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Tips on how to handle salary questions?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by darrenecm, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. darrenecm

    darrenecm Bit Poster

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    I did a forum search but could turn up no results of threads on the topic of how best to approach the subject of salaries when faced with an interview. So here are some of my questions:

    Is there any online information on average salaries? I went to the UK government website and could not even find anything on the UK 'national average' salary? Even though the "national average wage" term is used often in the press within stories about disparity of salaries across the country. Is another company involved in determining this average? Do you have to pay for the privilege of the results of their proprietary research?

    Many online jobsites blithely say to 'research your job sector for average salaries' yet they never give examples of how and where to start this research. Quite a wishy-washy, vague way to offer advice if you ask me. Does anyone have specifically useful details on discovering specific job sector salaries?

    Finally, can anyone share their general thoughts on how they themselves tackled salary questions at an interview? Obviously the interviewer has his own targets such as keeping a valuable employee (if you're looking asking for a pay rise), not setting a bad precedent for future negotiations and having to stick within a budget. So how do you avoid selling yourself short or destroying your chances of the position because you are asking outside the interviewer’s salary range and another interviewee is asking below your salary expectations?

    I actually have someone calling me on Thursday to speak further about my application for a position. It's not quite in the IT sector, more in the computer entertainment specialist press area. So any tips would be great not only for me in a general sense with my impending call, but for many in these forums who may be taking their first steps entering the IT business with no experience of what salaries to expect?

    Maybe this would also be a good time for others to post their own questions on tackling the subject of salaries during interviews so that they might be incorporated into one of the useful stickies in this particular forum?
     
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  2. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Google is your friend. :wink:

    http://www.quintcareers.com/salary_negotiation.html
     
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  3. darrenecm

    darrenecm Bit Poster

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    I'm no Google expert and am often frustrated at the sheer number of irrelevant results I have to wade through to find what I am actually searching for. Give me something where I can get straight to the point and drill right down to the issue at hand...like a good forum for instance [​IMG]

    And to be thorough I did try Google to no avail. Ergo, my mantra is "Stuff Google, forums are your friend" [​IMG]
     
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  4. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Yes, but...was the link helpful?
     
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  5. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    personally this issue hasnt arisen with the interviewers directly, although with agencies it has. in the case of the agencies i was honest about what i was earning.

    In an interview, id be tempted to bundle this in with 'what do you dislike (the most) about your current company?' its not something id be happy or prepared to discuss until at least an offer had been made. If they offer me less than im earning at the moment, then we can discuss that at the acceptance stage, in an interview i dont think its something they need or are entitled to know, personally.

    How much you earn in your current role doesnt say anything for your ability or suitability.

    Fergal
     
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  6. darrenecm

    darrenecm Bit Poster

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    Working through the site now. Some good info on how you should handle general topic of salary during interview. However I have as yet to find anything that expands on how you arm yourself with the knowledge of what specifically constitutes a reasonable salary range to work to for a given job sector or even regional average. Something that I imagine anyone entering a sector of work new to them would be gagging for.

    To my naive eye I guess that kind of useful information is only available if you hand over the cash for it. Some of the websites listed on the site you mention (Payscale.com, Salary.com etc) kind of confirm this with their suggestions of paying them money for the more detailed salary analysis reports beyond their free ones [​IMG]

    I just imagined some government research report (specifically UK) might have that information free for all to read that someone in Certforums may have come across. But I couldn't find anything during my search of local or central government websites [​IMG]
     
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  7. darrenecm

    darrenecm Bit Poster

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    The adverts for the job I have applied for and for which I have someone calling me on Thursday specifically mentioned to list 'Salary expectations' - which I didn't include by the way. I've always considered this a bad idea because a job salary is not the be-all-and-end-all. Other factors to take into account when judging the value of a company's job offer include holiday entitlements, hours of work, overtime policies, share options, bonuses, healthcare amongst other things. An annual salary may be low for one company but the cumulative value of its benefits packages outweighs the higher annual salary of another company with inferior benefits. So how can you offer to work for a company at an expected salary when it hasn't provided you with this additional and valuable information?

    Your point about this salary issue having arisen with agencies is interesting. I sent Monster.co.uk an email this very morning about the fact you can't enter "Negotiable" as a value for the salary field in its 'Target Job' information area for your profile.
     
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  8. twizzle

    twizzle Gigabyte Poster

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    Funnily enough i've had this twice in the last 2 weeks. Agencies have phoned me regarding applications for jobs that i've put forward, and both times they've asked what salary im looking for. Now on one job description they stated a salary range (16 to 20K) i think, so why ask the question? If i wasnt interested due to the salary being to low i wouldnt have applied.
    As for the other... i had to go by salaries i'd seem mentioned in other jobs of the same type...

    Only problem with this is.. are you selling yourself too short or over pricing yourself. I know i sold my self short once ona Web design job... told them too low a wage... shoulda asked for at least £3p/h more i know now.. it just wasnt enough to live with what they paid me.
    Only thing i can say is work out what you need to survive on, the minimum amount you can accept for work and then add just a lil bit more (say maybe 2K?) and set that as sorta mid range salary....
     
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  9. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    I have to say that I've always found this topic difficult.

    When I was contracting I built up a feel for the right level to charge. But this was based on a manager at one time inflating my fees by what seemed to me to be a huge amount. Oddly I found many people paying this.

    Later, with a different manager these fees were reduced, partly as a result of the IT crash and to get any work at all.

    My best moment was when somebody I had indirectly worked for some years before phoned up and said "Whatever you are being paid I'll double it"! That was one of the best moments ever!

    When the company that controlled my contracting finaly hit the buffers I went to the directors of the place I was working at and asked to join full time, as I didn't really want to do contracting any longer (IR35 anybody?). I was quite prepared to find the result neutral, and was completely blown away by their offer!

    So I have come to the conclusion that there is no hard and fast set of rules/rates, but a good reputation speaks volumes!

    Harry.
     
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  10. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Big salaries are not the be all and end all either. In my 35 years of being a wage earner, I have come to the conclusion that employers will want their pound of flesh. The last job I held in the UK paid me about 10 times what I am earning now and supplied me with a nice new BMW too. I can tell you that I earned all that and more. Long hours, stress, unreasonable expectations. Be careful, for you can easily sell your soul to the devil :twisted:

    What is more important is job satisfaction. You really need to look for a job where you are going to fit in and be happy. There is more to life than work.

    I can't help with actual facts and figures regarding the current salaries in the UK job market. I have enough trouble trying to figure out what I should be earning from the work that I do, now that I am self employed in Australia :rolleyes:
     
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  11. darrenecm

    darrenecm Bit Poster

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    While on the topic of salaries, I suppose this may be an opportune time to sneak in another money-related issue - this time one of apparent cost of living. I hope it's not too off topic.

    Should this job I'm in for a chance with pan out, I'll be looking to factor in how much to base my salary range on depending on the cost of living/travelling within an acceptable commute range of London City Centre. Is anyone out there working in the City? Do you have a good rule of thumb for a commute time or distance to live outside the City?

    My thinking is that I'd be reluctant with anything over 1 hour commute but it's hard to say how far this puts me outside the City given today's traffic/rail performance, or what areas are deemed good to live in. My place of work would be in the London E1W area. Knowing how far from London to lay my hat will help me figure out the costs of renting/buying a place. So if anyone with experience of the dreaded trek into the City and relocating could throw some tips and info my way I'd be damned grateful.
     
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  12. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Commuting into London is not for the faint of heart. It is a real pain in the backside to do it by car and not much fun to do it by train either. Personally I would emigrate if I were you :D

    Speaking as an ex-Londoner, the traffic and sheer amount of people wherever you are commuting from, makes travelling to and from work an absolute nightmare.

    Give me The Gold Coast any day.

    Did you know that where I live, I can go into Woolworths (food shop like Asda) buy a loaf of bread and be the first in the queue for the checkout. Also I can park my car for free, just about anywhere I go these days 8)

    I won't go on because you will all want to move here :twisted:
     
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  13. darrenecm

    darrenecm Bit Poster

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    Already searching for my passport mate. I just heard PC magazine publishers are looking for pommy magazine journalists so I'll probably be in touch soon for a meet up. We'll break out some tinnies, have a decent barby and I'll need tips from you on how to avoid being killed by mutliple-legged creatures that apparently inhabit every aussie house garden [​IMG]

    Put in a good word for me at immigration. If you don't, well then may your chooks turn into emus and kick your dunny down ya big wombat. Hopefully you've been in Oz long enough to understand that last sentence [​IMG]
     
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  14. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    LOL - yes been here five years now and loving every minute of it, chooks are good too :biggrin

    Some of the most scary creatures here don't have any legs, they don't have arms either. Just a long body, with a head at one end and the rest is like a long tail. They come in all sorts of colours too like brown and some are black with a red belly. :eek:
     
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