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Negociate your salary

entretien lors du Forum entreprises 2016
If you have a job interview coming up, you’ll want to give yourself the best possible chance of getting the pay you deserve. It’s never easy to talk about pay during an interview—especially when it comes to negotiating your first salary... So we’ve put together some advice to help you get ready.

Estimate your salary for the type of position you are targeting

Do some research. You can get salary surveys and information from: 

Specialised websites: 

The company’s collective bargaining agreement:

-> it may be available on the website Legifrance

The annual Sciences Po graduate employability survey

The pay and conditions mentioned on job listings that match your search criteria

A Sciences Po alumnus working for the target employer organisation and/or in similar functions and industry

This list is not exhaustive, but it is enough for you to determine a salary range for the type of position you’re after, in a given sector, with similar functions and responsibilities.

Estimate your own needs

It is essential to work out how much you actually need to get paid to cover all your everyday expenses (rent, food, transport, etc.). That way you will be able to decide on the minimum salary you can accept and be ready to turn down anything lower. 


How do you raise the subject of pay in an interview?

If the recruiter doesn’t bring the subject up or ask you what sort of salary you have in mind, don’t give a specific answer until you have received a real job offer, or else suggest a salary range rather than a specific number.

Net monthly salary or annual gross salary?

In general, recruiters discuss pay in terms of gross annual salary, not net monthly salary. So make sure you prepare your salary ranges in gross annual salary.

Also, specify whether the gross annual salary you’re proposing is for 12 or 13 months (the latter means you get an extra month of salary as an end-of-year bonus).

What if the pay offer is lower than you had hoped for?

If the salary scales of the employer organisation are set by collective agreement, your margin for negotiation will be small.

If this is not the case or if the negotiation hasn’t gone your way, be diplomatic, keep an open mind and be sure to consider the other benefits the employer is offering.

Consider the whole package

In addition to salary, find out what benefits the employer offers: the conditions for getting bonuses and pay increases, an extra (13th) month of salary, profit sharing, incentives, meal vouchers, reimbursement of transport costs, company car, health coverage, paid leave, etc.

Take time to think about it

In general, the pay level is not set during the first interview. If the employer wants to hire you, you’ll usually be given time to think about it. If not, don’t hesitate to ask for some time before accepting the final compensation package.

A few negotiation tips

You can always negotiate your salary at an interview by committing yourself to credible, data-driven results based on your accomplishments in your previous position or internship.

If you are hired but the offer is below your expectations, you can envisage conditions for a raise with the employer—for example, at the end of the trial period, or based on objectives or performance.


Last modified 2020-08-20
Victoire est étudiante du master politiques publiques (Ecole d'affaires publiques). Elle a rejoint en janvier 2023 la Direction de l’Engagement de Paris 2024 pour un stage aux côtés des équipes du Label Terre de Jeux 2024. Focus sur ses missions en lien avec les collectivités, pour faire vivre les Jeux dans les territoires.
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