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Answering Salary Expectations

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by Charlotte Gurney

When it comes to the question of salary expectations this is often something that candidates find very difficult to address. Many of us feel uncomfortable talking about money but it’s a vital part of ensuring that you get what you want with respect to the financial negotiations around a new role. Whether it comes via an email or during an interview, there are a number of ways that you can answer salary expectations questions.

Prepare to answer this question before it’s asked

It’s unlikely that you’ll go through an interview process where a potential new employer doesn’t ask you what you’re expecting when it comes to salary. So, it always makes sense to have prepared yourself to hear this question. There are a number of different ways that you can do this, including:

 ●      Research the salaries in the market today. What’s the benchmark for someone of your skills and experience in today’s market? It’s also worth looking at the level of salary that the company currently pays and how this compares to others in a similar location and industry.

●      Don’t avoid the question. In an ideal world, you will be asked this question at the end of an interview when you’ve had the opportunity to demonstrate what you’re worth. However, things don’t always end up like that and you might find yourself faced with the money question much earlier on. If that happens, don’t avoid the question or be evasive in your answers. You can either give a single figure or you can opt for a range. If you decide on a salary range, ensure you really are happy with the lowest end, as that might be where a potential employer pushes you to.

●      Make sure you factor in all the other benefits. The salary has a big part to pay in your compensation package but it’s not the only thing to consider. There may be many other factors that might also have a big influence for you, whether that’s a company car, health insurance or flexible working hours. Sometimes, more of these can make up for a lower salary.

●      Walk away if you’re not going to get what you’re worth. If you answer the question about salary expectations and the interviewer’s jaw hits the floor then this may not be the right role for you. It’s especially important to do your research in advance to ensure that you feel confident in what you’re asking for, even if the potential employer doesn’t agree.

●      Keep your own expectations in check. It’s really important to make sure that your expectations are realistic when it comes to financial compensation - you don’t want to lose out on a great role because you surprised a potential employer with a lack of financial understanding. So, make sure you balance a sense of your own worth with what the market is likely to be willing to pay so that you get the figures right.

 Answering questions about salary expectations doesn’t have to be intimidating - the right preparation is key.