Salary expectation questions are asked in almost every job interview. It is definitely a sign you a interviewing well when the ask, “What are your salary expectations?”. However, you should never be the first to give a number because it significantly lowers your odds of getting the highest salary possible.

Here’s why:

  1. You do not have enough information to create an accurate range. You should never state your desired salary in the beginning of the negotiation because you don’t know the value of the position until you know what they are offering. You would be guessing at the value of their offer and this puts you at a disadvantage in negotiating and it leaves money on the table because you created a salary range without the complete details of the position. The total value of the offer includes the whole package such as salary, benefits, bonus structure, stock options, etc. Much of these are not know when you begin negotiations, the employer has to share that with you first, before you can accurate create your salary requirement.
  • You want the employer to base their offer on your value, not based on the minimal amount they can hire you. If you prove your value during the interview process, the employer will be looking for ways to make the offer more attractive. For example, if the employer knows your value,they may start discussing higher salary options before you ask.

Hiring Manager: This candidate is perfect, when can they start?

Recruiter: I don’t know their salary requirement, what if it is above our pay range for the position?

Hiring Manager: Are there any ways we can increase the pay for this role, in case they come in above our salary range?

Recruiter: The ceiling for this role is $85,000, but if we offer them job title of Senior Account Executive, that salary is $95,000.

Hiring Manager: Great! Make the offer, be prepared to offer the higher job title and salary of $95,000.

See how that puts you in a much better position to get a higher salary? Because you did not share your salary up front,the employer is already looking for ways they can increase the offer to ensure you accept their offer.

Hiring Manager: This candidate is perfect, when can they start?

Recruiter: Yes, the top salary for the role is $85,000, they said they wanted $75,000, so we’ll be able to save money on this hire.

Hiring Manager: Great, make the offer and try to stay below $75,000.

Caveat: Make sure you do a very strong job during the interview process of proving your value 🙂

Here are 3 responses to this question:

  1. Thank you, I’m very excited about this position and I’m sure we can agree on a salary range that is fair for both of us when we discuss that. I’m very interested in learning more about the role and responsibilities so I can better gauge an appropriate compensation level.
  2. Thank you, I’m excited about the opportunity to be a part of your organization. I would like to learn more about the responsibilities to better gauge compensation requirements. I’ll have a better understanding of the role after my first round of interviews with managers.
  3. Thank you, I’m excited about the opportunity and I see this as a big step up in terms of responsibility and compensation. I’d like to learn more about the requirements of the role to better gauge compensation expectations.

Posted by Will Rubio

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