Answering the salary question poorly may eliminate you from consideration. Salary is a touchy subject and somewhat of a balancing act. If you answer too high it may create sticker shock and be a turn-off, or you could be viewed as a top notch candidate who must be deserving of the high price. On the other hand if you answer on the low side, the employer could consider you cheap with fewer qualifications, or they may view you as an attractive candidate because of the attractive price. It all depends.
May also be phrases as, "What salary are you worth?"...or, "How much are you making now?" This is your most important negotiation. Handle it wrong and you can blow the job offer or go to work at far less than you might have gotten.
For maximum salary negotiating power, remember these five guidelines:
► 1. Never bring up salary. Let the interviewer do it first. Good salespeople sell their products thoroughly before talking price. So should you. Make the interviewer want you first, and your bargaining position will be much stronger.
► 2. If your interviewer raises the salary question too early, before you've had a chance to create desire for your qualifications, postpone the question, saying something like, "Money is important to me, but is not my main concern.
Opportunity and growth are far more important. What I'd rather do, if you don't mind, is explore if I'm right for the position, and then talk about money. Would that be okay?"
If you can't give a range and have to provide a single salary, choose the middle of your range, maybe even a little bit lower," she says. "You'd rather be lower than their target rate than over it."
Just remember that naming a rate doesn't lock you into accepting it. At the vast majority of companies, you can still negotiate after getting an offer. In fact, negotiating for a bit more might work in your favor, since companies will see that you believe in yourself and have done enough research to know the value of your work.
Candidates should have a healthy regard for their value, be able to sell their skills and experience to you, show an ability to negotiate, act diplomatically, and have the ability to redirect the question back to you without an answer.
Understanding your value in the employment marketplace -- including in your current organization -- is critical information you should have at your fingertips.
You may think you need or deserve a certain salary -- but no employer cares about your wants and needs. What employers WILL listen to is evidence of your value -- proof that validates your salary request.
Whether it's during an interview or on an application, no one wants to answer this question, however it's one that must be asked. Firstly, it's a quick way for employers to eliminate candidates with overly high expectations. It also lets the employer know what they will need to offer you if they decide you're the person for the job.
Answering this question is tricky. If you say a figure that's too high, you're likely out of the running, but if you give a number that's too low, you have undervalued your work and your potential contribution to the company.
If that's the case, research the job title and give a salary range. Pay Scale's Research Center lets you look up salaries by job title, location, and years of experience.
Once you're negotiating, remember to include benefits in your salary calculation. For example, if the prospective employer offers better health insurance that would save you money in the long run, that's worth money.
One final note on salary ranges: be sure to name a lower number that you'd be comfortable with, since that's probably where the hiring manager will start your offer.
There are ways to get around this question, if you really don't want to give a number right off the bat. One good tactic is to say that you want to learn more about the job first, before you think about the salary that would go with it.
One downside to this, as Alison Green of Ask a Manager points out, is that many employers will want to know what your salary expectations are right up front, before they'll even consider your application.
Asking for your salary level is a fair question and a standard part of information gathering. Conversely, asking what the range is that's being offered is also fair, but sometimes withheld because it may spoil future negotiations. You could respond by saying something like:
► "I'm flexible and especially interested in your company and this position. What is the range being offered?"
You will usually get a factual response that the position will pay in the $X to $Y range depending on qualifications. But be prepared for a response such as:
► "The range is open and we usually offer what's necessary to hire the right person. But first I need to know if we are on the right page. What are your expectations?"
Again, avoid boxing yourself in but if pressed give a wide range and state that you are flexible and feel as though you could come to mutual understanding when the time comes.
☆ Don't ignore the question
☆ Don't be too specific
☆ Be flexible
☆ Defer the question
☆ Be prepared
☆ Don't feel pressured to give too much away
☆ Remember to stay flexible
☆ Be comfortable in your response
☆ Consider deflecting the question
☆ Use your knowledge to your advantage
☆ Again, don't be too specific
Is the question in an application form or part of an interview? This will influence how explicit your answer needs to be.
At this stage of my career, it's more important for me to use my skills in an area that interests me than to maintain my past salary level.
I'm quite open and slightly flexible on salary as the opportunity to add value and to be valued is important to me. I'd appreciate knowing how you value this position and what your budget is for this role.
mile and nod while you ask it. By nodding you are assuming the answer you want is coming back to you and increasing the chance of the other person giving you what you want. Practice it in other conversations and you will see what I mean and how well it works.
However, I've been in this game long enough to know that the majority of job seekers don't like to discuss this at interview. They don't want to be the first person to mention a figure. If it's too low, they may miss out financially. If it's too high, they could miss out on a job offer.
If a recruitment consultant asks you this, then I would advise you be as open as possible. They will give you advice on the market rate for your skills and will often do the negotiating for you when you get offered a role. They need to know where your expectations are, so not to waste your time with lower paid jobs in the future.
Opportunity is valuable to me. I am always willing to look at the bigger picture. I would want to be paid according to what I bring to the position, but would be willing to be somewhat flexible.
I had an unusual situation at my last job where I took less salary to own a share of the company. I also had a bonus structure that I was receiving. I would have to look at the entire package that you offer before comparing the two jobs or salaries.
I would need to know more about your salary structure and how often you review salaries as well as your entire package before I could discuss salary ranges. Could you provide me with more information before we discuss this subject?" (Good answer to push back the discussion to them.
I really need more information about the position before I can begin to discuss salary. Can you tell me the range budgeted for this position?
I really need more information about the job before we start to discuss salary. I'd like to postpone that discussion until later. Maybe you could tell me what is budgeted for the position, and how your commission structure works.