There isn’t another job interview question that can make you more uncomfortable than “What salary do you want?” People usually tense up as they are unsure how to answer interview questions regarding the salary.
While it’s illegal in some places, to ask about the current salary, hiring managers still ask about it. And you have to go prepared with what to say when asked about salary. To dodge the questions is a common practice but giving a range can also work, at a later stage.
Techniques vary depending on the situation, and some do away with a ‘modified’ truth. So, let’s see how to answer job interview questions about salary.
‘Salary’ in application form
In the application form, you don’t get a flexibility. You should always find a way to negotiate it in person. Putting a “zero” as the salary expected may help, without annoying the hiring manager. You can also make room for negotiation by putting a salary range (do proper research first).
Until you have a proper conversation with the interviewer, all you can do is to guess the figure. Once the interview starts, you get a better understanding of the job and the responsibilities.
How to discuss salary
You must prepare for the questions related to your talent and skill with continuous practice. But don’t forget your salary. Do some homework on that also before the interview process starts.
This is one complicated question, and if you don’t go as expected, you are out before you know. Even you are not, there always is a risk of getting stuck with an offer lower than what you could have negotiated.
You will be in a better position if you make them realise your worth to their company before they ask “What are your salary requirements?” It’s a good thing though that they asked you the salary question. It shows they may hire you if you proceed in the right direction.
Keep the following key things in mind so that you can get your hands on a ‘perfect’ offer:
1. Avoid answering the question early in the process – Giving a high quote even before the interviewer have understood your potential, may seem out of budget for them. And if you propose a low amount, they may judge your standards. The best option is to ask more about the job and delay the answer. Something like “I am looking for a position suitable for my skills” sounds good at this stage.
It’s in your best interest to have them quote their budget first. It saves you a lot of hassle and puts you in a great position to negotiate.
2. Do some research – Online tools such as Hays and Payscale can help you zero-in your expectations. They can give you an insight on the pay expected in that industry for your position. There may be regional differences which you should carefully consider.
Asking for a high amount won’t do, they may not negotiate at all. And aiming low can be equally harmful. They are not there to spend their resources on someone who doesn’t know their worth. So, get a reasonable salary range according to the market.
3. Do not reveal current salary – At times they may be a bit direct and ask “What do you make now?” Before answering it, consider the privileges you enjoy at the current work. An easy job leaves you underpaid and you may get a 10% raise (just an example) with the new job but tough working conditions. Tell them that this job is different from the one you were doing.
It’s none of their business to know how much you earn. Deflection is your best bet until the interviewers reveals their numbers.
4. Calculations matter – A time will come when you won’t be able to delay further and get away with “I believe you are offering me a competitive value according to the market.”
Based on the market research and your skills, quote a negotiable range. Calculate your expenses and what you would like to save before making the decision.
5. Look for other things – As earlier said, you may be satisfied with less-than-market salary. There are things such as the company’s reputation,
Along with your salary, you may get performance bonuses, health benefits and other reimbursements. Flexible working hours and more holidays also are some of the perks you can enjoy. So, set your priorities right.
An offer is just a starting point. Bargain to get your desired figure. And have the guts to walk away, if it doesn’t seem right.
Know what you are worth.