Talking about money can feel awkward at the best of times, let alone when you’re trying to secure a new job! But the truth is money is a big part of why we work in the first place, so it’s a very important conversation to have.

If you’re not sure how to approach or handle the salary question during the recruitment process, let us guide you through…

First things first!

It’s always a good idea to find out the salary range for a role before you apply for it. Some job ads will have the range included. For those that don’t, simply get in touch with the listed contact to find out.

There’s no point in spending time creating the perfect application if the salary on offer isn’t right.

Popping the question

Most people expect salary to be addressed during the interview stage – often towards to the end of the process,however it’s more common now days to come up during the initial phone screen.
While it’s understandable to be a little unsure about talking money over the phone, the benefit is that you gain a good sense of what is on offer before you get into face-to-face interviews and you get the time to decide whether it’s worthwhile continuing on with the process.

If the employer doesn’t bring up salary during the phone screen, you definitely should. Remember, it won’t leave a good taste in anyone’s mouth if you get all the way through to being offered the role, only to discover there is a mismatch in salary expectations!

What should you say?

In the interest of saving everyone time and effort, just be honest right from the get go.

People are often worried that saying a figure too high will put the employer off – or too low and running the risk of underselling themselves. But fear not, being honest and open is an admirable quality and shows that you’re genuinely interested in the role.

If the role can’t match your expectations then it might not be the right one for you. Having said that, you should always ask if you can have the opportunity to justify why you’re worth the extra money – especially if you can bring something to the organisation over and above the job description.

Also remember that if your level of comfort with the remuneration on offer changes during the recruitment process, communicate that at the time. No one likes last minute surprises.

What if you don’t know what to say?

If you honestly don’t know what your salary expectations are, or are unsure what to say, especially if you’ve been put on the spot, simply ask what the expected salary range is or what level they think the role will be appointed at.

Once you know, if you need some time to think about it, simply say so – letting them know you’ll get back in touch ASAP.

How do you know your worth?

There’s a lot of market salary information available online, so with a little bit of research you can get a good idea of what the general salary level is for the position you’re applying for. We’ve included some useful links below to help get you started!

Think about what you would bring to the role, your qualifications, and your previous remuneration levels. Also consider what other things the job can offer besides monetary reward. Extra annual leave, flexible working hours, additional training or qualifications, and carparking can all add value to the job – so make sure you take those into account too. If additional extras like these haven’t been spelt out in the job description, definitely ask if there are any.

Get in touch with your recruitment consultant and get their advice too! We’re just a phone call or email away!

We all have expenses to cover and various financial commitments. No one is a better judge of what is an acceptable salary for you than you! But at the end of the day, a job appointment needs to be the right fit for everyone involved. The easiest way to ensure this is by being honest and upfront right from the start. And if you have any doubts along the way, it’s best to be open about them too.

Good luck!

Kirsty and Nikki

Follow these links for more information on salary levels in New Zealand:
Trade Me Salary guide
Careers NZ

How to tell if this role is going to be the right fit for you
When is it appropriate to talk money with a candidate?