Career Track Coaching

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How should I answer: “What Are Your Salary Expectations”

Many clients ask how to answer the question about salary expectations. It’s difficult to know what to say, no matter what point in your career. You don’t want to put yourself out of the running, but you also don’t want to lowball your desired salary.  Interviewers want to know the answer to get a sense of whether they can afford to hire you or not.

Do your homework before the interview, so you know what the range is and what you are worth. While you want to shoot high, you don’t want to shoot so high you put yourself out of range. On the flip side, if your target salary is too low, you leave the interviewer room to go even lower.

It is difficult to decide what you want to ask for. To prepare, you should have a sense of what the market rate is for someone with your level of experience in the industry and geography you are in. There are some websites to review like Glassdoor.com, Salary.com, Payscale.com, and Indeed.com that all post salary data. Salaries should be similar across most organizations but will vary based on experience level, size of the company, and location.

Here are examples of possible responses:

My salary range is flexible. I would like to be compensated equitably for my experience and stellar track record. However, I’m open to discussing numbers once I understand more about the position.

My salary requirements are flexible. I do have many years of experience in the field that will allow me to be up and running quickly. I look forward to discussing in more detail the position at the company and we can go from there.

I’m open to discussing what a fair salary looks like. However, based on my previous salary, my knowledge of the industry, and knowing the cost of living in the area, I’d expect a salary in the range of $X to $Y. I’m open to discussing this further.

Tips:

  • Be flexible
  • Offer a range
  • Think about your current salary but know your worth, realize you could be underpaid
  • Highlight your skills
  • Be prepared to negotiate

Key Takeaways:

  • Do your research-spend time researching salaries in the industry and geography you are in
  • Know your threshold-know how much you need to live and what is the lowest salary you’d be willing to accept
  • Be ready to negotiate-employers expect candidates to counter, so prepare for what you think you should ask for additionally. Depending on the level, I’d stick to $5K-$10K
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