At some point during your interview process, either at the initial screening or during the offer phase, you can expect to hear this question: “What are your salary expectations?” How you handle this question will decide what you earn, perhaps for years to come.
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Here are a few points to remember when the hiring manager asks about salary:
1. If you are not sure of the salary ranges yet, don’t give a number: Don’t feel pressured to name a number. If you can, consider asking them what they think is a reasonable range for the position.
2. Pause before you respond: You don’t have to respond with a yes or a no as soon as a salary figure is shared. Take your time to do the math, understand the situation, and then respond. Sometimes, as John Klymshyn, writes for Yahoo Hot Jobs!, a simple, considered pause “makes them think that you must consider it. It also allows you time to absorb what they have said.” He adds that he has seen situations in which a pause has prompted the other person to raise the number.
3. Understand your market value: Do your research ahead of time, to determine the range for the job title, given your location, skills, and years of experience. Keep in mind that not all companies pay at the same level, so it helps to understand the compensation philosophy of your future employer as well – whether they pay at the 50th or 95th percentile of the market. Based on that, you can decide if it’s a good fit for you.
4. Know your own range: While it is desirable, you won’t always end up with an offer higher than your current compensation. This could be due to various reasons – e.g., you are moving into a new role you do not have enough experience in, you are forced out of your previous job, etc. But even so, know your absolute lower limit so you do not compromise on your own financial commitments.
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