How to talk about money

Salary negotiations are always tricky. Employers don't want to overcommit and candidates don't want to get shortchanged. Here are three guiding principles to make 'talking about money' a little easier.

  1. Talk about it early

  2. Know your budget

  3. Show flexibility

Talk about it early

I don’t get how employers and candidates leave salary conversations till the very end. So much time can be wasted. 

Manage salary expectations in the first formal interview. At this stage the conversation should be very simple. The employer shares their salary budget for the role and the candidate shares if it's within their expectations. If it’s not within their range, the candidate can either exit the process or move forward knowing that the opportunity won’t pay as much as they expect. Both parties agree that the final salary will be dependant on the candidate’s suitability for the position.

Know your budget

If you’re an employer you should only start the recruitment process with a clear budget in mind. If someone meets all your requirements, what would you pay? Sure, if the candidate falls short of your requirements, you don’t have to pay the full budget but you should have a budget to start with. When a candidate asks, you should be able to share this budget with them.

If you’re a candidate, you should know what are your minimum and ideal salary expectations. You don't have to share your minimum expectation with potential employers but you should have a bottom number in your mind so that you know when to walk away. You could determine your expectations by either looking at your past salary as a benchmark or by looking at the market rate for the position you're interviewing for. It’s your job to research and find out what you’re worth in the market. Don’t expect your future employer to do that for you.

Show flexibility

This principle is especially relevant for candidates. You don't want to come across like you're only interested in the job for the money. Be clear about your expectations but also let future employers know that you'll consider the ‘whole’ opportunity, taking into account the growth opportunity, nature of work, people benefits, etc.

Navin Muruga