Monday, 9 May 2016

How to respond to a salary question

Anon asks...

How do I respond to the salary question as a potential intern?

I am a law student and going to make my first internship abroad in a big law firm in Switzerland. They asked me about my expectation of the salary, I didn't even expect that this internship would be paid. What can I say?

The Naked Listener writes...

In other words, "what are your salary requirements?"

Always kick off with the feel-good phrase "I ask only for a moderate pay" -- meaningless, of course, but sets a nice tone for starting negotiations. You're an intern, so you can't expect a full-fledged lawyer's remuneration package. You want to get your foot in the door first, so let's not haggle over prices. The door first, the money afterwards (or later).

Once they offer you "X" amount, then start showing your "commitment to the cause" with this spiel:-

"That's very kind of you. I would really like to be 100% into the firm when over there, so this level will be reasonably enough to get by for a foreigner like me in Switzerland, yes?"

Hopefully, they'll be honest with you at that point. If they say something like "No, you'll have to cover your expenses with [freelancing]" then the decision will be made for you to take up or reject.

But much more importantly, will the firm offer you paid accommodation? If you're there and you have to fork out for quarters, then it's an impossible job. (You may or may not still take up the offer because of this.)

Some extra tips:-

31 Dec 2014