The burning question…”What are your salary expectations?”
You’d be surprised how many people don’t know how to answer this question. Two reasons: 1) Money-talk is awkward no matter what. 2) Fear of rejection if given too high or too low of a number.
No matter what, the salary question will always be awkward. There’s no right or wrong answer but it’s important to prepare for it if you want to be valued for your skills and past accomplishments.
Here are some suggestions to answer the tough salary question with confidence in an interview.
What not to do when asked about salary
Never say, “I don’t know”: Just like with any other interview question, you never want to give the impression that you’re clueless. This shows that you’re not prepared and didn’t do your research. Saying “I don’t know” in general is an opening to a disastrous interview.
Never say, “It’s up to you or “whatever you want to give me”: Employers can take this two ways: either you have low expectations of their company or you’re a pushover. And obviously you don’t’ want them to think either of that. When you say “It’s up to you” or “whatever you want to give me”, you’re giving the employer control and leeway to give you whatever they please – and this can backfire because some employers can take advantage of this and underpay you.
What to do when asked about salary
Research the position/field you are interviewing for to get a clear understanding: To avoid all those statements above, it doesn’t come any clearer – DO YOUR RESEARCH! You’re looking up interview questions and preparing for the interview anyway. So why not find out the average salary/hourly wage that people in that position are currently making? Glassdoor.com or your country’s government website is the best way to find this. Try to study the annual trends and how it has increased or decreased over the years and months.
Always give a range, not an exact salary number: After conducting some research on how much people in your industry and position get annually, monthly and hourly, come up with a range between five and ten. For example, you can say between $15 to $20/hour or $40,000 to $50,00 a year depending on experience. This will allow the interviewer to have some leeway with you and reach a middle ground.
Use your common sense: Be smart and know the level of your position. Don’t expect a ridiculous amount of money if you are applying for a junior position. For example, IT positions can make over $100,000 a year, but not when they first start out. So be reasonable.