How to Correctly Answer the Salary Question

This question is probably the most straightforward one in an interview, yet the answer is so complicated. It is often difficult to know what to say so you get a job offer that is a win for you and also good for the firm.

It is important to predetermine the answer because more often than not you will be asked. While you do not want to limit yourself on the amount you could get paid, at the same time you do not want to mention something that is out of the organization’s salary range. If your target salary is too low, it leaves the employer room for going even lower, which could lead you to feeling miserable later. A very low salary target could set your qualifications subject to probe since it indicates a lack of confidence.

It is particularly difficult to predetermine an appropriate salary before knowing what the job is, but while there may not be a right answer, there is a way to think around the question, get what you want, and be impressive to your employer.

You ought to have knowledge of what someone in your field and locality typically earns. Although there may be some differences, your salaries should be fairly similar. If the numbers your research is giving you seem off, just follow your intuition so you do not end up giving your interviewer something too low or too high.

The following are three ways through which you can answer interview questions about salary:

Offer a range: Most employers will want to hear you mention numbers. You should aim at offering them a range that has a plus or minus ten- to twenty-thousand dollars. This range is properly created by researching the industry or based on experience.

Show flexibility: Mention a broad answer and say that your salary expectations are in line with qualifications and experience, and if this is the right job for you, coming up with a salary agreement would not be a problem. However, be ready to give a range since even though you emphasize flexibility, employers may still be interested in specific numbers.

Think about your current salary: If you are making a lateral move within your industry, your current salary can help you make an informed response to the salary question unless the company you are interviewing with has a reputation for either very low or very high salaries. Also, factor in the geographical location of the job lest you miss the point of a hardship area.

Be sure to only give numbers you are happy with, highlight your skills, and be ready to negotiate. If you feel that it is time you got a raise, raise your current pay by approximately fifteen percent, but let it be a proper low end for the new job as a beginner. Remember to mention a salary range that is able to meet your most basic financial needs, such as supporting a family if you have one. Be sure to mention your skills and experience in your response in a way such as, “Based on my five years’ experience in this arena, I would expect a salary that ranges between [insert range].”

Finally, be ready to negotiate, an element that many candidates fear because they feel that doing so might cost them a job. However, refrain from asking for a high salary until you actually have an offer to consider.

Another reasonable answer if the interviewers press for numbers could be, “Well, based on my research and understanding, a typical salary is one between [insert range] for the role and its requirements.” Your aim is to show your understanding of what is competitive as opposed to saying what you want.

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