How to talk money in your interview

career advice

Let’s face it, being interviewed is a nerve wracking experience at the best of times and although no doubt you’ve prepared as much as you can – read the website, looked at their social media pages, read the job spec, then re-read the job spec and made a list of questions to ask – we all still dread the interview process.

However, one of the most difficult questions is often based about money & salary expectations.

What if you ask for too much and price yourself out of the running? Or what if you don’t ask for enough and they either think you are not at the right level or worst still, they make an offer that really isn’t that attractive or worthwhile for you, but you didn’t want to come across greedy.

You don’t wish to find yourself in either of these scenarios, so here is some advice based around talking money, and let’s face it – it is what we all go to for work for.

Who should bring it up?

Ideally the interviewer. Most will, and they will ask what your current salary is and what your expectation is.

Our first piece of advice would be, make sure that these two figures are not miles apart, unless you are going for a management promotion, but for most roles, a £2K increase is realistic.

My second price of advice, is don’t lie – they will end up seeing your P45, so when they see you earned £25K up until April, and you’ve told them you are on £30K, they’ll feel a little cheated and the relationship has started on the best foot. However, when you tell the truth, if relevant, justify the bigger gap. For example, you haven’t had a pay rise for 3 years and you know other people in the industry at the same level earning a lot more.

If salary has not been mentioned at all, don’t be afraid to ask at the end of the interview, when the interviewer asks, do you have any questions – but try not to make it your first question, and make sure you don’t come across purely focused on the money.

So how much are you worth?

Once you have a figure in mind, with confidence but certainly not arrogance, discuss what you believe you are worth to the business, as well as the value you could add. Aim to demonstrate that you are the ideal candidate or the role, you are not desperate for a new job and you are somebody the company should be keen to bring on-board.

Be realistic

Don’t get carried away and lose sight of the value of your skills and experience. Do your research and explore other similar companies / roles, what are they paying in comparison – what does the market seem to be paying for your level of experience. If you can provide true industry insights, this will also impress the interviewer (or it should do).

Take advice from your recruiter

If you are working with a truly consultative recruiter, this another way they can add real value to the recruitment process. They know the market better than anyone, and they know the levels of salaries the company you are interviewing with pays – they do this day in day out, use them! They can manage all negotiations on your behalf, as believe it or not they are as difficult for the employer as they are for the candidate and they can take the strain from both parties, to ensure the best chance of a win-win outcome.