How to handle the “salary expectation” question in an interview

A little homework goes a long way in getting you through the last hurdle of getting a job.

Salary expectations is a question that will crop up if it has not been specified in the job description. Here are some strategies to handle this question as it seem to faze a lot of people

Career coach Joyel Crawford said she asks this question to gauge a job candidate’s expectations relative to the budget allocated for the role. 

Hence, if the answer is above the budget then it could disqualify you from the job.

This question is more about finding a salary match, adds Crawford.

Answer For Salary Expectations

Answer For Salary Expectations

About Salary Expectations

Discussing salary early on ensures neither the candidate nor the company will “waste time and effort on several rounds of interviews to find out that the salary is wildly off from what you want,” said Muse career coach Jennifer Fink and CEO of Fink Development. “Ideally, employers and recruiters would be upfront with [salary] information and volunteer it first, but that’s not often the case,” Fink said.

Keep in mind that “What are your salary expectations?” is a different question from “What is your current salary?” which is illegal in some states.

Research About Expected Salary

Do a little research on the job before deciding on a number. 

What is your job title? Where is it located? Your years of experience and what is the general range that people in the same job are drawing.

This information can be dug out from salary websites like payscale and paychek.

Use multiple sources to get a good sense of the going rate for the kind of job you’re interviewing for and take into account any additional skills and qualifications you have. Also consider the size of the company, the industry, and the location. This should give you a reasonable idea of what you can expect a company to offer to pay you.

Take into account your needs too— your predicted expenses and goals. If you are moving to a news city, there will relocation charges, commute expenses, renting a house, school fees, etc—all has to be factored in.

Crawford also recommends thinking beyond base pay alone. “Ask yourself: What do you value?” This might include stock options, paid time off, a yearly bonus, commuter benefits, or childcare benefits.

You might decide to compromise if good healthcare benefits and education care perks come with the package.

Salary Range Check With Industry Standards

Use all the above-mentioned factors to come up with an acceptable salary range for the questions about your salary expectations.

Experts also recommend the same. By giving a salary range, you show that you’re willing to be flexible and work with your prospective employer.

And when you give a number or a range that also conveys that you value yourself and have done the due diligence to arrive at those figures.

The downside here is that by committing to a salary figure early in the interview you might undersell yourself. But the chances are if your research is right you are very unlikely to make the mistake of asking for less. And if you have asked for too much that means, the job was not for you as it does not match your expectations.

Expected Salary Answer

It is also prudent to point to the interviewer that the salary point is not the only consideration for you and you are looking for a greater opportunity to improve and move forward in your position.

Emphasize on your skillset and reaffirm what you are bringing to the table that justifies you asking for that salary.

You can also respond to “What are your salary expectations?” by simply asking what the company is looking to pay.  Ask what their allocated budget is or range for the position.

If it’s lower, then you can say I was looking for something in the range of X to Y. And enquire about the health benefits, social security and pension fund.

Remember that you bring value to any company you work for. The whole point of the research exercise is to figure out what value you put to it and telling potential employers will ultimately get the pay you deserve.

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Anna Verasai
Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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