t mention salary at first interview – Bringing up salary too soon is a common mistake people make in job search. To bring it up too soon can actually make you look bad because the employer may think you’re only in it for the money. Rule of thumb; wait until the employer brings it up or at least until later in the recruitment process when things are more serious.
  2. Know what’s reasonable – It's essential you research this ahead of applying for the role. If you have a good idea what’s a competitive salary for that industry, it will help you negotiate down the line. If you don’t do your research, you risk asking for too much and pricing yourself out of the opportunity or worse, asking for too little and not getting paid what you deserve. Do your homework using Monster, Indeed and Salary Bot.
  3. Know your walk-away rate – during your research you’ll get a good idea of the higher and lower salary rates for your industry. This is the intelligence you need for negotiation. When working out how much you’d like to earn, it’s important to understand your walk-away rate. This is the absolute lowest amount of money you’d be willing to accept. Typically, it’s the lowest offer you can accept financially. If you were to take a job that doesn’t allow you to maintain your current lifestyle, you increase the chances of finding yourself back in the job search market within 6 months looking for a better paid job because you can’t pay your bills. You don’t want to price yourself out of the opportunity but you also don’t want to sell yourself short. It’s critical to understand what your walk-away rate is and why.
  4. It’s not always about the money – while you should aim to get a competitive salary, you don’t always have to focus on the money. What really matters to you? Is it holidays, working flexibly, travelling for work or something else? It really depends on what is important to you. This will give you some more wriggle room during negotiations.
  5. Why should they pay you more? – In order to earn the salary that you feel you deserve, you need to prove that you’re going to be a valuable asset to the company. You need to prove that you’re worth their investment so make the case about the value you bring based on past achievements and that is the reason you deserve more money.
  6. Don’t be afraid to say ‘No’ - it’s OK to say no to a job offer that’s not going to meet your needs. This is what starts a negotiation process.
  7. Relax – easy to say, hard to do. Salary negotiations can be stressful, however, they are a part of the recruitment process so don’t avoid negotiating because you’re afraid. If you do your research and know your worth, these conversations aren’t that awkward. If you really feel awkward ahead of an interview, go and practice with a friend. Practice increases confidence so when you do it for real, it feels more comfortable. The key is to be prepared.