When should you bring up salary expectation?

I get asked this question a lot by my clients. When should I talk salary expectation? During the interview? Before or after? It’s like as if in our mind we think that if we start talking money, then it’s going to turn off the employer and we wont get the job. Well I have some good news! that is not true at all!

Employers first of all are not turned off by discussion of salary expectation once rapport has been built and they are aware of your strengths, weaknesses and at least it is nearing the end of the interview when you bring it up. If for example, the employer called you, said he/she received your resume and would like you to come in for an interview, and then you start saying how much money you expect to be paid, well that will certainly turn off the employer, for they haven’t even met you and do not want to commit to any salary negotiation until they have met you.

In his book What Color is Your Parachute?, Richard Bolles says that the first one to mention a salary figure, in general, is the one who loses the negotiation. The reasons for this are unknown but it is the case. Employers will be sneaky and say “What is your salary expectation” which makes us all feel so giddy and happy that the employer is asking that. Dont be fooled! They are not a charity for jobseekers.

If an employer asks you that, I recommend saying that you are very interested to know what they had in mind for this role based on your skills and experience, and that you are flexible with regards to pay negotiation. In essence, your saying that you want them to put the cards on the table first because it is their job, their company and you are happy to work around them.