Over the years as a Recruiter, I have interviewed many candidates and a majority do stumble when you ask them their Salary Expectation. It seems to be one of those questions that candidates would rather not be asked.
Perhaps, a reason is that there is no specific way on how to answer the question. So it becomes the tricky question that keeps popping up in your interviews. I mean, you may quote a figure too high and lock yourself out of a Job Opportunity or you may quote a figure too low that you end up being miserable when you start work and realize you could have gotten a better deal. The question can get harder to answer if it is an electronic job application where you must give a figure before moving to the next steps.
So, what are some of the easiest answers to give when asked about your salary expectation?
One of the common ones, ” My expectation is in line with my skills and experience and also in accordance with your compensation structure” – This answer leaves room for a bit of flexibility where one is not tied down to a specific figure. In a sense, if the pay graded structure is low when compared to your skill set, then you can negotiate upwards. And if the company’s pay structure is above your expectation then you still win and as you did not lock your self out.
There are those who would target a fair rise from their current employer e.g 30% more to their current Gross Remuneration. The challenge with this is that more often than not, it forces the candidate to disclose their current earnings. We have debates on whether to disclose current earning or not or if it should be a factor during the hiring process. The market averages for increment when bench marking from current salary is usually 20% – 30%. When giving this type of answer, remember to give a figure that you are comfortable with.
Another possible way to answer is by benchmarking with similar companies, or similar positions in the industry. Hence you can say, “I understand that positions similar to this one pay in the range of X to Z in our Country / Industry. And with my experience, would like to receive something in the same range.” – This answer gives you an opportunity to negotiate based on the findings and on your skills. It also shows that you did your research and have a rough idea of how the market is.
A few things to remember:
Some companies have a strictly structured pay scale hence they may not allow any form of negotiation. It would be prudent for you to conduct your research before hand to know whether the company you are interviewing with has such strict policies and if your expectation falls within their scale. This is because such a company can only give you an offer within their range and mostly start from the lowest so as to allow room for yearly increments.
Majority of the Employers start low, meaning if you are to give a range, then more often than not their offer will start from the lowest range that you quoted. Be sure to quote a minimum that you will be happy with if offered the same.
Be comfortable in putting a value on your skillset and talents. As long as you have done your research and are sure you are worth what you are asking, do not hesitate to give your answer.
Be sure of the job requirements and the responsibilities before quoting a figure. If not sure, ask the Hiring Managers to elaborate their expectations of the candidate to be hired. With a clear understanding of what is required, then you can determine a value as a salary target.
Lastly, if and when the Hiring Company contacts you with an offer and you are not sure, check out this article that can shed some light on what to do.
We at Crystal Recruit walk with our candidates during the entire hiring process hence the advantage of knowing if your salary expectations are within our client’s budget.
Write to us and we will get back to you on your career journey.