By in Business

Job Interviews - How Much Salary to Ask For

If you're actively looking for work you probably already know what you think you're worth - but if you've had your CV/resume at a variety of agents over the years and suddenly get a phone call you've probably no idea what you're worth in the current marketplace.

And that's what happened this morning, I've had an unexpected phone call from a job agency, asking if I were interested in a Management job. To be honest, no, I'm not looking to be a manager in anything right now, but I was about to look to see what jobs are out there to apply for, so, after a quick chat, I said I'd want to be at a lower level, a small cog - to get up to speed in the industry again. I didn't want to be a manager just yet.

So we discussed salary. Now, as I am not familiar with the area too well, I don't know what the going rate is round these parts, but I do know what I'd want to be paid so that I could be convinced that getting a "proper job" is the thing for me. The role on offer was paying £3k less than my bottom rate, so the agency has put me forward as a candidate for the lower role at a value higher than the advertised rate.

I wonder, therefore, if I'll ever get a call inviting me for interview. We'll see!

How do you work out what to ask for at interview? How much salary to ask for? It's always a tricky balance between needing or wanting the job, the costs of getting to the job -v- other opportunities that might present themselves if you keep looking and the time it'd take you to secure something else. It's a tough call. But stand by your guns on what you're worth if you can! It saves you changing jobs later.

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scheng1 wrote on January 28, 2015, 8:31 AM

Most agencies will try to profile you for a job that is 10% to 20% more than your last drawn salary.

UK_Writer wrote on January 28, 2015, 8:34 AM

Maybe in big cities, or qualified/professional roles, but that's not ever been my experience from calls in the past.

scheng1 wrote on January 28, 2015, 8:36 AM

Since you get calls from the job agencies, they should be the ones providing the information about job market.

Maplewinter wrote on January 28, 2015, 9:13 AM

This is something that I have never experienced as all of the jobs I have been for were a set pay rate per hour. I miss the old days where you just went out and got a job without all the messing you have to do now.

CoralLevang wrote on January 28, 2015, 9:39 AM a career transition coach and trainer, I could write a book on this one. So many things I want to say, but I have to be on the podium in 40 minutes. emoticon :winking: Rest assured that I will be writing about this soon!

trufflehunter wrote on January 28, 2015, 10:00 AM

I agree with you and maybe try and get on forums or speak to friends who are more in touch with the industry. No point trying to settle and being unhappy later.

MsBiz wrote on January 28, 2015, 10:37 AM

That's a really tough one. In the US at least, I found that company's always try to lowball salary. I only made the mistake of taking a job that severely undervalued me (by $10k), and I stayed there less than six months. Before I became bound and determined to be self-employed permanently, my last employer offered me a salary that was about double what I was offered at another agency. I got caught up in the excitement and didn't realize it that was almost too good to be true. (The money came with a mess.) I hope you can find a job that balances your needs, both financially and skills-wise.

Koalemos wrote on January 28, 2015, 10:37 AM

I never had any time for companies that asked what salary I wanted. The concept seems wrong because the company knows what they are prepared to pay and should quote that.

lookatdesktop wrote on January 28, 2015, 3:12 PM

I would rather slightly over qualified for a job that pays in the middle range. If I got into a supervisory position at mid management level I would be still over qualified but the demands would be probably be less pressing, to some degree and the pay would also be less. Being specific in my resume would let them know exactly what my qualifications and work history are and the pay I would expect should be indicated up front but being willing to be flexible only after they set the bottom line would insure some degree of success.

mrsmerlin wrote on January 28, 2015, 3:44 PM

I am lucky in that I no longer work so don't have the dilemma, you also have to factor in any benefits on offer when you work out what you need and as you say most people undersell themselves which is why some companies don't put a set salary as they know that some people will offer to do the job for less than they intended to pay

UK_Writer wrote on January 29, 2015, 4:12 AM

The one I spoke to didn't even understand the job requirements. I asked if they have parking on site and he didn't even know.

UK_Writer wrote on January 29, 2015, 4:13 AM

Yes, there's a lot of nonsense and messing about these days. Long-winded hoop jumping.

UK_Writer wrote on January 29, 2015, 4:13 AM

Good. It's always difficult - they say the pushy ones get paid more though.

UK_Writer wrote on January 29, 2015, 4:14 AM

Nobody's in touch with the industry as it's so geography-specific, role specific, me specific, etc.

UK_Writer wrote on January 29, 2015, 4:15 AM

Cheers. It's important/essential that I earn the most I can as I am a single income household. Stats are already against me as women earn less than men - and the marketplace doesn't really want "women of my age" - but, until I get to the interview, they've no idea how old I am.

UK_Writer wrote on January 29, 2015, 4:16 AM

I agree. They should say what's on offer - although they did ask how much I wanted - and the amount I want is £3k more than they're paying for the role I'd prefer - and £6k less than the higher role the agency phoned me for.

UK_Writer wrote on January 29, 2015, 4:18 AM

I don't want to be a Manager in an environment where I don't know the culture. I can manage within a culture, but am not brash enough to walk into one and perform as a manager

UK_Writer wrote on January 29, 2015, 4:19 AM

Yes, those pesky people with two incomes, or whose incomes are topped up by benefits can undercut me. It's always been like that, annoying.

CoralLevang wrote on January 29, 2015, 6:16 AM

I might suggest that "pushy" be redefined. It is the confident ones, who know what they are worth in the market and who know how to sell themselves the best , who get paid more. emoticon :smile:

Koalemos wrote on January 29, 2015, 6:56 AM

This is why I disagree with the approach. If you ask for more they will say "No" but if you ask for less they will probably pay it.

nbaquero wrote on January 29, 2015, 11:59 AM

UK_Writer these days is not only the salary but benefits and perks, so you might not get what you ask for moneywise, but during the negotiation process you can get some additional benefits that replace that income. As you said, you do your homework and find the going rate and stick to your guns. Good Luck!

maxeen wrote on January 29, 2015, 4:08 PM

Jobs were everywhere in my day,how the young ones cope now is beyond me.