This is a scenario almost all of us are familiar with:
“What are your salary expectations?”
We dread this question the most in an interview because of two reasons; we don’t know how much we are worth in the eyes of the Recruiter, and, how much should we bend (or not bend) to in terms of our compensation to get the job. Hence we don’t want to answer this question. However, it must be asked. And even worse, it must be answered.
Let’s then break this scenario and make it a little easy for you to manage this very apprehended question.
Why do Prospective Employers want to know what we want?
Companies want to know if they can afford you before they invest their time and resources luring you to come and work for them.
Another reason is also that they are trying to gauge whether you value your work. Whether you are confident enough to ask what you deserve or you simply accept what whatever you are offered.
How do we avoid answering this question?
Each time you deflect the question, the interviewer will come back to it later.
What is the work-around?
Avoid answering the question very early on in the interaction. It makes no sense to talk about the salary at the beginning of an interview before even talking about your roles and responsibilities.
You may be very tempted to sell yourself short at this stage to move forward in the selection process. But what you may be missing her is that the Interviewer may be just doing a comparison shopping at this stage. Stalling this question till the latter half of the interview will give you a better leverage to negotiate. So it serves you best to avoid naming a specific number too early.
Focus on understanding your roles and responsibilities on the job. Understand which goals you are responsible for; or whether you will bring in revenues. Try to determine if there is anything you will do that you have not done earlier. Ask questions.
By doing this you are leaving an impression that you’re not desperate and expect to be compensated appropriately for your time and talent.
How/What will you finally answer?
Well there is a little bit research that will have to go in before you go for that interview. Go online to sites like Glassdoor to find out the ‘going rate’ for jobs in your field and in your job market.
If you can connect with someone from The Company of a similar profile, try and get a range from him/her.
However, if you don’t, understand the market salary range for the position, size of the company you’re interviewing with, location, and your experience level and match it with a company with a similar profile.
Remember – Your goal is not to arrive at a Ball park figure. You want to arrive at a reasonable salary range that seems fair, based on market value and your current or most recent salary.
DO NOT quote an absolute figure. You have your research in place. You know the range that this position deserves. Hence, try to get the interviewer to tell you the range for the position. Say something on the lines of –“I would appreciate if you could give me a range based on what you have budgeted for the position.”
I am not saying this will work. But at least it will let you know what you are about to expect and prepare you to work around the figure you have in mind.
If it doesn’t work, You need to give the range that you have found out.
When you do provide a range, make sure the bottom number is one you can live (and work) with.
Providing a salary range also gives the employer the impression that you’re flexible – a trait they often prefer in employees.
How will you close the offer?
Don’t be stubborn during the negotiation.
Be prepared with a counter offer one that is fair, well-reasoned, and thoughtfully presented.
Keep in mind that some companies do have a cap in terms of salaries they can offer to their employees. But that doesn’t mean they can’t offer compensation in other ways like, performance bonuses, Future pay raises, Signing bonuses etc. Explore these options before closure.
Having said that, you know what you are worth. And only you are capable of determining your priorities. It is tough but be prepared to be willing to walk away if the offer isn’t right for you. Salary Negotiation is tricky waters. Keep these tips in mind to help you keep your head above it next time you walk through that door for that interview.