At the end of most job interviews, the recruiter will turn the tables on you and inquire about salary expectations. If you’ve been successfully answering questions thus far, don’t let this question stymie your chances of securing the job. Doing your research will go a long way toward ending the interview on a positive note.
What are your salary expectations?
Employers use this question to confirm the salary range that’s required to lure a highly-qualified and desired candidate, but it’s also designed to weed out candidates requesting a salary that is out of the company’s range. The best way to answer this question is to do your homework. Analyze the salary for the job on a national level and then narrow the scope to assess regional variations. In your interview be prepared to provide a salary range that you are targeting, for example, $90,000 to $100,000.
Forbes recommends that you “determine your walk away number and put down a salary 10-15% higher. That way, you know you’ll be okay with the lowest salary offered to you.” Honing job search skills like negotiating salary takes time and practice. Fox Business advises candidates to “give yourself some wiggle room on the question by saying you’re willing to negotiate on ‘total compensation’ … perks such as vacation days or flexible work arrangements that might make the job more worthwhile even if the pay is lower than you want.”
- Rehearse your response to deliver a confident, concise answer. Wavering on the question only serves to show that you’re not confident about your value, and gives the hiring manager the opportunity to negotiate the number down.
- Realize it’s a starting point to the conversation. When you’re offered the job, you can start negotiating (click for 7 Tips for Negotiating Your Next Job Offer).
- Know before you go. There’s no sense in interviewing with a company that will never deliver on your bottom-line salary range. Before you go to an interview, get familiar with its benchmarking strategies. Companies will consider average pay of competitors, candidate experience and education, as well as averages across the country, to come up with a salary range. If a company is competing for top-level talent in the industry, they’ll pay higher. If they’re not, don’t expect a company to meet the upper end of the average salary range for the job.
- Convey your value. If the recruiter pushes back on your answer to the salary question, be prepared to respond with a statement that conveys the value you bring to the table. Provide an example of your achievements and successes related to the hiring manager’s needs, and you’ll be able to offset pushbacks regarding salary.
- Start low. Interviewers and hiring managers will typically start with a low number, fully expecting candidates to negotiate a higher salary. So when you’re asked about your salary expectations, start at the bottom of the range you’re able to work within. Then, if offered the job, don’t be afraid to negotiate to ultimately get the salary you need and deserve.
Tackle the salary question with ease by researching industry averages, understanding benchmarks, practicing your answer, and getting ready to respond to pushbacks. Keep in mind this most valuable piece of advice when it comes to talking about salary: Don’t be the one to bring it up – let the interviewer or hiring manager talk salary first or you could be quickly ushered out of the door.
Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional. She specializes in coaching professional and executive clients and helping advance their careers. Copyright JL Careers Inc. All rights reserved.
Wishing you much career success!
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional