Discussing salary

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Discussions about salary play an important role in establishing healthy workplace relationships but approaching them can seem daunting. That’s why we decided to highlight some of the pitfalls when discussing salary and provide some useful tips to help you conduct salary negotiations like a pro.

Why discussing salary is important

There are a few factors that candidates need to consider when applying for a role—the role, the company, and the salary.
Regardless of whether it’s a position in a Truck or Agricultural dealership, salary is an important factor across all types of dealerships. Although most people find discussing salary awkward as it’s one of the most quoted reasons for leaving a role, there’s good reason not to avoid it.
With the amount of time we spend at work, it’s important to have a job you enjoy. However, you can’t forget that the core reason each of us go to work each day is to earn a living and if you weren’t getting paid to do your role, you probably wouldn’t do it.

As a central element of every employment relationship, salary needs to be discussed openly from early on to ensure that everyone’s on the same page and avoid any perceptions of inequity or being undervalued.

Establishing your value

Before commencing any discussions about salary, you need to get an accurate understanding of your worth in the job market by researching what others in similar roles within the industry are earning.

A few ways you can do this include:

  • Looking at job ads for similar roles which quote a salary.
  • Visiting job boards to access industry-average data. Use your judgement when doing this, as data may not be industry-specific (e.g. data for a ‘Sales Consultant’ role may not be specific to the dealership industry and include data for Sales Consultant roles in other industries).
  • Contacting recruitment agencies. Some agencies conduct annual salary reviews which look at current salary trends which can provide some valuable insights. You can read ours from last Financial Year here.

Raising the topic of salary in your current role

If you’ve been in your current role for a while and aren’t entirely happy with what you’re earning, it’s time to raise the topic of salary. While it can be a tough conversation to have, it’s always best to raise it rather than becoming quietly disgruntled while your manager is left in the dark.
While the dynamics in each workplace is different, it’s generally best to request a private one-on-one meeting with your manager. If you raise it in a public forum in front of other staff members (even in a humorous manner), it’s unlikely to reflect well on you.
Conduct some research before the meeting about industry-average salaries which you can use to support your position.
The way you phrase the issue will also have a big impact. Rather than saying, “I think I should be getting paid more”, try phrasing it similar to “What do I need to do to be able to get this salary?”. This will frame your request in a more positive light and demonstrate your willingness to put in whatever it takes to get to that goal.

Being open and upfront about your career aspirations and what you want to achieve can also be helpful as it gives your manager a better understanding of where you want to go, while demonstrating your commitment to the company.

Discussing salary in an interview for a new role

Every candidate wants to know what salary is on offer, but it’s important to avoid raising it too soon in an interview. Not only will it set the wrong tone, but it can come across as rude and aggressive.
Job interviews are akin to courtship; you first need to build a relationship with the hiring manager. You need to convince them that they want you for the role.
Raising the topic too soon before you’ve demonstrated what value you can add to the dealership will only make it difficult for the employer to justify paying a premium. On the flip side, if you’ve already shown them what you can bring to the dealership, you’ll have more strength to back your claims for a higher salary.
Discussing salary
Save the topic of salary until the end of the interview. When you’ve been in an interview for around 45 minutes and you get the feeling it’s going to wrap up soon, that’s a good time to raise it.
It’s also important to phase it well. Some good approaches include asking, “What do you have in mind in terms of salary for this position?”, “Do you have a budget laid out for this role?” or “What are you looking to pay for the position?”.

While you don’t need to have a salary negotiation during the first interview, you do at least need to get an indication of salary so you know where to start from.

Negotiating a salary offer

 Salary negotiations can seem intimidating and if you’re unprepared, you may find yourself agreeing to an outcome you’re not happy with. 
Here are a few valuable tips to help you navigate the negotiation process:

  • Ask for more than you want, but within reason – You need to leave yourself a little wriggle room to be able to come back a bit and find a mutually acceptable outcome (asking for about $5k more than what you’d like is generally a good approach).
  • Focus discussions on ‘Base Salary’ – clarify whether any offers are including or excluding superannuation and other benefits, as the difference in outcomes based on this simple misunderstanding could be significant.
  • Have a clear figure in mind – Have a clear figure in mind when you walk into the interview and stick to it. Avoid stating a salary range, as the employer is automatically going to go to the lower end of the range.
  • Be firm, but respectful – If the employer offers something well below your expectations, be firm about what you’re looking for while remaining respectful. Something like, “I’d really love to work here, but I was really hoping to get X amount” is an honest approach that will get everyone on the same page. They may even be willing to offer a bit more or add some additional incentives.
  • Do your research – Make sure you’re prepared with real-life data which reflects what others in similar roles within the industry are earning to justify your claims.
  • Prioritise your requests – Really consider what’s important to you. While salary is important, it isn’t the only element of the role and there may be other conditions or benefits you can negotiate on.
  • Really listen to the other party – Try to understand their position, as there are usually rational reasons behind their decision.
  • Don’t make it personal – Avoid quoting personal reasons to justify the figure you’re asking for. Instead, highlight your worth based solely on your skills and experience.
Teamrecruit is Australia’s most established recruitment agency specialising in truck, earthmoving and agricultural machinery dealerships in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Find out more about Teamrecruit and how we support employers and candidates in the dealership industry.

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