How to answer ‘What Are Your Salary Expectations?’

The easy answer is DON’T answer the salary question right away.

Because this is NOT a question that should ever be answered as a one-answer-fits-all.

The answer will be as different for every job seeker as they are from each other.

Don’t let anyone force your hand or pressure you for an answer until you’ve done your research.

How to answer the salary question

Why shouldn’t I answer the salary question right away?

  1. Because it’s a ‘knockout’ question. And your answer will depend on who is asking the question, in the first place?
  • A recruiter on a first outreach?
  • A hiring manager at the offer stage?
  • Somewhere in between?
  1. How much do you know about the position? Many things influence salary expectations – and they all must be considered in your answer.
  • Is there a commute?
  • Is insurance among the provided benefits?
  • What’s the level of responsibility in the role?
  • What level of work experience do you bring to the role?
  • What’s the standard for the industry and geographic area?
  • What is the employer’s budget for the role?
  1. Additionally, how you answer the salary question depends on how confident you, the jobseeker, are in answering it at all (expecting to answer follow-up questions).
  • Are you able to clearly communicate the value you bring?
  • Are you confident in your abilities?
  • Are you flustered by challenging questions?

What to do?

  1. Research the company, the role, the industry.

This is much easier now than ever before. For example, below is just a short list of ways to research companies, compensation and more to prepare for this very question:

  • Business Journals Local Business Directories – Searchable directories of businesses for more than 40 large cities.
  • CareerBliss – Get reviews and other critical information (tips, trends, salaries and more) for more than 700,000 companies.
  • CareerOneStop – Among other magnificent tools, CareerOneStop has a Business Finder you can use to search millions of companies.
  • Comparably – This site lets you compare employers, brands, salaries and more and hooks you up with news about each.
  • FairyGodBoss – Research companies, reviews, salaries and engage in discovery conversations with other job seekers here.
  • FirstHand and Vault – Search companies, reviews, rankings, industries and more.
  • com – Get the deets on hundreds of thousands of companies, including real reviews, compensation figures by position, interview experiences and more.
  • LinkedIn – The Jobs > Search feature lets you search for companies based on Industry, Job Function, Job Title, and Location.
  • The Muse – Get job and company information, as well as expert advice and even coaching services here.
  1. Based on the research you’ve done, you will be in a position to provide a fair and flexible compensation range for the position that incorporates what you’ve learned.

After all, we are what we allow.

If we allow ourselves to be put in a compromised position, we allow ourselves to be compromised. Period.

👋I’m Gretchen

👉I am a career and personal development strategist on a mission to teach you to find what you love without losing yourself in the process.

🎯I create sane strategies that produce serious results.

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