Dos and Don’ts of How to Answer the Question about Salary Expectations

    By Richard White | Small Business

    Dos and Don’ts of How to Answer the Question about Salary Expectations image How to Answer the QuestionDos and Don’ts of How to Answer the Question about Salary Expectations

    How do you respond to the question about your salary expectations? Well, whether it is in an online application form or on the lips of the interviewer, it can be a dreaded topic. It is important to have a clear idea about your response to this question when you apply for a job or before you attend an interview.

    Here are the Dos and Don’ts you need to think about before you prepare the response.

    Do conduct your research. If you have no idea about how much a particular position in an industry niche is worth, you may not be able to figure out how much you ought to ask. It may spell trouble if you ask for too much or too little.

    The right thing to do is to conduct a little research of your own in advance. An online resource may be helpful in finding this detail. You may also ask someone in the field about it. Another way to find this is to ask it to the recruiter. While there may be no specific figure, the knowledge of even the salary range can be advantageous.

    Do try to dodge. You cannot evade the question if it is in an online application form. Some recruiters and employers use this tactic to screen candidates who are too expensive for the position or the organization.

    If the question is asked in an interview, you may be able to avoid it with a quick response to emphasize that your focus is not on the salary but on the job and its challenges. Every recruiter and employer knows that you are there for the salary, but it may work to your advantage if you don’t seem too eager to talk about it.

    Do be tactical. If the dodge works, you may not need to reveal your present or your expected salary before you can impress the interviewer. Try out responses that show your interest for the job, and not for the money!

    However, don’t try to evade the question more than once. If a direct response is requested, you had better give it. Do it in a strategic manner. State your present salary and the percentage of raise you expect. Give the interviewer a range. Don’t ask for a 25% raise; instead ask for a 20-25% increase.

    Do consider the perks. A pay package doesn’t include only the money you get. Along with it are the incentives such as paid vacation time, less work hours, medical insurance and so on that make life easier for the employees.

    The immaterial things matter too; if you have to work under a boss who personifies menace or in a team of uncooperative colleagues, it wouldn’t be a great experience. How you felt at the time of your interview can give you a good idea about this. Consider every aspect of a job before you agree or disagree to a pay package.

    Don’t tell a lie. It may feel like an attractive option. However, it isn’t. A recruiter or an employer is sure to find out the fib some time or the other. When this happens, it can be quite damaging for your career.

    You can, however, use another approach. If you are up for a review in the next six months, you may mention this when you state your salary. Tell the interviewer the amount you get presently and the amount you would get after the review. This could be a solid ground for salary negotiation later.

    Don’t negotiate too early. If your first question is about the salary, the recruiter or employer may not have a favorable impression of you as a candidate. Talk about the salary only when you are sure that you have impressed the interviewer.

    What do you do if the interviewer doesn’t mention anything about the salary? The best thing to do is to wait until he/she says that you can ask anything you want. Again, don’t start off with the salary question. Ask about the position, the responsibilities, the challenges and so on before you move on to the question. It is always best to keep this until you get the offer.

    Don’t choose incorrectly. A job can look and feel perfect for you initially. However, it is important to give ample thought to it before you accept it. If you choose a job based on what others say about it, it may not be the right one for you.

    Find out as much as you can about the organization, the position, the responsibilities, the work environment and every other aspect of the job before you attend the interview or negotiate the salary with the interviewer. If you don’t take up the job afterwards, all your efforts would have in vain.

    Join online forums and communities to get the details you need to make the decision.

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