Articles From the Team

The ultimate interview curveball question: What are your salary expectations?

Questions surrounding salary expectations can often be quite tricky to answer. From the perspective of the interviewer, the answer represents a benchmark figure to work from should things progress but it also can provide insight into an individual’s suitability for a role. On the other hand, it can be a difficult question for an interviewee to answer when put on the spot as an individual will want to secure the best salary and package possible whilst at the same time, not pricing themselves out of an already competitive market. This blog will assess why this question is asked by an interviewer, how you can prepare an answer and some responses that can be given.

Why are they asking?

Some potential employers will be asking because they simply want to understand the salary that you would require if you were successful in their process. However, this question can also provide an answer that gives insight into an individual’s motivations. For example, salary expectations might be lower for lawyers that see the opportunity as an improvement on their current position (e.g. those who wish to retrain/change disciplines, work closer to home, have flexible working arrangements) whereas other lawyers that are comfortable in their current role and are looking for a ‘step up’ might demand a higher salary. Understanding these subtle differences enable employers to understand where an individual is in their career, their motivations for looking for a new role and ultimately, how an individual will ‘fit’ into their team and business.

How do you prepare for this?

Ask your recruiter! They are the experts on this topic and should be able to advise you accurately. If you are not working with one, make sure you do your research on salaries in the market for the role, level and type of business you are looking for in your next move. Each year the in-house team at BCL Legal creates a salary survey for each of the locations in the U.K and any of us would be more than happy to send you a copy (please ask if you would like a copy - 2017 is coming soon!) This will help give you an overview of similar lawyers in the market and is a good way to benchmark yourself when thinking about your salary expectations.

What responses can you give?

If you are working with a recruiter then chances are you will already know what the salary and package is. However, if you don’t know, it is a bit like sticking your finger in the air and plucking a figure from it! A ‘safe’ answer is to request that you are paid in line with the market rate for your level of experience. However, if you do have figures in mind, that is also worth mentioning – just make sure you have done your research and that you are happy with the number you are suggesting. Bear in mind that it might be tougher to negotiate away from this if you wish down the line.

The benefits of working with a recruiter with regards to salary expectations are clear. Firstly, recruiters are experts on salaries in the market and will be able to offer you clear and accurate advice. Secondly, having a ‘middle-man’ will allow for effective negotiation and provide a voice of reason between a lawyer and organisation. We at BCL Legal are more than happy to discuss this through with you in more depth. If you would like more advice, please feel free to get in touch with any of our team.

For more information contact Liam Digan at BCL Legal.

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