Interviewing Help: Discussing Your Hourly Wage

Discussing your hourly wage at an interview can be a bit nerve wracking. If you're talking about a brand new job, the last thing you want is to discuss a pay issue. The real issue is that you might find yourself at a real disadvantage, because you don't know what the job's worth on an hourly wage. There's a way out of this unnecessary situation. The wage issue can be pinned down but you have to do some research first.

Hourly Wage Discussion Issues

There's another situation to consider, too. You don't want to talk yourself out of a job, either. You need to consider other things than just getting a figure for the hourly wage:

  • If there's no salary quoted- What's the employer paying others in this type of job? What's the employer paying others in this type of job? Check out the employer's job ads, see what figures have been quoted.
  • What's a definite upper limit? The upper limit, if there's a salary quote, is the top figure. Don't assume the employer will go above that, because the figure is part of the budget. You can pick an hourly rate by matching with similar jobs from other employers.
  • Can you justify asking for top dollar? If so, be prepared to back it up with some qualifications, facts and figures.
  • What are your minimum needs? This is your own bottom line. You need to cost a figure for a weekly wage after tax that covers your needs.

Negotiating Hourly Wages

You need to quote a figure which is in the ballpark. You also need to get something above your own minimum. You will need to have a convincing argument and if you can provide the employer with supporting documentation that helps as well.

Market rate

This is the average salary for different types of work. You can find this information online, but be realistic when quoting a figure. Don't ask for an unreasonable amount. You can ask for an amount a bit above the average, to give yourself some leeway in negotiations, but don't put yourself in a position where you're seen as too expensive.


Qualifications are also a factor in hourly wage negotiations. A degree, license, certification or other qualification increases your entitlements. Again, you can research the median rates. These are your best starting figures, and they can't be considered unreasonable.

Incremental hourly wage

Increments are the increases you get in your salary over years of service. If you're a very experienced person, you can ask for increments as part of your wage. If you've got ten years experience, you're worth more. You shouldn't have to wait years for increments from the baseline position wage.

Remember, when discussing your hourly wage, that you're putting a value on your time and your skills. That's another consideration. If you're really good at your job, you're doing yourself a disservice by devaluing your work.

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