Answering Employers About Your Expected Salary


How to Answer Expected Salary - When you are preparing for a job interview, you can find many tips that can help you going through the hiring process. As many things can happen during your job search. After reading several articles that help you with common questions, you come across the thoughts of what if they ask you a more specific question?

Among many possibilities, one of them could be about your expected salary. Usually it’s a sign that the hiring manager is taking your application more seriously now. They are weighing to hire you now. Before this potential employer decides you’re the right candidate, they want to know what your answer will be. If you give the right answer, it can lead you to salary negotiation, then finally secure your new job.

Now that you know there's a chance you will be asked about salary expectations, the question can come in various ways. If this is your first job interview, your potential employers usually asks your expected salary. But if it’s not your first job, the first question regarding this would be about your current salary. However, it will be followed with the same question: expected salary.

By being aware of this question, you can learn how to answer the expected salary question in the most proper way that leads you to get hired eventually. To find out, read below.

Before jumping into how to answer the salary expectations then salary negotiations, you have to understand the reasons they ask you that question in the first place. You need to know the expectation of the hiring manager in order to give the right response.

1. The seller offers the price first

The seller is usually the first to offer a price to the buyer. The reason is that the seller is the one to know the value of the item they sell. This is an analogy that can be used for the case between the hiring manager and candidate. In this case, job candidates are the sellers while hiring managers are the buyers.

Job candidates offer their skills (what they sell) to the prospective employer to hire them (buy what they sell). As a candidate, you will convince them about how your skills can contribute to the company you’re applying to. Then you offer them your value (the price) by considering your skills level.

If you are in the candidate position, it’s important to notice you should not undervalue your skills. You need to offer a salary expectations that fits your skills and prospective workload. In other words, you don’t want to be underpaid. So you need to offer a fair salary range first. As soon as you tell the hiring manager your offer, there’s no turning back. You will have to keep going with the conversation until an agreement is reached.

2. Companies want to hire the best candidate for the lowest price

The first point is related to the second point. The hiring managers wouldn’t mention this case obviously. At the end of the day, they will hire candidates who they can afford. For example, if there are five candidates with similar skill levels, the company will hire the candidate who offers lower pay.

According to Biron Clark, a career coach and the founder of Career Sidekick, you will scare the potential employers if you put a number that is too high. If you mention a number that is too low in the beginning, it will make it harder to negotiate later on in the process. He also added to never ever provide a concrete number during early discussion or on your application.

Now that you know the employer have this tendency, it’s really important to offer a reasonable salary range. You should not offer an unrealistically lower or higher salary but give reasonable range. So the agreed salary wouldn’t be far from your expectation.

1. Research the salary trends

If you don’t know the reasonable range for the job you are applying for, you need to check them first. There are several sites that you can use to make salary range estimation. The proper way to do it is to gather information from several sites. Doing research salaries first can help you in finding the ideal salary for the job offer and enhance the bargaining power possibility in later negotiating salary with your employer.

After that, you will find the average salary for your position and offered skills level. Then you can use the result as a guide to put on your own. Whether you want to put the range number exactly as you found them, or differently, it’s up to you. As you also need to consider such things like the starting salary, market value, and the market rate.

Giving the right range would also give you more leverage. If you set the range lower than the market value, it will be harder for you to further the negotiating the salary. As you place the first offer lower than the market rate, the employer would continue the discussion with the number that you offered. You don't want to end up with lower pay and obviously prefer more pay.

In other words, if you do your research salaries, you will know what a fair salary range look like. It can also help you to find a realistic, reasonable salary range, and the starting salary if you are new in job hunting process and a freshgraduate.

Here’s some of the salary calculator sites you can use as one of the instrument for your career advice.

And here’s little tips to find what you search quickly and relevantly.

  • Filter your search to the job title, career field, location, experience, education level, and special skills.

  • Make sure you are clear on the job description of the title offered because some job titles can be flexible. This flexible type of job title can be tricky but it will not be a problem if you can comprehend each responsibility stated in the job offer. If the lists seem doable, straight-forward, and realistic, you’re all good.

  • The same job title can come with a different salary if the career field is different. For example, sales can work in multiple fields. However, the salary for the position of sales in pharmaceuticals are usually higher because this is a high-demand field. Making you need to find out the salary for the position you’re applying for. It also means that you need to have the industry knowledge in order to find what you are looking for easily.

  • Consider the location. It’s likely that employees tend to earn more if they live in a large city, coastal city, or a tourist destination. By mentioning the location, it will be easier to guess what you will be expecting. The location can also define the cost of living. If your workplace or office is in the center of the town or in the strategic areas, the bigger the cost of living.

  • On Payscale, you have College Return on Investment (ROI) Report option. It can help you to find out the range of salary of degrees from different colleges that can affect your salary. As education level can affect the salary offer.

  • Consider those plenty factors that can determine the entire compensation package for your job to realize work life balance.

2. Give salary range

If the job offer ask you to state your expected salary when applying for the position, give a salary range that you are comfortable with. Do not give a specific number. Also let them know that it’s negotiable so you don’t scare them from the very beginning.

If the employer asks you about your expected salary during the first interaction, you can answer them with a salary range. Givea range to the salary expecatations can boost the chance of you negotiating the expected salary with your prospective employer because it can develop the topic to be discussed properly.

Giving a salary range would also give the sense that you’re flexible and this is the quality an employer will appreciate. It also leaves room for both to find the middle point that results in a win-win solution for negotiating the salary. You can go with “I think somewhere between A to B.”

3. Ask them the same question

You can do this if you’re still unsure about the expected salary and the employer asks you this in the very first interaction. For your information, if they ask you about your expected salary during the first interaction, you have the right to ask them the same question.

They ask you this question early thinking you have figured out everything about the company and your job to be specific, when you actually haven’t. You definitely can do the same, do it better, diplomatically. You can come up with “May I ask what salary range you’re considering for this position?”

Whatever their answer will be, it leads to several possibilities. First, if their range is above your base salary, thank them for sharing the information then confirm that that’s also your rough expectation. If it’s less than your expectation, tell them that it’s lower but willing to talk further about this.

Though previously mentioned that companies tend to prefer employees that can be paid at lower rates, many of them are ready to offer a better pay for top talent. Since you need the job, it’s better to ensure the discussion about salary doesn’t stop just because it’s lower than your expectation. You can negotiate it with them.

4. Give them concrete range or number

There are several situations that make you eventually need to give them a specific number. Some of them are:

  • When they keep insisting you to give them number

  • When the negotiation takes too long, you need to take initiative to present the concrete offer. At this point, someone has to initiate to end the negotiation with actual solution

  • When you have to go through several steps in job interview, you have to be quick and decisive throughout the answering interview questions process

  • If delay answering questions can decrease the chance of you getting accepted by the employer because the negotiation process start to decline and losing the good vibe to be further the discussion

  • If you’re confident with what you’re doing

Present your answer in a positive manner that will drive you to meet the compensation expectations. You can do it by being honest with your answer, diplomatic, assertive, confident, polite, humble, and friendly. When the potential employer starts pushing you to give a number, it’s likely that he or she wishes this discussion to come to the final agreement quickly.

Here’s several sample answers on the salary expectations question. You can use the examples below as a guide to answer this question for upcoming job interviews.

· I would like to learn more about the specific duties required of this position, which I look forward to in this interview. However, I do understand that positions similar to this one pay in the range of S$3,150 to S$7,600 in our region. With my experience, skills, and certification, I would expect to receive something in the range of S$4000 to S$5000.

· Thank you for asking. I feel that S$98,000 to S$100,000 is in line with the average salary range as a dentist. I also think that it reflects my skills and experience level well. However, I would also like to hear about your salary expectations for this title.

· Thank you for asking. I am actually grateful for the benefits this job offers such as generous paid overtime, accommodation, and medical insurance. That being said, I am expecting my salary for this position to fall between S$2,200 to S$3,550 monthly. My experience in teaching children aged two months to four years in both kindergartens and childcare centers can play a role in educating the children in this organization.

· I am open to discuss salary that is fair for this position. Based on my previous salary, my knowledge of the industry, and my understanding of this field, I would expect a salary in the general range of S$3,150 to S$9,120 monthly.

· It sounds like you are trying to qualify me for a salary expectations. If you want to tell me what that range is, I am happy to tell you it’s in the ballpark figure.

· I just need to be sure the salary expectations works for your requirements so we don’t waste each other’s time.

First, remember when you’re doing salary negotiation, ask them about other benefits that you will receive from the company. Other than salary, consider discussing health benefits, retirement, workplace flexibility, and wellness programs. Also include overtime, medical insurance, vacation, profit sharing, and retirement benefits. By discussing other benefits, both of you can figure out the fair salary that leads to final agreement.

Second, if you feel like the negotiation seems impossible, don’t waste the time. Answering expected salary is not a tight question that can only be answered in limited ways. There are cases where it seems tough for both to reach agreement on salary from the start. If you sense that, end it as soon as possible. Do not waste your time and the employer’s.

The salary expectation questions during job interviews most likely can make the job candidates awkward and uncomfortable to give an answer. It will not be the case if you are aware about this question first. Hopefully this article can help you in preparing your job interview, make your job search process smoother, and give you insights on how to answer salary expectations better.

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