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What Salary Are You Expecting? – Negotiating Pay

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So your resume has been short-listed and you have been asked for an interview.  So all is going well except during the interview, you are asked one of those difficult questions.

Here is another one of those classic tough job interview questions that HR asks to determine if you are within their price range and to gain an advantage in negotiations.  Questions about expected salary are not easy to answer but below are a few quick tips to help you handle these types of situations.

If you are asked about your salary expectations, try to deflect or delay the question. You can respond by saying that you need to find out more details about the responsibilities.  A salary or wage is really just the price the employer pays for a certain set of job responsibilities performed, so before you can respond with what salary you expect, you need to have a solid understanding of the job.  Personally, I think this is one of those out-dated job interview questions that some HR and hiring managers use to get leverage.  Having been in HR and compensation, my opinion on this job interview question is firstly that compensation is a complicated specialization within HR.  So no candidate can be expected to provide an accurate and meaningful answer.  As such, I cannot see any other reason for an employer to ask this question except for getting the candidate to “reveal their cards” first.

Second, the process for employment is such that the employer is expected to make a job offer IF they feel the candidate is a right fit.  That is you as the candidate will jump through the hoops until the employer is satisfied and determines they want you, at such time it is they who are responsible to make an offer.  Anyway, as you can see this job interview question is a personal pet peeve of mine.

So what are other options of answering this question?  Well, in keeping with the fact that it is the employer’s job to make an offer if they want to hire you, you can say that you will be prepared to discuss salary when an offer is made.  Yet, another approach is to shift the question back to the interviewer by asking the salary range of the position, and then indicate if it’s in your desired range.

Above all, if you are to respond to this question, do not answer by giving a specific number but instead, provide a salary range.  In other words, try not to be too specific.   Instead, respond with a phrases like, ”in the range of…”.

So what if you are the chosen one and the employer makes a job offer?  How should you evaluate the compensation?  Well, evaluating the compensation is just one component of evaluating a job offer.  Remember, compensation should be seen with a broad view.  By this I mean, the salary is just one component of compensation.  Variable pay, benefits, and other perks (for example, education support, and so forth) make up a job’s total compensation.  Evaluating a new job offer requires you to consider other things like career growth, stability, location and so forth in addition to remuneration.