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What are your salary expectations? is one of the most common job interview questions and, at the same time, one that candidates dread a lot.
While knowing how to answer job interview questions, situational questions and overall preparing for a job interview are equally important, this question is among the most important ones, as it will drive the conversation in your favor or against you.
Not knowing how to answer What are your salary expectations? can either cost you a job offer or it can get you one that will not meet your financial requirements or experience.
Why do hiring managers ask “What are your salary expectations”?
The main reason why hiring managers ask this job interview question is that they want to make sure that your expectations fit their budget.
With every job opening, any company allocates a budget.
By asking this question, hiring managers or HR managers want to make sure that they are not wasting their time interviewing you if your salary expectations exceed their budget.
Another reason is that they want to see how do you value your experience and if you have realistic expectations or not.
While you might be surprised, going under what their budget is, will not necessarily get you the job, as the last thing employers want is for someone to want the job, being driven purely by money because they are in need.
This signals that the first opportunity you will have to make more money, you will take it and leave.
Therefore, it is crucial to do your research before attending the job interview, to get an idea about the market and the average salary for the position you will be interviewing for.
What does it mean when an employer asks “What are your salary expectations”?
If you are being asked this question it usually is a good sign.
It means that the hiring manager considers you as a good candidate and wants to move to the next stage of the job interview but, of course, before doing that it’s important to know what your salary expectations are.
How to answer “What are your salary expectations?”
Usually, it’s best to avoid throwing a figure, unless you are comfortable doing it and only if you are sure you understand exactly what the role requirements are and what is expected of you.
“Before stating my salary expectations, I would like to have a better understanding of what is expected from the person taking the job. Also, I would need to know the exact job description of the role and, as well what is the career path for such a role in this company.”
After all your questions are answered and you are comfortable with the information you have in hand you can answer something along these lines:
“Now that I understand the job requirements and taking my experience into consideration, according to the market, such a role pays between 45K to 50K, which is what my salary expectations are as well, should I get the job.”
As mentioned above, you need to make sure you have conducted good market research before attending the job interview in order for your expectations to be realistic. You can use Payscale to perform research on average salaries in your city or region.
At the same time, according to what the average salary is in the market, you want to align your expectations in order not to under or over evaluate yourself.
A good tip is to place your expected salary at the lower end of the brackets that you are planning to mention during the interview.
For example, if you are expecting to make 50K per year you should say “I’m expecting an annual salary between 50K to 56K.
This way, no matter what, your salary expectations will be met, that is if, of course, they are also aligned with the market.
You can continue if you wish by saying:
“What is your allocated budget for this position?”
This is an absolutely fair question. You are interviewing the company in the same way the company interviews you.
Always remember that employment is a 2-way street and you, as a candidate, also have a very strong say in it.
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