General Question

CelticsFan's avatar

What response do you give a job interviewer who asks you for your salary requirement?

Asked by CelticsFan (140points) August 1st, 2008
12 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

job, interview, job interview, employer, HR, human resources

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Answers

syz's avatar

In a way, the question is a test. If you’ve done your homework, you know what a competitive salary for the position is and can adjust your request based on your own experience level, special skills, and so on. When you answer the question, you should phrase it in just that way: “this is what I think is a fair salary and this is why I think so”.

If you low-ball because you really want the job, it can indicate to the interviewer that you don’t consider yourself very highly skilled. Also, if you offer to work for cheap, then they’re going to pay cheap – that much less money going out.

If you ask for an excessively high amount, you may place yourself out of consideration.

syz (35788points)“Great Answer” (1points)
Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

I hate being asked this. My requirement for salary varies depending on the job, location, benefits et cetera. In my field, pay is generally a base salary plus commission, yet any time a head hunter calls they want to know what my salary requirements are. My answer is always “as much as you will allow me to make”. The other problem with telling your requirement is that you want to be honest, but you don’t want to price yourself out of a job that you might really want especially if the benefits are excellent, or low-ball yourself. Any HR people care to shed some light on how this question helps you find an ideal candidate?

Scrumpulator's avatar

What you think you are worth in that field based off of experience, time that you have done the job and what competitors are offering.

marinelife's avatar

I think the best tactic is to spike this question before it comes. If it is not in the job posting, call the company and ask HR what the salary range for the job is. If you have not been able to learn it in advance, ask the interviewer.

Don’t make it a big deal. Just casually say, “By the way, what is the salary range for this position.” They will usually tell you with no problem. Your question may prompt the dreaded what salary are you looking for, but now you are prepared! In that case, you can pick something comfortably within the range or say (and I prefer this), “The salary range you quoted is in the ballpark for me.”

Save the negotiations until they make you an offer.

flameboi's avatar

In the most confident way possible say “I’d love to obtain a ??% rise of my current paycheck, I think is within the market salary table”.
Do not hesitate a second, you have to know what you want, you have to be realistic and you have to sell yourself as the best candidate for the job, remember hr love to ask the “what color is this room” kind of questions…

baseballnut's avatar

As an HR person, I can tell you that the intent of the question isn’t to disqualify a candidate on the basis of that question alone. The intent, like all well thought out interview questions, is to assess fit for the job under discussion. If an applicant has salary requirements that far exceed what I know is my budgetary limit for a position, it doesn’t necessarily disqualify them but it does bear exploring with them. Sometimes it means that an applicant doesn’t completely understand the scope of a given job and has priced it based on that misunderstanding. Whatever the reason for the misalignment, it gives me something to work on with the applicant – not something with which to disqualify them.

My favorite answer to this question is something like this: “My current or most recent salary was $120,000 annually with bonus potential of 20%. I believe that the scope of this position and the size of the company is similar so I think the comparison is apt. Based on the additional experience/education I bring to the table now, I believe that $125,000 is a good starting point.” This gives me what I need to continue the discussion.

If you’re not sure of your market value, try http://salary.com or http://monster.com for a jumping off point. Just remember that those programs are aggregators of data and don’t allow much for variations in your experience, education, or the size of the company with which you’re applying.

Good luck! See this as just one more question in the interview process and not a live/die scenario.

jballou's avatar

I’ve never disclosed my previous salary as a response to this question, but I think that as long as you’ve done your homework, as someone said earlier, you should feel free to ask for exactly what you want as long as it’s appropriate. But remain flexible, and understand that certain benefits and incentives might work in your favor even if your salary is a little lower then your ideal. For example, I used to work for a company that paid me pretty well, but their health benefits were pitiful and there was no retirement plan in place at all. So at the end of the day, the extra money I was making was going into those things- I actually came out on making less then I would have with a lower salary at a different company.

Do your research into the field and the area and the size of the company, but also remember to ask questions about any benefits, incentives, bonuses and other factors that might affect your bottom line. What’s more important than your base salary is the quality of life you’ll have working at the company.

robmandu's avatar

Rands provides some good insights on how to answer that kind of question.

…when they slide in a casual, “So, what are you making now?”

You stop. You sense that this seemingly off-the-cuff question is important. Your inner dialog goes something like, “I’m making 64k, buUUut, I’m going to round up to 70k because, well, I’m worth it.”

Yes, you are, but it’s a lie and it’s not a very good lie. You also broke the number one rule in negotiation: be informed. You don’t make 70k; you don’t make 64k, either. You make closer to 90k. HOLY RAISE RANDS.

I’ll explain how I calculated your hypothetical yearly compensation above

cwilbur's avatar

My answer, when I have been asked this, is to lay out what I had been making and what I had for benefits at my prior two jobs, explain what I have discovered is a reasonable salary range for comparable jobs in a comparable location, and then name a range.

This lets the HR person see that I’ve done my homework, and gives the company room to negotiate.

I think it’s only let me down once: my first job out of graduate school, where I had no real salary history and no basis for comparison. I still wound up making a reasonable salary, though it was 20% to 30% less than what it should have been.

anonyjelly16's avatar

There are a couple of approaches that I take depending on who I am talking to:

1) For the Hiring Manager/Interviewer:

I usually say something along the following lines: “It’s difficult to say what I expect because compensation involves a lot of variables such as benefits, job security, work environment etc. As far as a specific number is concerned, I am positive your compensation packages are commensurate with the current market rates and I am sure you will speak with your HR representative to have that adjusted—up or down (usually this makes them smile)—and they will be able to tell me what I should expect.”

2) For the HR Representative:

Later, when I am speaking with the HR person and want to ask for more, I say something like: “Thank you, that is a very generous offer. Do you think you might be able to work something out where its in $X to $Y range because I would really be happy with that. If you can’t I would understand but do you think you can speak with the hiring manager about it? And, please be sure to tell him that I am sincerely grateful for the current offer and am very interested in working with him and his team. Please do let him know that I was asking very respectfully and that I would be happy with this range. And, if he doesn’t think he can work it out, then we can figure out where to go from here.”

In both of the above cases, I usually find that being polite, genuine, and respectful works. If it doesn’t work, that’s a very strong indication to me that I shouldn’t be working there.

Hope this helped. Best of luck with your job search.

gooch's avatar

I have always been a fan of the truth.

Alinajones's avatar

Before you go to the job interview, spend adequate time conducting research to find out average salaries and salary ranges for similar jobs in your area, industry and geography.

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