How to approach the “salary conversation” when you’re looking for a new job

When you’re looking for a new job, often salary is a primary motivator. One of the biggest reasons people start exploring new opportunities at work is because they feel they should be paid more or just want more money and we get it – you work to live at the end of the day. However, it is a delicate subject and one that you need to approach in the right way in order to get the result you are looking for whilst still giving a good impression to your potential new employer.

Here are our top tips on what to do and not to do:

  • Don’t be secretive – if you are underpaid (or feel you are at your current employer) that is fine but not disclosing the salary you are currently on for fear that any new employer will then just pay you slightly more than what you are currently on isn’t going to help your cause. Any good company will recognise what the market rate is for your role and will pay you what you deserve regardless of the salary you are currently on. Saying that you don;’t want to disclose your current salary immediately creates a barrier between you and the company you are speaking to and makes you seem like you might be difficult to deal with – be honest and upfront.
  • Do your research – before you apply for new jobs, you should do some research to find out what a realistic salary might be for your skills and experience in the market. have a look at some salary surveys or speak to some recruitment agencies to get an idea and make sure your pitching yourself at the right level.
  • Think about more than just money – acknowledging that you think you are paid under market rate is fine but don’t approach a conversation with a new company by asking upfront “what is the role paying” – if you ask that too early in the conversation, it gives the impression that you are only interested in money. An employer wants to know that you have a genuine interest in the company and the opportunity rather than you coming across as tough you will go for the first new role that pays you the most/ Remember that they are looking to hire someone who will commit to the company for a good length of time and not “jump ship” when a role paying more comes along.
  • Enquire about salary in the right way – towards the end of the initial conversation id a good time to ask about salary – then you have talked a bit about your experience, what you are looking for and also have learned more about the role. A good way to approach it is to run through your current salary package and expectations and ask how that fits in with what the role is paying. A good Recruiter will give you an honest answer as to whether your expectations are in line with what the firm can pay.