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A list of dos and don'ts to help you land the job, and the wage, you want.
A common mistake made by job seekers is disclosing their salary expectation too early in the recruitment process – whether in their CV or over the phone with a hiring manager before an interview. Here’s three reasons why it’s a risky move:
Roles and responsibilities haven’t been discussed
You may find out later in the recruitment process that the position involves more work or responsibilities than expected. Once a figure has been negotiated, it’s pretty difficult to resume salary discussions.
Not factoring in your unique attributes
The job interview is the perfect opportunity to promote your personal skills and experience. If you discuss your salary before the interview, you’re not taking advantage of this.
Employer benefits could affect your expectations
You may learn more about the non-financial workplace benefits of the role (or lack thereof) during the interview stage, which could influence your salary threshold in negotiations.
If you are asked for your salary expectation before the interview, politely request more information before committing to a figure. This may include further details on the points mentioned above.
If you sense you may be cut from consideration if you don’t give them an indication, it’s best to give a broad salary range in line with industry expectations. That way, when you finally discuss specifics, there’s room for movement.
Once in the interview room, most hiring managers will wait until the end before discussing salary. If they bring it up earlier though, try and steer the conversation away from specific figures. Be honest and tactfully explain you’d like to learn more about the role first. Do this until you both have all the applicable information to make a judgment, and you’ve been given enough time to really sell yourself.
Market research is very important. If you go in and pull out a figure that’s out of the standard industry range then you are not going to be taken seriously. Speak to recruiters, unions, and other industry professionals to gauge the salary levels for your skill level and experience.
When stating your expected salary in an interview, it’s best to explain how you got to an amount, rather just stating random a figure. If you don’t give any context you can risk coming across as too aggressive.
Here’s an example script: “Given my research, experience and skills in setting up new restaurants in Australia, I’d be looking for a figure around $85,000, based on the role and requirements.”
If the hiring manager shoots first with a figure, repeat the number aloud, then stay silent without giving too much away. If you give up your cards too early by smiling or nodding, you could jeopardise how high they go. Often they’ll fill the gap with more details on the role, or if you’re lucky, a counter-offer.
Don’t aim too high or low – a large figure could frighten them or result in being given extra responsibilities or higher targets. Alternatively, don’t shoot too low. You may think it’ll improve your chances, but you may come across as desperate, and that won’t help.