Salary Expectations Interview Question:
“It’s a nice article very helpful Lilian… would like an article on salary expectation especially if you have never been on a payroll before…” reads a comment from Pauline on an earlier article I did.
Like Pauline, you may be in the same situation freaking about how to answer the dreaded interview question.
As it is you have already drafted the perfect CV and are just waiting for the big interview call that is supposed to change your life. Among the common interview questions, “What are your salary expectations” never misses out.
The way you answer how much you are expecting to earn determines if you get the job or not? It can also put you in a sticky situation by forcing you to accept an offer at a less than desirable income.
But what happens if like Pauline, you have never been on payroll or have not been employed in the first place.
According to Evans Mutuma, a Client Service Manager at a leading recruitment firm that offers free job placement and career advice, the secret to answering this questions lies in your doing your own research and coming up with a salary range.
Let’s Look At How To Answer Salary Expectation Salary
Do your research
The first thing you do after receiving an interview call is research about the position.
Whether or not you have not been working, find out the starting salary for that particular position.
For instance, if it’s an accounting assistant position, how much do other companies offer. Still, do you have friends who can provide insight into how much they are earning or how much they started with?
Like I said, there is no formula for answering this question, just arm yourself with the necessary information.
At least if you know how much is offered in that industry, it’s better than going in without a clue.
When they have given a salary range
Sometimes recruiters will specify how much they are willing to give you but in terms of a range. For instance, the recruiter may be willing to offer 30-40K as salary.
What then do you quote when asked how much you are looking to earn?
Don’t go for the lowest they are offering in this case 30K. It will only bring you out as desperate. I know what you are thinking. But the reason I want this job is because I am desperate?
I know you are but the hiring manager doesn’t have to know that. Desperation is never a good look for anyone and acts as a turn-off.
Instead, you may say that you are looking to earn maybe 35K or even 40K. This is their salary range in the first place so don’t be afraid to quote something higher than the lowest they are offering.
It shows that you value yourself and what you will be bringing on board will be of value too.
Ask in terms of a question
When asked what your salary expectations are, instead of fumbling for answers and ending up quoting to high or too low; ask the recruiter how much they are offering instead?
It will go something like this;
Recruiter: What are your salary expectations?
You: From the job advert, you had not specified the salary and so I would wish to know how much you are offering someone with my qualifications but it is my wish that the salary will reflect my expertise.
Without sounding rude, you brought room for discussion. The recruiter will easily tell you what they are looking to offer and then you can negotiate from there.
What is the lowest you can walk away with?
Salary negotiations never always work out the way we want. Everyone has what they desire to earn? Is it 25K or even 80K.
From that, if circumstances don’t allow it, what is the lowest you can take home? The lowest could be 20K or 60K.
Now increase it by 10-15% just in case it doesn’t work at least you will have negotiated a salary that you are comfortable with.
5. Quote a range
If the advertisement had not specifies the salary range, quote your own but make sure that the lowest is a figure that you are comfortable with.
After doing your research on what the industry offers, you can then come up with a range.
When answering interview questions regarding salary expectations, what you say matters mot as to whether you get the job. Don’t sell yourself too short and again, don’t quote a ridiculously high amount that will see you being rejected.