Never bring up salary at the end of an interview. Always wait until the interviewer brings it up. Ideally the employer will make a proposal, but in many cases you will have to give an idea of your global expectation and/or current salary package.

The best way to go about is to first ask more information about the general package foreseen by the employer. Does he offer other forms of remuneration besides a gross salary? For example: commission, company bonuses, meal vouchers, group or hospital insurance, net expense reimbursements, a company car, a fuel card, a mobile phone, laptop, internet connection, 13th or 14th month, etc.

In salary negotiations, do not set one (gross) amount when you mention your expectations. It is best to first give the employer an idea about your current salary and then move on to your expectations. Work with a margin in your expectations, depending on the extra-legal benefits. This way you have negotiation space, and seem more flexible.

Not all positions are open to salary negotiation. In case this is not possible (because of set scales in the company), the employer will let you know. You will get an immediate proposal, and they will ask you if this is within your expectations. When you receive a proposal, and it is not clear to you if this is open to negotiation, just ask.

In salary negotiations, always keep the following in mind:

  • Salary is not the only thing. Take into account other factors important to you (hours, possibilities for education or growth, commute, job content…). For your dream job you may need to compromise.
  • Look at it from a career perspective view, rather than a single job change: by making this job change, how will my career benefit from it in a long-term perspective? Sometimes taken a small step back in salary, but broadening your experience, can be a strategic decision towards your final career goal.
  • Be honest, also about your previous salary. Some companies ask for a salary printout from your previous company before making a proposal.
  • Take the total package into account, not just the gross salary but also extra-legal benefits.
  • Did you have a higher expectation than the offer, Keep talking with the employer. Make yourself a partner and proactively propose things to compensate a lower gross salary.
  • Are you eligible for some kind of employment measure? This can be an interesting decrease in cost for the employer.