IT Job Interviews: When To Discuss Salary And Benefits
Conversations around salaries and benefits are uncomfortable. However, facing the subject head-on is a far better option than being offered your dream IT job and then finding out that it isn’t in line with your salary expectations. Below I discuss everything you should consider and follow when interviewing for a job.
Use a recruitment agency
Ideally, I would suggest applying for roles through a recruitment agency. Doing this should mean that you avoid all of those awkward conversations; the recruiter will have already discussed salary and benefits with the employer beforehand and will know whether your expectations align. Additionally, most recruitment consultants will share your salary expectations with the employer when they initially present your CV/profile, so the employer should already be fully aware of your expectations before your first interview. I would expect the recruitment agency to handle all communications so that you do not have to discuss any of your salary or benefits expectations directly with the employer at any stage in the interviewing process.
Timing and tact are key
If you’re applying for a new job directly, you should bring up your expectations sooner rather than later, after all, you don’t want to waste your or the employer’s time. During your first conversation with the employer, bring up what’s important to you in your next role. By this I don’t mean simply saying your salary and benefits expectations, instead, explain commuting time, progression, flexibility etc. before discussing what salary you’re looking for.
I acknowledge that there is a perception that bringing up salary or benefits early on in the interview process may signal to the employer that the candidate is only bothered about money. However, in my time in the recruitment industry, I have never spoken with a business that has said they’ve been put off a candidate due to them bringing up[ salary – only occasionally that they can’t afford what the candidate requires.
Do your homework
Researching the market and how much your skillset is currently worth will give you confidence when discussing salaries during your interview. If the interviewer asks you to justify the number you are requesting, you will be able to do so with ease.
I would also highly recommend researching the company itself and their average salary bands. Platforms like Glassdoor can give you great insights into whether they pay competitive salaries and what other benefits might be available.
Give a salary range
Before your interview, ensure you have established a salary range that you would accept if you are offered the job. Discussing a range rather than a singular number will help you to appear flexible, which will only make you more attractive to the interviewer.
If possible, I would suggest steering the conversation so that the employer offers a figure first. This way you have a starting point for your negotiation.
Look beyond the money
Although your base salary is very important, it is worth enquiring about the benefits package they offer. You might be happy to take a slightly lower salary if they offer a performance bonus, a car salary sacrifice scheme or higher pension contributions. It’s also important to look beyond your pay packet and consider whether this IT job will give you the experience you need to apply for higher paid roles in the future.
Get everything in writing
Never, under any circumstances, resign from your current role until you have a contract in your hand/email. It is important to ensure this contract includes everything that was mentioned in the interview – salary, benefits, additional compensation, job title and responsibilities. Everything must be documented. If it is not, ask for the contract to be altered and wait to give in your notice to your current employer.
I hope these tips have readied you to discuss your salary expectations in your next job interview. Remember, although it’s important to be prepared to bring up your salary expectations, setting out your experience and exactly what you could bring to the role first, will put you in a much better position when you do discuss the subject.
If you are currently looking for your next IT job and want the help of a specialist IT recruitment agency, who will have these salary conversations for you, please send us your CV.
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