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How to respond to the interview question: "What are your salary expectations?"

Oftentimes human resource personnel will leave this question for last, or they'll avoid it until the end of the job application process. Nonetheless, you should be ready. You want to make sure not to leave much blank space between their question and your answer. A robust response begins in earnest and right away. Why? Because you will have already thought about it before the job interview. You'll be prepared. At we can help with that, going over all the possible outcomes, and presenting valuable material that'll help you stand out among the crowds.

How should you respond?

It's not a question of if you should respond, but a matter of if you should give a figure or an open response. There's no denying that a sudden feeling of negotiation rouses our senses when we enter this part of a conversation, but we can't let it control us. It's important to display confidence at this stage; it's equally important not to cut your own legs out from beneath you. You should know better than anyone what your salary should be. You can figure this out by researching at online sites like Indeed, Payscale, Glassdoor, and Linkedin. When researching, make sure to note what the job titles are. You should also talk to people you know in your industry. Leverage your relationships to probe a possible figure.

Example "What is your salary expectation" answers

If you're leaning toward ambiguity, then there are a number of ways to answer this question such that it remains open. A standard response might be, "a salary commensurate with my experience, the industry, and the responsibilities of the position." Of course, you'll have to beautify this response so that it doesn't come off as too robotic and detached. Be light-hearted about it, but resolute in your conviction. If in the job interview you already have a salary in mind, you might suggest it outright. However, beware that creating a ceiling will limit your bargaining power later on if you're offered the position. That's why it's advisable to instead suggest a minimum. "What are your salary expectations?" can also be responded to with a range of salaries. We recommend the ceiling be above what you'd expect to receive. The floor should of course be something you'd be comfortable with were they to offer accordingly.

Appropriate banter around the best answer to this question

Everyone is nervous when it comes to the financial conversation. The HR person and hiring manager have responsibilities to remain within a defined budget. You want to come across as confident in your appraisal of your value, while at the same time appearing flexible. If you fit into their mold in terms of attitude, then they may be willing to expand their expectations to accommodate you. Regardless of which sample answers you choose to use, your response will not only be a number. This interview question presents an opportunity to demonstrate your thoughtfulness. You can say things like, "I want to bring value to the organization, and find common ground insofar as compensation is concerned to do so." Little helpful snippets like that can go a long way. After all, in the end success will depend largely upon whether or not you made a good impression on the participants personally. It may not always be the case, but it stands to reason that they have to like you. So when you answer, make sure that you're looking them in the eye, be cordial, and show that you have their company's interests at heart as well—not just your own.


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