Job interviews are a bloody minefield. Someone you only just met is getting up in your grill with some fairly personal questions, and some of them will be weird and cryptic.
“Who is your hero and why?” What the hell does it matter? I’m applying for the ‘Sandwich Artist’ position, not Influential Speaker.
And then of course, there’s money. The backbone of our economy and the entity by which most of our lives are governed. As daunting as that is to read, the sooner you get a grip on how to talk about it, the easier your life will be.
In an effort to combine these two facets of awkwardness, here’s how you should approach the subject of money in a job interview.
Figure out if you’re wanted
Pay attention to the correspondence you have with your potential employer. If it sounds like they’re not interested in you, it’s probably not a great idea to bring up the whole money thing.
If they start selling you the job in an interview, then it’s a pretty clear sign that you’ve got them on the hook.
How interested they seem will determine how assertive you can be when it comes time to negotiate your salary.
Do some research
Jump online and have a look at what other companies are offering for similar positions.
This will provide a good basis to argue your desired salary at the appropriate time.
The key word here is appropriate. Don’t be awkward and jump the gun. Which brings us to the next point
Don’t send the wrong message
Brining up money too early can give the wrong impression.
It can lead employers to think that you’re only applying for the money, rather than the opportunity or because you actually want the job.
And besides, if you’re only in it for the money, you’ll likely end up hating the job and rage quitting it later on anyway. Do something you want to do.
Listen to your instincts
At the end of the day, the right time can be hard to pinpoint and will probably come down to your own gut instincts.
If you think it will fly, bring it up. There’s no point in playing it too safe if salary is a big factor in deciding on a job.
And when you do, don’t just blurt it out, think about how you’re going to approach the question. Nothing will turn an employer off more than an abrupt “HOW MUCH MONEY FOR JOB?”
You might get a wanky response
Be prepared for some stellar corporate fluff, because chances are you’ll get something like this:
“We offer a very competitive remuneration package.”
What the hell am I meant to do with that? Competitive? Does the money race other money, is that what you mean?
Unfortunately, you’ll just have to wait and see how it pans out. Alternatively, they may flip the question back at you with a sly “what is your expected salary?”
Ohh SNAP. It’s alright, just make sure you’re prepared. Try not to give a solid figure, but rather a salary range. It can be a tricky back and forth, but definitely don’t undersell yourself.
And when negotiating, there are some clever tricks you can use to influence your interviewer in your favour.
Money isn’t everything
What stage of your working life you’re at will determine the importance of your salary, but even then, money is different to everyone.
If you’re just starting out or changing careers, you might need to lower your expectations at first. If you’ve been in your field for ten years and are a regular top-gun, you can afford to demand a little more.
What’s important is that you do something that makes you happy, or at the very least, isn’t killing your soul.