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How to Answer, What Is Your Desired Salary? (With Examples)

How to Answer, What Is Your Desired Salary? (With Examples)

Given the challenging situation in the job market we are experiencing now, the question “What is your desired salary?” can easily make one’s heart race.

Research Average Salaries

The brutal truth is that you can’t request compensation that exceeds the average rates in your area, occupation, or industry. Consider the size of the company you apply to. A tech giant and a tech startup have different financial capacities. At the same time, an employer cannot offer you a salary that is below the average level – this is a genuine red flag. By doing market research and being armed with the average salary range, you have a stronger position to negotiate a fair compensation package. Furthermore, it demonstrates your professionalism and responsible approach to the job search and interview process.

Consider Benefits and Perks

Remember that besides your salary, there is a benefits package too. Your potential employer may not accept your salary requirements but offer exceptional benefits instead. For instance, wellness programs, unlimited paid time off, childcare assistance, stock options, commuter benefits, comprehensive health insurance, or retirement plans cost a penny. If your potential employer is willing to cover these expenses instead of giving you the salary you want (it, however, can be under further consideration), the job opportunity may be worth giving a shot.

Know Your Bottom Line

Based on the average salary research, benefits package, and your own interest, like the cost of living and financial goals, you should come up with the lowest salary you’re ready to accept. Should you consider relocation, check the cost of living in the new location to make your salary request more reasonable. Knowing your bottom line will only prove that you know your worth and are not ready to settle for less. If you are a valuable asset to the employer, they will find a way to reach a consensus.

Prepare a Response in Advance

When a hiring manager asks you about your salary expectations, the best tactic is to be prepared to answer this question. Being “prepared” goes beyond knowing that this question will pop up. It’s good to train yourself to remain grounded and to sound convincing when discussing the issue of your desired salary.

Practice Answering the Question

We may play the desired scenario a million times in our heads, but in reality, it will be different. Being anxious or stressed, it’s easy to confuse words, make pronunciation mistakes, or say what you never planned to say. These things are not criminal; however, they may affect the overall impression. For the interviewer, it may well be a sign of your insecurity. Practising your speech out loud will reveal all your imperfections and weaknesses and allow you to eliminate any questions about your candidacy’s relevance.

Have an Open-Ended Response Ready

Apparently, you want to avoid scaring off the future employer by saying the wrong number at the very beginning – leave your response open-ended. Prepare a short speech saying that you are open to the discussion but would like to learn more about their expectations, the value you can bring to the company, or the benefits package they offer. At the same time, highlight that your skills and experience totally match the role requirements and that your values align with the company’s culture. Say that you strongly believe that your cooperation will benefit both parties and that remuneration will be fair according to the value you can provide to the business.

Consider Compromise

Prepare to get a rejection mentally and think of the alternative terms you can accept besides the desired salary. Firstly, you won’t feel at a loss when hearing a negative response. Secondly, you will know what compromise to offer or what you can accept as a compromise from them. For instance, it may be specific benefits your potential employer can agree on covering. Doing so protects you from making wrong choices under the influence of a stressful situation. Besides that, you show yourself in a professional light in front of the interviewer by applying your communication skills, problem-solving skills, and flexibility.

Examples of What to Say When Asked, “What Is Your Desired Salary?”

Example One – Job Application

If you’re dealing with a company that doesn’t want to reveal their salary range before the job interview, stick to their tactic and answer that “salary is negotiable”. If your request turns out to be too high, they can cut you off even without having a chance to discuss everything in person. A lower salary will sow a seed of doubt regarding your expertise and professionalism. Don’t do it if they don’t ask you to include your salary expectations. It’s always more productive to discuss compensation face-to-face.

Example Two – An Open-Ended Response

Even without giving a concrete number, your expectations can be communicated clearly:

“I believe your company can make a fair salary offer based on the salary standard in my field and my expertise, skills, and potential contribution to the company’s prosperity.”

“I prefer discussing the salary range after I clearly understand that I make a perfect match with the company and the role. At this point, I would like to proceed with the interviewing process.”

Firstly, you show that you are aware of the actual monetary value of the position you’re being interviewed for. Secondly, you demonstrate that you consider their organization to be professional and reasonable enough to recognize a worthy candidate and offer them a worthy salary. Finally, you make it clear that you are realistic about the level of your professionalism and expect other people to recognize it as well.

Example Three – Compromise

Sometimes, the company’s hiring budget doesn’t allow them to jump over their head and accept your salary requirements. However, as we’ve already discussed above, their benefits budget may well be a good alternative that will cover some of your essential expenses:

“I clearly understand the reason why you can’t accept my salary requirements at the moment. Provided that both of us are a good match, I would like to find a solution that works for us. What if we don’t focus solely on salary but explore an extended list of benefits instead?”

You can also agree on an entry-level salary with an opportunity to get a more advanced position that implies your expected salary in, let’s say, 6-12 months:

“Thank you for considering my desired salary. I do understand your position. I am ready to accept the salary you are offering me now as a starting salary. However, I would also expect a real possibility of getting promoted in the next 6-12 months alongside the salary revision. From my side, I promise to be as dedicated and efficient as it requires to help the company prosper and achieve its goals.”

Example Four – Explaining your Request

Unfortunately, you cannot justify your salary request with the cost of living increase or your desire to financially upgrade. The reasons that determine your desired salary should be more professional:

“The desired salary range listed on my application is $100,000-110,000, which, I believe, would be a fair number considering the requirements the new position entails, my level of experience in the field, the contribution I can make to the company’s prosperity, and the current market value of the position we’re discussing.”

There are no specific recommendations regarding mentioning your current salary or the one you had in your previous job. Usually, it can hardly compel the employer to accept your desired salary terms. We wouldn’t recommend mentioning it or comparing it with the company you’re being interviewed at, as this is not a sign of a professional tone. There are other ways to show the interviewer that you expect different numbers.

Example Five – Accepting the Rejection

If you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall and there is no room for finding a consensus, the best option is to accept it and leave. Stay polite and respectful till the very end and show your appreciation for the opportunity you had. Even if you didn’t get your dream job (or just a job), you had a chance to upgrade your negotiation and problem-solving skills:

“Thank you for the chance to interview with your company. I appreciate your transparency throughout the negotiation process. Even if we can’t start cooperating at the moment, I do hope it will become possible in the future. I look forward to the potential of working together.”

Tips for Negotiating Your Desired Salary

Finally, there are some workable pieces of advice on handling the desired salary question with dignity and making the best possible impression on the employer regardless of the outcome.

Know What You’re Worth

People who know their value seek jobs that provide challenges in which they can excel, says Jared Weitz, CEO of United Capital Source Inc. This means that such people know what they are already capable of and what skills they still have to hone. They can also provide a clear vision of how a position will allow them to use their skills constantly and for the business’s good. Such employees are of great value among employers.

Be Confident in Your Request

When your request sounds weak, the interviewer may think you’re not well aware of the salary trends or standards, you’re not sure what value you can bring to the table, or that your desired salary requirements are only a shot in the dark. If they get such a feeling, you automatically lose all chances of closing the deal in your favor, as the interviewer will try to talk you into a lower salary. This is an advantage for them but a loss for you.

Ask for More Than You Expect to Receive

Another tactic to consider is to ask for a higher salary and lead the potential employer to the number you aim at through the negotiation process. This approach allows you to showcase your soft skills (negotiation) and desire to cooperate and reach a mutually satisfactory agreement (compromise).

Keep Negotiations Professional and Respectful

If you want to sound professional, under no circumstances can you allow yourself to be confrontational or emotional. Your apparent attempts to make the most of the negotiations without being considerate and thoughtful of the other party can efficiently serve as a red flag for the employer. Companies know the power of teamwork and seek team players, not mercenaries.

Be Prepared to Walk Away

As soon as the employer has clearly hinted that they are not interested in making concessions with you, just accept it and walk away. Don’t take it as a failure or waste of time – you gained experience and saved yourself from a job that wouldn’t benefit you. When the universe closes the door, it opens the window; remember it and remain open to the other opportunities yet to come in your life.

Sources

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2020/04/13/why-knowing-your-value-should-be-the-no-1-requirement-for-job-candidates/

Date: 5 July 2023
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