How to tackle the salary question

If you have used a recruitment agency or applied to a job on-line then you should have a clear idea of what the job you are interviewing for is offering as a salary and package.

Saying that, many employers do not reveal what they are going to offer – this might be because they haven’t completed a budget for the role or department, they might have some flexibility as they are hiring for multiple positions or it can be because they are new to the market and they honestly don’t know what the market rate for that position is.

In many ways a discussion about salary in an interview is inappropriate – it is not right for an interviewee to be put in this position. The interview should be your chance to shine, to describe yourself and explain how and why you would be great in the job. Saying that, many interviewers raise the issue and so you should be prepared.

If you went through an agency then the interviewer should already know your current and expected salary – but there are sometimes surprises.

Our advice as an agency is that for most candidates who are changing their job there is an expectation of a 5-10% pay increase. This would cover most people who are moving to a role which is basically similar to or one step up from their current position. There are exceptions of course – people who are making a big career jump or people who are in a high-demand, low-supply field in a hot recruitment market. These people can get as much as 20% pay increase when they change positions.

If you are asked in interview what your salary expectation is then you should use these figures as a benchmark and state a range, not a number. Stating a range is always safer than picking a number!