This is easily one of the most dreaded questions in any interviews. Ask for too much and you could lose the competitive edge; ask for less than what you deserve and you’ll end up being resentful even if you get the job. Is there even a right answer for this? How should one goes about answering this tricky yet important question?
Here are a few things to bear in mind before answering:
1. When you’re not in a position to negotiate
This mostly applies to fresh graduates who has less bargaining power due to the lack of working experience. “If you’re recruiter into a management training program where a group of people starts and undergoes the same training together, it’s unlikely going to be a salary negotiation,” explains Liane Hajduch, a former campus recruiter for RBC Capital Markets.
However, you should still be prepared for this question during the interview and make sure you know the standard salary range for the role. You want to leave a good impression and be clear of what you asked for if you get the job.
2. Don’t answer right away
If you really don’t have a number in your mind, there are ways to get around this tricky question. One good way is to say that you would like to know more about the role before you can let them know about the right salary.
One disadvantage of this approach as mentioned by Alison Green of Ask a Manager, is that most employers prefer to know your expected salary beforehand to speed up the decision-making process after the interview.
3. Provide a salary range
If you’re clueless about the standard pay scale for your current position in the market, it’s time to do your own research. The best place to start is by visiting job sites, search for job postings of similar positions and find out the salary range most employers offer. Of course, it’s not ideal to based solely on that as the pay vary based on your experience, qualifications, and skills.
Don’t forget to include benefits such as health insurance when calculating your salary package. If the company offers a comprehensive medical coverage, it’s okay to go with a lower pay range as it would save you money in the future.
4. If it’s a must, be specific
It’s not uncommon to give a specific rate as long as you can justify it. It doesn’t mean that you lock yourself in a frame and there won’t be room for negotiation. Many hiring managers are willing to discuss further after offering you the job. In fact, it would be a great opportunity for you to negotiate for a better deal since the hiring manager will think that you’re confident in your abilities and the value you can bring on.
5. Don’t neglect the work benefits
Many job seekers might overlook the importance of benefits such as health insurance, allowances for courses, and other fringe benefits. It’s reasonable to bring it up if it’s something you value more than just cash. However, make sure that you’re being realistic and don’t set your expectations too high. Be honest to yourself and do what’s best for your situation. For example, if financial stability is more important than flexible working hours, or you’d rather take a higher pay than having more allowances and health benefits. Make it known to the hiring manager during the interview to set the right expectations.