When you’re in the midst of a job interview, one question that might cause you to sweat is “What are your salary expectation?” You don’t want to say something too high and exclude yourself from a job you desire or need, and you don’t want to say something too low and not get paid as much as you deserve.
You are not alone in your dread of this question. Many job candidates find themselves worrying that if they lowball a figure, they’re leaving money on the table. But if you give a number that’s too high, you might price yourself out of consideration for the role. So how do you answer this question without putting your foot in your mouth?
How To Answer “What Are Your Salary Expectations” Question
The best way to answer the salary expectations question in a job interview is, to be honest, open, and direct. You want to avoid giving a range because that could come back to bite you later on.
The interviewer might say “Well, our budget for this position was $X, but since you said your salary expectation is $Y-$Z, we can’t offer you the job.” So, be honest about your salary expectation, but don’t lowball yourself.
5 Steps for Answering “What Are Your Salary Expectations” Question
If you’re not sure how to answer the salary expectations question, here are five steps you can take:
1 Do your research
The first step is to do your research. You want to find out what the average salary is for the position you’re applying for in the city you’ll be working in. Once you have that number, you can start to formulate your answer.
Additionally, look at the industry standards for salary ranges. This will give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of salary, and it will help you determine if the position you’re applying for is paying at or above the industry average.
Finally, don’t forget to factor in your experience level. If you’re a recent graduate with no work experience, you can expect to be paid less than someone who has been working in the same field for several years.
2 Consider the whole package
When you’re thinking about salary, it’s important to consider the whole package. In addition to salary, there are other things to think about like benefits, vacation time, and 401k matching. All of these things should be taken into consideration when you’re thinking about salary.
Also, ask about bonuses and commissions. These are often negotiable, and if you’re not sure what to ask for, you can always start high and negotiate down from there.
Remember, it’s not just about the salary. It’s about the whole package.
3 Think about your needs
The next step is to think about your needs. What is the minimum salary you would accept? This number is going to be different for everyone, and it’s important to consider your own personal financial situation.
Examples would be your monthly rental amount, how much debt you’re currently carrying, and whether or not you have any dependents. All of these things will affect how much salary you need to live comfortably.
4 Provide a range
Once you’ve done your research and thought about your needs, you should be able to provide a salary range. This will give you some flexibility when it comes to negotiation, and it will show that you’re willing to be reasonable.
When providing a range, make sure the top of the range is realistic. If you ask for too much, you might price yourself out of the job. But if you ask for too little, you could end up leaving money on the table.
The best way to determine a realistic range is to look at the salaries of people who are already doing the job you want. This will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Keep in mind that your salary range should be flexible. You might not get your first choice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate.
If the employer comes back with an offer that’s below your range, be prepared to counter-offer.
5 Be prepared to negotiate
The final step is to be prepared to negotiate. If the salary they’re offering is lower than your expectations, be prepared to negotiate. There’s a lot of room for negotiation when it comes to salary, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve.
Negotiate based on your skills, experience, and the value you bring to the company. If you’re able to effectively communicate your worth, you should be able to get the salary you deserve.
Keep in mind that salary is not the only thing you can negotiate. You can also negotiate things like vacation time, signing bonuses, and stock options. So, if the salary they’re offering is not what you wanted, don’t be afraid to ask for more.
Answering the question of “what are your salary expectations” can be tricky. But if you do your research, think about your needs, and be prepared to negotiate, you should be able to get the salary you deserve.
Remember, every situation is different, so there’s no one perfect answer to this question. Just be honest, be prepared, and be willing to negotiate. With a little bit of effort, you should be able to get the salary you want.