Discussing salary at an interview is not an easy thing to do and many interviewees get stressed out contemplating the question, “What type of salary are you looking for?” This is a question that is never easy to answer. It takes a certain amount of knowledge and insider know-how to be able to know when the appropriate time is to discuss money as opposed to when it is not. Knowing how to broach the subject can also be complicated as well.

A rule of thumb to follow, no matter what type of job you are being interviewed for, is to never inquire about salary too soon. According to career consultant Jack Chapman, author of the book, “Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute,” timing is the name of the game when it comes to negotiating salary. The appropriate time to discuss salary is after the deal has been clinched and the interviewee is told that he is the eligible candidate for the job. Do not even touch on the topic of money until you know that they really want what you have to offer. If you bring up salary up too soon, you might be eliminated from the job competition without even realizing it.

According to Deb Koen, vice president of a nonprofit group in Rochester, New York called Career Development Services and author of the book, “Career Choice, Change and Challenge,” the number one mistake that interviewees make is bringing up the discussion of money too soon. This makes the person appear hungrier for the money than for the job, and this is not going to bode well for your job prospects.

Sometimes an interviewer will catch the job applicant off guard and bring up salary early on in the interview. If this happens, then the best approach for the interviewee is to change the subject as politely as he or she is able to. There is nothing wrong with taking this approach. In fact, it is considered a strategic move and very business savvy. Wait until you know the company wants you and then they will take the necessary steps to make sure that they can get you and keep you. Use a statement such as, “I do not want to fence myself in with regards to salary right now. If you do not mind, I would like to focus on the value that I can bring to your company.”

Always do plenty of research before you go into the interview and hone your skills at negotiation. Find out what the going rate is for the position you are about to be interviewed for and also what the going rate is for the amount of job experience you have. Use the Internet as a resource as well. Check websites such as Salary.com, which can give you an idea of the salary range that you are looking at. When you are given an offer, sit and mull it over for a few minutes and then begin the process of negotiation if it is called for.