A job interview isn’t just an opportunity for a potential employer to learn about you. It’s also your chance to learn about the organization and its policies, practices, and culture to determine if it’s the right fit for you. For this reason, you need to ask the right questions about your job role and responsibilities, including the compensation package.
Bringing up the salary question during a job interview can be a scary thought, but it doesn’t have to be so. If you’re wondering how to ask about salary in a job interview, then keep reading on to find out:
How do you politely ask for a salary range?
How do you ask for a salary range without being rude?
Tips 1 & 2: Prepare for salary discussions before the interview
Before the day of your interview, you must spend some time preparing for it. This involves researching the company and your interviewers, going through the do’s and don’ts of a job interview, and drafting some questions for the hiring manager. It’s also a good time to think about how you’re going to approach a discussion on salary. Here are two things you need to do first.
1. Do your research
Every job role in every industry has a certain market value. One of the most crucial aspects of a successful salary discussion is to determine the appropriate compensation range for the target job role and use that figure as a basis for negotiation. Here’s where market research comes in.
For example, if you’re applying for a business development manager role at an IT company based in New York, you need to find out how much these managers are making at other IT companies in the same locality. Think about your educational qualifications, previous job experience, and any specialized skills and their impact on your ideal salary range.
Also, go through the job description for similar job roles at other companies and see if there are some extra responsibilities in your target job role that make a strong case for higher compensation.
2. Consider what matters to you the most
While money is crucial, it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor for a salary discussion. Look at the other perks and benefits offered by the organization, such as health insurance, retirement plans, educational support, bonus, stock options, gratuity, and additional allowances. You should also consider non-financial incentives, such as growth opportunities, compatibility with your core values and beliefs, and alignment with your long-term career plan.
For example, if a company has a generous paid time-off policy, you could use this as a negotiation tactic. During the interview, you could potentially ask for a higher salary in exchange for a reduction in your paid time off from work.
Tips 3-6: Be smart about bringing it up
After you’ve done your research and you know what you want, the next step is to head into your interview with confidence. Here are a few things to keep in mind when initiating a salary discussion during a job interview.
3. Find the right time
When it comes to asking questions, timing is everything. During the interview, a question involving expected salary should not be the first thing to ask the interviewer. Before you mention salary, make sure that question will not distort the flow of the conversation or make the interviewer feel uncomfortable.
Bring up the topic after you have established yourself as the right fit for the job. Showcase your biggest strengths and accomplishments and talk about what you will bring to the table. If the interviewer seems impressed and asks you when you can start, you should consider discussing the salary first.
Alternatively, toward the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. This would be a good time to have a discussion about the salary. However, you need to assure the interviewer that you’re not just in for the money and that you’re willing to negotiate.
4. Keep the tone professional
Asking about salary or salary range can be a difficult topic, so it’s best to approach this discussion with tact and professionalism. You need to adopt a business-minded attitude when approaching this question. Such a tone would indicate that you’re eager to work at the organization and move the conversation forward.
When bringing up the salary discussion, choose your words carefully so as not to send the wrong signal to the interviewer. Consider using the word “compensation” instead of “salary.” It’s also a good idea to talk about a salary range instead of a ballpark figure.
Be bold when asking questions about your salary. Ask the interviewer about how the expected salary compares with market average figures, as well as the compensation offered by key competitors. You can also entice the interviewer by expressing your interest in the job, and then asking about the budget set for the job role.
Here’s a commonly used phrase to start a salary discussion toward the end of a job interview.
“Thank you so much for addressing all of my questions. I’m eager to join your organization, and I look forward to the learning and growth opportunities offered at your company. I’m sure that the compensation package for the job role will be in line with the market rate. But if you don’t mind me asking, what is the budget set by your organization for this job role?”
5. Focus on your expertise
As mentioned earlier, before starting a discussion on salary, you must first lay the proper foundation for this conversation. This means communicating your skills, strengths, competencies, and eagerness for the job role to the interviewer.
Focusing on your competence and building a good rapport with the interviewer is a good way to gain their confidence. It also makes it easier for you to transition into the serious topic of salary discussion and ensure the conversation goes smoothly without making the discussion sound like a dealbreaker.
Show your value by focusing on your previous accomplishments, key licenses and certifications, and general knowledge about the job. If you can back your achievements with figures and statistics, you are sure to leave a lasting impression on the interviewer. Talk about how you will help the organization achieve its objectives and discuss any plans you have for the company’s growth.
6. Be smart
In most cases, organizations set a salary range for each job role. The exact salary figure will depend upon the new hire’s education, previous experience, skills, and other factors. This means that, instead of asking for the exact salary for the job role, you can ask the interviewer the salary range set for that particular job.
Before asking any questions about the salary, make sure you fully understand the job role, requirements, and expectations. If the interviewer does not provide a satisfactory answer to the salary question or if you feel that the salary quoted is too low, politely ask for some time to consider the job offer. You don’t have to accept the job offer there and then.
Examples of asking about salary in an interview
Asking for a salary range during a job interview might seem like a tricky topic, but it’s not rocket science. Here are a few examples of ways you can ask for a salary range without sounding rude or unprofessional.
Here are a few sample scripts on how to bring up the question of salary during a job interview.
I’m super excited about the job role and responsibilities, and I look forward to being a part of your organization. On a final note, would you be willing to share the compensation range for this job role with me?
Now that I have a clear idea of the job role and responsibilities, can you tell me a bit about the compensation package? What is the expected compensation range and what are other perks and benefits associated with this job role?
I saw on the job posting that the expected compensation is $[number]. I wanted to know if this salary is negotiable.
Your organization is well-known for its generous paid time-off policies and lucrative compensation plans. I wanted to know if it’s possible for employees to ask for a reduction in their paid time off in exchange for a higher compensation package.
I really appreciate you taking out time to address all of my questions. I’m excited about this opportunity and eager to join your company. I’d like to know more about your company’s policies on fair compensation, especially with regard to this job role. In your opinion, what would be the ideal compensation range for this job?
A job interview is your chance to evaluate the job role in detail and determine whether the compensation offered is suitable.
Before heading into a job interview, do your research. Find out about the average salary for that job role within that industry and locality.
During the job interview, exercise caution and professionalism when bringing up the question of salary.