During job interviews, you discuss the position you applied for, your professional background, your skills, your interests and then the famous question “What are your salary expectations?”.
You may also encounter this question when you are going through a job application.
It may be very delicate to answer this question whether it is during an interview or on an application. Nevertheless, it is an inevitable one and is often asked. It may be very useful for employers to eliminate candidates with overly high expectations and it helps then know what they will need to offer you if they decide to hire you.
To answer this question could be very tricky because if you say a high number eventually you are out of the running and if you give a low figure, you have undervalued your work and your potential contribution to the company.
Below are some tips to successfully answering this question.
On Job Applications
You cannot avoid this question when you go through a job application. If you leave it blank, some employers may not even consider you. Therefore, it is always a good thing to write something down.
- Analyze how competitive the market is for your expertise so that you can have an idea of the number you put down. If the market is saturated then you do not have a large margin. Make sure you conduct a research to know how in-demand your skills are and what the typical compensation package is.
- Consider your current salary and typical salary progression for the business you are in. If changing businesses, check the progression within the new business. Depending on that, you may have to aim lower or higher.
- Put down a salary 10-15% higher so that you will be fine with the lowest salary offered to you.
- If you have to set a range of salaries, always put its lower end a number you are at ease with.
- In an interview, try to postpone answering the question by concentrating on asking the interviewer for more details about the position and scope of responsibility. Try to understand what you are responsible for. However, if the interviewer insists you give him a number, below are a few things to consider:
- Just as you conduct market research before writing down a salary expectation on a job application, look up salaries at the company you are applying for. You can use many sites that provide you with detailed information on salaries for either the exact position you are interviewing for or comparable positions.
- Make sure you know what the total compensation package is before revealing your salary expectations. Compensation is more important than salary and sometimes it is better to focus on negotiating it rather than your paycheck.
- Try not to say any numbers you are not at ease with because if the employer offers you a salary at the lowest end of your range, you do not have much to negotiate with when it comes to getting a higher salary.
- Relax, calm down and do not show too much stubbornness at this phase of the interview process. Be confident and flexible until you reach the stage where an offer has been made. By then you will know what counts most for you and what you can negotiate to get the best compensation package.