How to answer the question “what is your expected salary”
This question needs to be answered tactfully for the following reasons:
- You don't want to lose a good job offer by stating a figure that is above what the employer can pay.
- You don't want to appear as someone whose only concern is salary and who will run with the next higher bid!
- You don't want to give an amount that is lower than the employer is willing to pay.
Here are a few options you can use when responding:
- A) Give a range instead of an exact figure (based on your current salary or industry average). For example, if your current salary is 8000, you can say 10,000 to 15,000.
- B) Connect your response to your current salary. For example, you can say, “Well, my current salary is 12000. So I would prefer something above that. What is your offer?”
- C) Show that you are not just concerned with salary while also giving a preferred amount. This way you show you are open to considering a lower salary. As an example, you can say something like, “Well, the current industry average is 20,000 but I’m not in it just for the salary. I want a job that provides opportunities for growth and is more challenging than my current role. I like your company culture, manner of management, ethical standards, etc. so I'm open to considering a lower offer from the right employer. What is your offer?”
- D) Use the industry average. For example, you can say, “I know this sort of job pays 15000 to 20000. What is your offer?”
- E) Give an exact figure. For example, “My expected salary is 22,000. Is that okay with you? What are you offering?” (This option is for those with a stable position who can risk losing a job opportunity because of salary.)
Whatever your answer, provide room for negotiation and compromise. For example, if the recruiter offers a salary lower than your expectations, ask for a few days to think it through. Don't reject the job outright. Instead think it over well, considering all angles. Are there reasons you should accept the job despite the salary? What about other benefits? Do they increase the total value of the offer? Is there a chance for promotion or raise? Is there a commission, bonus, etc.?
Also, keep in mind that the industry average is an average. This means that half the salaries in the industry will be lower than that figure and half higher. So, if you're offered something lower than the industry average, it may well be in line with what others at your level are earning.
Finally, other opportunities will come up. Don't be pressed to accept a job with a salary or working conditions not acceptable to you, but also don't reject a job simply on the basis of salary. Weigh your options. Is the job one you want so much or is just the right one for your career that you can sacrifice salary for it? If a job is good and provides opportunities for career development, is with a reputable company, and has a top notch management team that will benefit your career and personal growth, accept it even if the salary is not in line with your preferences, provided it isn't so low that it kills your motivation.
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