Why you should NEVER talk money in a Job Interview

He who talks money first....loses


Why you should NEVER talk money in a Job Interview

This week I want to talk about the sensitive issue of money.  

In a previous BLOG I described a nice little model I call the "Personal Career Audit" that can be used to assess whether or not it is time to change jobs.  You can also use this model to compare your current job with its potential replacement.  It's dead useful.  

Money is part of the model, obviously. Ideally, when you change jobs it should be for more money and with the prospect of earning more money still in the future.  Depending on the other 4 elements of your Career Audit money may not be your main motivation for seeking new employment; perhaps you need to move to be nearer your family, or perhaps your boss is a numpty and if you don't move jobs you may clock him with the waste-paper bin; even in those cases I believe that you should always aim to be making a financial gain when you change jobs. However, many clients tell me that they struggle with the subject of money when they are asked about it at interview.  So, here is my advice as to how to handle the subject when it comes up.

The interviewer smiles and asks you the dread question: "So, if you were successful, what would you like us to pay you?"

Here's how to handle it: Don't tell them. There, BLOG over.  A bit more detail?  OK.

There is a saying in recruitment and it is: "He who mentions money first loses". Why should this be? I'll explain. You are earning £20k in your present job and you have applied for a job advertised as paying £25k.  The interviewer wants to get you as cheaply as possible (why shouldn't he?) but he knows that he will go up to £28k for the right candidate.

Too low: You are lacking in a little bit of confidence and so when you are asked about money you say: "I would like £24k".  When the offer comes, in my experience, it will be for £23.5k.  The hiring manager knows he's got you, and he's going in low.  If you complain, he'll go to £24k.  This, when he would have paid you up to £28k.  You have cost yourself up to £4.5k.

Too high: You are a bit too confident, the interview has gone really well, so you decide to be ambitious and although you would happily settle for the advertised salary of £25k, you say: "I am looking for £29k".  Your job offer goes to someone else, for £27.5k.  You are stuck with the numpty boss. So, as we say in recruitment: "keep schtum".

In answer to the question "So, if you were successful, what would you like us to pay you?" say this:

"I am sure that what ever offer you make will be commensurate with my skills and experience and what you know I will bring to the role".

To quote Tony Soprano: "ba-da-bing!" You have not gone in too low and missed out on a pig pay rise and you have not gone in too high and priced yourself out of the market. You have pushed the ball back into the hiring manager's court, you have presented as professional, courteous and confident.  It's all good.

There may come a time for a bit of horse-trading over salary.  But do it after the interview.   Ideally, make your recruiter earn his fee.  Remind him that the more you earn, the more he earns.  Then agree with him what you really really want (the "super win") and the minimum you will accept (the "win").  Let him have the awkward conversation and let the client come up with an offer. If you are dealing with a proper recruiter, like me, they will already have covered all of this off with you before you even stepped into the room. So that's it.  

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Check out my other BLOG on the subject of Counter-Offers.  If you would like some help in preparing for an interview, please get in touch.


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