What Are Your Salary Requirements?
We have finally arrived at the big question, “What are your salary requirements?” This is one of the questions that you can expect during your later interviews and is a question that makes many people feel a bit uncomfortable. But why? Let’s dive deeper and explore this question.
“What are your salary requirements?” can come in several different ways: “How much salary do you expect?”, “What are your salary expectations?”, “What do you require in the way of salary?” etc. No matter what way they ask it, you need to be able to give a clear and competitive answer, one that is aligned with your experience and the market.
In most cases, interviewers are trying to determine if they can afford you, how confident you are, and if you value your work. The way you present your number or range will demonstrate this. In some cases, employers may just be in the market for bargains; looking to scoop up talent on the cheap. Although this is unfortunate, this is one off the reasons why you need to know your worth and know how much the market, and the segment is paying for this type of job.
Let’s explore that last part further. One way to get a better idea of the market rate for a position is to review sites like Glassdoor, Payscale, Salary and others. Even sites like Indeed can provide you with salary info. Nowadays, this type of information is much more accessible and needs to be leveraged.
Don’t you dare walk into an interview or join a Skype interview without having thoroughly researched the company and have a solid range in mind for the position at hand. If you don’t do this homework and can clearly answer “What are your salary requirements?”, you are preparing to fail or might lose a chunk of potential salary you could make at the company if hired. Remember, sometimes you won’t be able to get specific information or data on the pay for the position, but it is better to have a general idea than no idea!
Situations That May Occur During Talk With Recruiter
So far, your talk with the interviewer has been going smoothly until he/she drops the question, “What are your salary requirements?” This can suddenly put you out of the comfort zone and force you to give an answer. If you have not had many interviews with this interviewer yet, maybe this is the first or second one, focus more on selling yourself and throw the ball back in their court. You might say something like, “My focus is on finding a position that will challenge me, that will be a good fit, and in which I am aligned with the company’s mission and vision. I am certain that the salary offered is competitive with the market.”
This type of answer demonstrates confidence in your skills and shows you don’t want to make a spur-of- the-moment decision. The worst thing you can do is sell yourself short and not make what you are worth.
However, there is the tendency among some interviewers to push for a specific number. The number itself could even be a part of their filter. When I say filter, I mean just a “yes” or “no” pile. If you are above or outside of the salary range, you might get tossed in the “no” pile. Basically, the company can’t afford you, so why waste time. So, if you are pushed to give a number, convey to the recruiter that you have done your research on the company, segment, market, and that someone with this kind of experience would expect a range from X-Y. Having this information will help you better answer the question, “What are your salary requirements?” and increase your chances of being in range and getting the job.
The Interviewer Asks About Your Current Salary
This question screams awkward. In some states/countries, this question can be considered illegal.
Whether it is legal or illegal, if the question comes up, you need to be able to handle it with finesse. You need to think about how answering this question might put you in a different salary bracket if the interviewer thinks he can leverage the number against you. You aren’t always getting an extremely high salary at your current job or maybe you are getting a great salary, or maybe you have a low base salary and a lot of commission, or maybe you have a series of benefits which justifies earning a lower salary.
Say something like – “my current salary really doesn’t represent my current job. I have taken on a series of new tasks and responsibilities at work.”
You may also mention that you work in Arkansas but are interviewing for a position in Silicon Valley, so your salary there is much lower because cost of living is much lower.
What Are Your Salary Requirements – Tips
Try to stay positive and optimistic throughout the interview and especially with this question. It can be hard when you have just received an extremely low offer, or one that is not at all reasonable. What you don’t want to do at this time is say, “Forget it and thanks for your time, but no thanks.” Be grateful and show your enthusiasm for the position. I know this sounds counter-intuitive but, sometimes, the company doesn’t have the budget to pay you for this position; however, they may have other positions that fit your skill-sets and they think might be a great fit for you. The last thing you want to do is burn bridges. Keep them intact and maintain good communication with the interviewer.
Make a reasonable counter offer. You may receive an offer by email or verbally from the recruiter which is not at all feasible for you to accept. What do you do? Counter it! Normally, in the original offer, they will stipulate a time to give an answer by. If it is over the phone or in a live interview, you will normally have some time to think about it. Most companies don’t use the explosive offer method where the offer ends at the end of the day or week – trying to force you to decide.
Find out when you need to give an answer by and send in a counter offer. It is best to provide a range that you can work with. Make sure you do your homework about whether this is reasonable by market standards, comparable to other salaries at the company, and whether you can live on this salary.
Turn down the offer. Perhaps the offer was just too low, and the company was very obstinate about improving it or do not have the funds to do so. Sometimes there is a salary limit at a company – many times this is the case, but salary doesn’t have to be everything. Think about the rest of the package. Maybe you could negotiate a higher bonus, or maybe more vacation days, maybe company stock. This is something to consider and you should not shy away from asking. Make sure to bring it up in the talks.
You need to assess whether you need to take the position because of your own financial needs or whether you have the financial stability to weather the storm for a bit longer and wait a few more months until you get a better offer from another company. Sometimes this is the best route to take, but once again, it is a case by case basis.
As with any interview question, you need to be prepared for it and not afraid to answer, “What are your salary requirements?”. If you have done your homework, researched the industry, the market, the company, and reviewed salaries on Glassdoor and other similar sites, you should have a good idea of what range to expect. The more educated you are in the process, the better off you are. The chances are the you will not let money slip out of your hands and can expect to hit the higher salary range for the position.
For more interview tips, check out the CareerPrep and English Interviews Youtube channel and the CareerPrep blog.
Best of luck in your next interview and Get that Money!