A fairly common question during or sometimes even before a Belgian job interview is: “What are your expectations in regard to salary/wage?”. This is quite a hard one to answer. If you answer with a number way too small you might end up with a salary that is just too low. But if you answer with a number way too high you might not get the job because the company thinks they can never meet your expectations. So how to answer this question in a good way? Here are a few tips:
Brutto and netto
When talking about your wage/salary you should know that in Belgium there is a big difference between your gross or before tax (brutto) and net or after tax (netto) income. The wage type that is discussed during this article and the one you’ll be talking about in your interview, at least most of the times, is the gross/before taxes one. If you want to calculate how this will translate into net income, you can find different online tools. You can find one here.
Find out the average wage in your sector
Doing a bit of research is crucial when you want to be successful at your job interview. As Hassan tells in his interview: “confidence is key” and no better way to get some confidence than with a good preparation.
There are websites that can help you with giving you an indication of what other people in your field are earning. For example: salaris kompas is a tool that helps you get a better idea of what you may expect. It’s in Dutch only, but don’t worry we’ve got you covered:
We recommend clicking on the concise analysis button. This will give you a short overview of what you may expect. The red button will ask you some more questions and will give you a more detailed report.
An answer that always works
Because everybody’s situation is different and it sometimes is really hard to find anything you can compare yourself with, there’s an answer you can almost always use when being asked about your salary expectations. You can simply say (of course you need to tailor this to your personal situation) that you’ve done some research, but since you’re quite new to the Belgian job market you had a bit of a hard time figuring out what to expect. You can say that you expect to receive a fair wage equal to the ones your colleagues have with more or less the same experience and background as you. And if you feel confident just add the number you found when doing your research and say this is what you found online, but that you’re for sure open to talk about it.
Checking your research with reality
Not sure that the number you found is really realistic? Or just want to double check so you can start your interview with the confidence you need? Then feel free to join our Talentree talent network on Facebook and ask away. We can check if your expectations are realistic and you can be helped by other talent that already found a Belgian job or is also searching.
Prepare yourself even better by learning how to sell yourself during your next job interview.
Really want to impress then learn these five Dutch sentences to use at the beginning or the end of your next interview.