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At what stage of the hiring process can you talk about pay?

When should you negotiate your salary? Source: Getty
When should you negotiate your salary? Source: Getty

Salary negotiations are daunting – particularly for women.

In a survey of 500 women by recruitment company Monster, just 16 per cent of respondents stated they negotiate salaries when a job offer is made or during performance evaluations, and only 15 per cent believe they are effective negotiators.

But with so many ‘dos and don’ts’ in the realm of salary negotiation, it’s tough to know how to go about it.


Yahoo Finance spoke to Indeed’s head of career insights, Jay Munro, to find some solid answers:

When’s the best time to negotiate salary?

“It’s probably most respectful if [salary negotiation] is done in the very beginning,” Munro said.

And by the ‘very beginning,’ Munro means your first phone call - before the interview.

But it depends on how you found out about the job too.

“If you’re applying for the job and it’s got the salary listed on the job ad, then the employers have told you what it is, so you wouldn’t go through the entire process and then say at the last minute that you want more money,” he said.

“You’ve been given the information up front, so you need to respect that.”

If the salary was listed on the job ad but you’re looking for a bit more, then it’s still acceptable to ask.

“You can still express interest,” Munro said.

“You can say, ‘look, this is my salary and this is what I’m looking for,’ and just see if they’re flexible.”

If you’re contacted by a recruiter, the game changes again.

“It seems to be more common practice now amongst recruiters to state what the salary is in the very first conversation,” Munro said. “They don’t want to waste people’s time.”

When you shouldn’t talk salary

The worst question to ask in a job interview is ‘what’s the salary?’

Ideally, the salary is canvassed in the screening phone call, but if it isn’t, you should definitely not bring it up in the job interview.

“That doesn't reflect on you in a positive way for future transactions if you were to apply again,” Munro told Yahoo Finance earlier this year.

In fact, it can make you look as though you’re only interested in the money and not the actual job.

“That could be a risk that the candidate might not stick around or might not be focused on actual productivity or being a top performer.”

In saying that, if you don’t have a screening call and are thrust straight into an interview, it could be an appropriate time to bring it up, providing you’ve done your research around the average salary for that role.

“With any job, regardless, you should be aware of what the industry rate is for the job that you do,” Munro said.

“Do your research and find out - if you have an expectation which is way outside the industry average, then you need to readjust your expectations beforehand. If it’s within that industry average, then just say, ‘This is what I’m expecting of the role’.”

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