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My Next Move: How much am I worth?

My Next Move: How much am I worth?

We ask Naiman Clarke private practice consultant Andrew Taylor how to get the salary you want. A legal recruiter is privy to a lot of confidential information - a candidate's remuneration being…

We ask Naiman Clarkeprivate practice consultant Andrew Taylor how to get the salary you want.

A legal recruiter is privy to a lot of confidential information - a candidate's remuneration being one of them.

It is imperative in our position that we are provided with a candidate's current salary and of course their salary expectations. The question, 'How how much are you currently earning?' expectedly yields a variety of different responses. For every candidate that is grossly underpaid there is bound to be a candidate that is overpaid.

The next question, 'What are you salary expectations?' is never answered quickly. There is often a fairly lengthy pause followed by a response of 'I was hoping you could help me with that'.

Unfortunately, there is no quick formula to calculate expectations. From experience, there is a variety of variables that come into play from the clients' perspective that will dictate how much a candidate is 'worth'.

Obvious factors include years of post-admission experience; relevant exposure to the particular area of law and the tier of firm the candidate is coming from. Less striking reasons that may influence remuneration include time out of the workforce; several job changes in a relatively short period of time as well as a change of jurisdiction.

The general rule of thumb that candidates try to adhere to is that they will move for a 10 per cent increase on top of their current salary. However, if you are being underpaid, a 10 per cent increase may still leave you disappointed. Moreover, if your remuneration is generous, a 10 per cent rise on top of what you are currently earning may make you too 'expensive' for the potential employer.

So what should you do? Be flexible, without being overly malleable.

If your pre-planned response to the question of salary expectation in a job interview is 'market rate', then you need to be prepared to justify why you are in line with the market. Often we advise candidates to have a figure in mind that would be the lowest that they would 'happily' move for. This ensures that neither the candidate nor the client's time is wasted.

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