In the Interview Clues series, Employment Solutions staff interview Michele Hazell, Human Resources and Operations Manager with over fifteen years’ experience across the private, non-profit, and government sectors.
Question: When I’m asked about my salary expectations in an interview, should I give a specific answer?
Michele Hazell: It’s a good idea to give a pay range when asked about your salary expectations. Many people think that an employer asks about your salary expectations as a screening question or lowballing tactic. But employers really want to know your salary expectations for a couple reasons. If you’re looking for a $70,000 salary and all the company has budgeted is $35,000, there’s no point in wasting anybody’s time.
But what often happens is that people lowball themselves. They’ll put their salary expectations at minimum wage or quote a very low figure, because they worry that they’ll be screened out if their quote is “too high.” As a hiring manager, if someone told me that they were looking for a salary of $35,000, and the role that I had paid $60,000, what that might say to me is that the individual probably doesn’t have the skills and ability to do that job at the 60K level.
There are two keys to knowing your pay range:
1.Do your research before the interview. There’s lots of information available online to give you an idea of what companies are paying. Some companies post ballpark figure salaries for their positions. It’s always good to get as much info as you can about the role and expectations of a position and what companies offer for the position, remembering that it’s going to be a little different for every company.
2.Think about what you are worth. Look at your skills and experience on the whole, and determine what you are worth. Being clear about your worth and expectations tells the hiring manager about your confidence and abilities. It also demonstrates your understanding of the role and responsibilities you are interviewing for.
There will be some jobs you interview for where your salary expectations aren’t a realistic fit for that position, and if you understand your worth, you should be able to walk away from them so that you don’t lowball yourself. You want to accept a job offer and salary that contributes to feeling good about yourself and your accomplishments.
More tips for salary negotiations, from The Business Insider
• The more the interviewer talks, the more you learn. You want them to do the talking, and you want them to make the first offer.
• What if the hiring manager brings up pay at the beginning of the interview process? You can say: “My present salary is X. I’m looking for the best offer based on my experience and education. What’s the range for this position?”
• Always be honest about your current salary and what you want. If you’re underpaid and you think revealing your salary will put you at a disadvantage, you can say: “I like my company. I like my job, but I feel my experience and skill set is worth more.”
• Once you determine what the job is worth competitively, you should offer a pay range instead of an exact number. This opens up room for discussion and shows the employer that you’re flexible.
• Be excited and positive without being desperate. (Vivian Giang and Dan Martineau, The Business Insider.)
Web resources to determine salary range: