When and How to Discuss Pay in an Interview

At the end of the day, even if they love their job, people work to get a paycheck. They need to pay for utilities, support their families, and save for retirement. However, it isn’t advisable to ask how much a job pays in your first interview. Companies want a new hire that’s really interested in the job and company culture, not just a paycheck.

But when are you supposed to bring up pay then? And how should you ask? We’ve got you covered.

  1. Before You Ask: Do Your Research

Before you bring up pay in an interview, make sure you have some idea of what you should be getting paid. This is both to make sure your ideal pay range isn’t out of line for the position you’re interviewing for, and to ensure you know your worth. Sites like Glassdoor.com can show you pay ranges for positions like yours in your area, and you can sometimes even find out how much individuals in the position you want are getting paid at the company you’re interviewing with.

It’s also important to know what type of benefits you value. For example, is the paycheck the most important thing, or would you take lower pay in exchange for more vacation days or a flexible work schedule?

Finally, know that you don’t have to accept the first pay offered. Negotiating is a normal part of doing business, and it would be a red flag if your employer didn’t hire you just because of an ask.

  1. When to Ask: Timing is Crucial

As we mentioned before, you don’t want to bring pay up too early in the interview process. Use the earlier interviews to get to know your employer and show you’re the best person for the job.

It’s usually best to bring up pay in the second or third interview, when you know your potential employer wants you for the job. When you do ask, try to avoid just asking without any lead up. Instead, mention how interested you are in the job, why you’re a great fit, and then ask for the salary range. You want to show that you’re someone interested in the company and job first, and someone wanting to get paid second.

Ideally, you want the employer to mention the salary range first. However, if you do find yourself having to give your preferred pay first (either through an online application or in an interview setting), give a range rather than a fixed number. That gives you the ability to negotiate later on.

  1. How to Negotiate

The last interview is over, and you get the call: they want to offer you the job! If the pay still doesn’t match up to what you’re looking for, it’s time to negotiate. There’s no problem with asking for additional pay. The worst thing that can happen is they say no. Just remember to be tactful and polite, and back up your additional ask with reasons that make sense.

Once everything is said and done, if the employer can’t match the pay you want (and know you’re worth), it’s completely understandable to pass on the job offer and dive back into the job search.

Have you ever negotiated pay in an interview? How did it go? Let us know in the comments section below!

Comments

  1. Steven Austin

    I’ve never been good at salary negotiation, but this is a good setup to help me anticipate having those discussions. Thank you!

  2. Jennie Presley

    Why would I spend time in multiple interviews without knowing the salary range for a position? It’s not unreasonable to know the range FIRST. My time is valuable to me and spending it trying to find out a basic part of an open position seems backwards. Get it out of the way so we can negotiate!

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