Preparation Is Key: How To Answer The Salary Expectation Question

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Mar. 27 2024, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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Navigating the salary expectation question during job interviews can be a challenging task for many job seekers. It’s a pivotal moment where your response can have a significant impact on your earning potential and overall satisfaction with a new role.

From avoiding common pitfalls to negotiating with confidence, understanding how to approach this question in a strategic way is crucial. In this article, we’ll explore effective strategies and expert advice on how to tackle the salary expectation question with poise and professionalism, ensuring that you can secure a compensation package that reflects your worth and aligns with your career goals.

Addressing Your Salary Expectations

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Education is key. To approach the conversation with ease, you must first know your worth.

Research: Provide a salary range based on your meticulous research of industry standards, considering factors such as location, experience, and specific skills required for the job.

Provide a range: Offer a salary range based on your research and assessment of the role allowing room for negotiation while ensuring it aligns with your expectations.

Experts at Glassdoor advise job seekers to provide potential employers with accurate information regarding salary requests. 

“To give an accurate salary request that aligns with the market average in your industry, you must first know what the market average is,” experts shared. “Take time to research the average salary for the position you’re applying for and the salary ranges for the position in your city and state. You can also research what other people in your position make who have a similar experience and education level.”

Focus on value: Emphasize the value you bring to the role and how your skills and experience align with the company’s objectives rather than focusing on monetary compensation.

Consider total compensation: Take into account non-monetary benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, flexible work arrangements, and professional development opportunities when discussing compensation.

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Keep An Open Dialogue

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Whether you’re ready to rip off the bandaid and take the inquiry head-on or need a moment to process, pause. Here is how you should proceed.

Be honest: If pressed for a specific figure, provide a transparent and honest response based on your needs and the value you bring to the role while remaining flexible for negotiation.

Flip the script: Experts often advise against being the first to disclose your salary expectations. If you provide a figure that is too low, you risk undervaluing your skills and potential future contributions. On the other hand, stating a high figure without sufficient interviews to justify it may prompt the HR team to consider other candidates with more aligned salary expectations. It’s a delicate balance that requires careful consideration to ensure a fair and beneficial compensation discussion during the hiring process for both parties.

In a January 2022 interview with CNBC, Andres Lares, managing partner at Shapiro Negotiations Institute, suggested that if you are not comfortable answering the salary expectation question at the time, turn the tables back on HR.

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“I appreciate that compensation is an important aspect of the job, and it has to work for the both of us,” she told the outlet. “Given you’re the hiring manager in this role, and you’re the expert on what the company can offer, I’d like to hear what you have in mind for the salary range of this position.”

Delay the discussion: If appropriate, suggest postponing the salary discussion until later stages of the hiring process once both parties have a better understanding of fit and expectations.

Be Prepared to Walk Away: Be prepared to walk away from negotiations if the salary offered does not meet your expectations or align with your market value, but do so in a respectful and professional fashion, leaving the door open for future opportunities.

Now that you’re armed with research, a clear understanding of your value, and a better pulse on holistic compensation, you can confidently approach the discussion with potential employers. By keeping the dialogue open, honest, and respectful, you pave the way for constructive negotiation and mutual understanding. Remember, your worth extends beyond monetary compensation, and it’s essential to advocate for a compensation package that reflects your expertise, experience, and career aspirations. Go get them!

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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By: Truth Hawkins

Truth Hawkins, a seasoned wordsmith with over a decade of experience spanning entertainment, culture, and lifestyle news, navigates the dynamic landscapes of pop culture, lifestyle, and music. More than a reporter, Truth is a dedicated storyteller, unearthing narratives that deeply resonate with readers and invites them to engage in meaningful conversations.

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