Salary negotiations can be a confusing and ambiguous process for any working professional. Thankfully, many graduates will be able to avoid this process completely as it is common for trainee schemes, in particular, to have set and non-negotiable employment terms. However, there are times when a company may ask you to set your own salary expectations. Most typically this will occur either with vacancies within smaller organisations or if you are using recruitment consultants to aid you with your job search. In these circumstances it is best to be prepared for this question should it arise.
Clarify what you can upfront
While detailed discussions around salary are often best left to a point later down the recruitment process, there is no point spending time on a potential opportunity where your salary expectations are clearly out of line with what they are prepared to give. Most companies will be very upfront about the salary, or salary range, on offer and it will be stated on the job advertisement. But if it isn’t, it is wholly acceptable for you to try and pin them down on this. If you are working through a recruitment agency, this is a fairly straightforward discussion for you to have with them. It gets a little more tricky if you have approached the organisation directly, but speaking to (or emailing) HR should bring you some clarity. If they won’t give you a direct figure you can always trying approaching them by saying “my salary expectations are around the x mark – can you let me know if this is in line with what is on offer?”