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Money is a dreaded topic for most people. In fact, a survey by Wells Fargo revealed that 44% of their respondents see money as the most challenging subject to discuss with others. This is consistent with another research done by CMI, revealing money as among the top ten difficult conversations in the workplace. Responding to the money question during a job interview is no different.
For many job seekers, the desired salary question can be tricky to answer. There’s the concern that you’re leaving money on the table if you quote something too low. On the other hand, you also worry that giving a too high figure may hurt your application. For such reasons, learning how to respond appropriately is essential in getting the best outcome possible. So, keep reading as we will share some of the ways on how you can do that effectively.
Importance of Discussing Salary Requirements
Employers generally have a salary range for each role they’re filling in. For this reason, they would generally ask candidates for salary expectations. Doing so gives them a sense of what you need and whether they can afford your help or not. In essence, it also allows them to ensure alignment between candidates’ expectations and the budget allocated for the role early in the process.
Your response also provides employers with a clearer insight into how you value your skills and experience and whether you match the level they need for the position. For example, providing a lowball figure might give them a perception that you have less experience. On the other hand, if your salary requirements are way too high, you might be seen as someone who is overqualified for the position.
As a candidate, discussing your salary requirements is an excellent opportunity to communicate your worth and the range you would be happy with. However, keep in mind that your response could also prohibit you from progressing to the next stage of the hiring process. Nonetheless, this can actually be a good thing. You wouldn’t want a job that doesn’t pay what you deserve, would you?
Identify your Ideal Salary Range Ahead of Time
As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” If you are not prepared to meet a challenge, you have fewer chances of succeeding. The same is true when it comes to communicating your salary requirements. Preparing in advance by figuring out your ideal salary range before the interview maximizes your probability of achieving a positive outcome. This means you need to do your homework. Here’s how.
- Refer to the job posting as some job platforms, like Glassdoor and Indeed, showcase employer-provided salaries.
- Look up your desired job title by name, geographic location, and years of experience using online resources such as Glassdoor, Salary.com, and PayScale.
- Consider your candidate profile, such as experience level, skill set, certifications, and other credentials.
- Factor in perks and benefits and think about how these would affect your salary expectations.
Tips and Tricks for Answering the Desired Salary Question Effectively
Now that you have a clear idea of your ideal salary range, it’s time to put them into words. How you respond to the desired salary question during an interview could dictate whether you will walk out with a job offer or empty-handed. So, keeping the following in mind is imperative when preparing to answer.
1) Deflect the question
Rather than answering the question directly, you can also respond by asking the company’s salary range for the role. This applies when the employer hasn’t provided the salary range for the position through any means. Here is an example of how you can respond.
“My salary requirements are flexible based on the job responsibilities and the total compensation package. It would be helpful if you could provide more details about the expectations and what the company is looking to pay for the position.”
However, don’t think that deflecting the question is an easy tactic to get away with the question. The interviewer may still press you for a specific answer about your salary expectations. So, make sure to be prepared with an appropriate response. In such a case, you may use the examples from tips two to four below.
2) Provide a realistic salary range
If the employer asks for specific numbers, avoid quoting a single fixed number. Instead, provide a realistic salary range based on the data you’ve gathered from your research. This showcases you’ve done your homework and know your market value. Additionally, it shows flexibility and helps you find compromise more easily.
When providing a salary range, we recommend asking something toward the top of your salary expectations. For example, you are personally looking for an average salary of $110,000 to $120,000, and the company’s budget is $100,000 to $125,000. You could provide a range of $115,000 to $125,000. This approach increases your likelihood of getting the salary you would be happy with even if the company ends up offering something below the range of what you initially quoted.
Here’s what it looks like in practice.
“Based on my research and understanding of the role, marketplace, and value I could offer to your company, my salary expectations fall in the range of $115,000 to $125,000. I am open to discussing this range with you.”
3) Consider non-monetary elements
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, benefits make up 31.3% of an employee’s compensation. So, including the non-monetary elements when discussing your salary requirements gives you more room for negotiation, which could be beneficial for you. Here are some perks and benefits that are worth considering.
- Flexible Working
- Severance Package
- Healthcare Benefits
- Child Care Support
- Signing Bonus
- Tuition Reimbursement
When communicating your non-monetary requirements, avoid the “winner takes all” approach. Instead, focus on two to three most important elements that would help lessen some of your out-of-pocket expenses or give your pay a boost. With this approach, you are implying that you are flexible and willing to discuss an offer that is a win-win for both parties. Let’s take a look at the example below.
“My salary requirement is in the range of $115,000 to $125,000. However, that figure is negotiable based on my ability to work at home, time offs, bonuses, and other benefits you may provide. “
4) Give a broad answer
If the interviewer does not require a hard-figure answer, you can provide a broad response. Depending on how you communicate your message, this could imply that you are looking for a conversation about your salary once you have more details about the role. It also shows that you’re willing to negotiate. Below is an example of a good response.
“My salary requirements are flexible. However, I have a comprehensive background in the X field that I believe would be valuable to this role. I am certain we can come to a salary that is mutually beneficial for both parties.”
Identifying and communicating your value plays a critical role in getting the salary you deserve. This starts with responding to the desired salary question effectively. While this is not an easy task, there are tips and tricks you can apply to maximize your chances of achieving a positive outcome. If you need support, we are here to help.