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Four Questions You Need to Prepare for in Salary Negotiations

Once you’ve passed rounds of interviews and you’re as assured of the position as you’re going to be, salary negotiations begin. However, this isn’t the time to breathe out and relax. Yes, the company wants you, but the question is, at what price? For most of us, this stage is the difference between landing our dream job and walking out of the door empty handed. But it could also mean losing out on a significant amount of money and benefits. It is therefore essential that you know what these four questions are and how to answer them.

1. What is your current salary?

We all know why they ask this, but in short, it’s none of their business. You’re not interviewing for your current job. You’re interviewing for this one. However, this answer won’t go down too well. This question is sometimes framed in a legal or administrative sense, as in, “HR need to know...” If your potential employer goes down this route, it is clear a certain level of dishonesty is at play, in which case you are free to be as equally dishonest. Be polite but simply reply, “My current employer doesn’t allow me to disclose my salary outside of the company.”

2. What are your salary expectations?

Again, they really want to see how low you will go and are happy to scare you into dropping your price. In this case, high-level diplomacy is key. “I consider myself an excellent fit for this role and I’m assuming this company pays competitively for the right talent.” Provide broad market research figures if really pushed.

3. Would you be interested in development within the company?

In short, “Can we pay you less now based on the suggestion that you will earn more later?” Everyone wants to advance so the obvious answer seems like a yes and it still can be. But before you agree, you must ensure this offer is included in your written contract and is fixed to a certain time.

4. The fixed offer is XXX. Is that within your expectations?

Sometimes, a salary really is fixed. For example, you’re being hired as a graduate or in a named role with a company-wide fixed salary. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t still get more in the name of benefits. Some individuals might want more free time to continue their studies, or more annual leave if they have family abroad. There are also volunteer days to be had, which will boost your future CV. However, in our experience, getting benefits on top, which will benefit both you and your potential employer are likely to be the most successful sell. Ask about partial MBA sponsorship and other professional qualifications and you will get a more favourable response.

Just like with an interview, prepping for salary negotiations is essential. Practice with a friend and ask them to throw you a few curveballs. That way, you’ll be able to stay cool and calm when the real questions come in and you’ll be more likely to catch your desired salary.

Piper Fitzgerald is a Specialist Talent Consultancy operating within Audit, Tax & Advisory Australia wide, recruiting only the Top 15% of candidates. If you are currently looking to recruit for your organisation or are interested in current market opportunities contact Simon on or 1300 619 510.

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