Bessie is a freelance writer and has 10 years of HR experience. She is currently a Regional HR Business Partner with a US MNC.
One of the common questions that you can expect during a job interview is the salary question. Employers will usually ask about your current salary and expected salary for the role to assess your suitability. Some of you may find it rather uncomfortable to disclose your expected salary since you are unsure of the chances of securing the role. On the other hand, some of you are perfectly comfortable declaring that you are expecting a minimum of 20% increase from your base salary.
What is the right way to give to an employer so as to ensure that you are not giving the impression that salary is the main factor for applying the job? Under such a situation, below are some suggestions on how you can handle this tough question.
Do your research
Before you attend the interview, it will be useful to research on the average market pay of the applied position. Several big recruitment agencies publish such salary information on an annual basis and are available to public on their website. Jobiness.sg is also a good resource whereby you can review the available salary data submitted by employees in various companies. Such information will provide you with an estimated range that you can expect for similar position. However, do bear in mind that salary ranges in companies and industries differ significantly. Hence, you should only use these information as a guide in preparation for the interview.
The term “negotiable” is usually the easiest solution when handling a salary question. Most interviewers tend to probe further in order to understand your expectation. If you are really unsure of how you are expecting, decide on a range that you are looking at. For instance, you could tell the interviewer that you are looking at a 10% to 15% increase, but you are willing to negotiate based on the salary range for this position.
READ ALSO: How Companies Determine Salaries for New Employees
Declare your minimum expectation
If you have in mind the least amount that you can accept for the role, do inform the interviewer of that minimum expectation. This is especially applicable for candidates who are considering a career switch. With no relevant experience in the new role and industry, you may not receive the same or higher salary as your current role. While considering the satisfaction that you can expect in the new role, it is also realistic to consider the lowest amount that could support your current lifestyle. As an Engineer, you may be earning a basic salary of $4000 while career switch may mean a reduction at least $1000. Do consider if the reduction is an amount that you are able to accept. You should be open to the interviewer and tell him or her that you are willing to accept a pay cut but $3,500 may be the minimum that you will consider.
You are strongly discouraged to tell the interviewer that you are willing to negotiate when you are not. The interviewer will be able to determine if they should continue with your candidacy if your expectation exceeds the salary range. In that way, it will save time and effort for both the company and yourself.
State your actual expectation
You may be one of those candidates who decide on a job solely based on the offered salary. There is nothing wrong with that but it is advisable to discuss that openly during the interview. If the interviewer is aware that you will not consider a role unless there is a 20% increase, it will help them to decide if they will like to continue with your candidacy based on your relevant experiences, job fit and internal salary structure and equity. Interviewers have met many candidates who tell them that they are willing to negotiate on the offered salary. However, when the job offer is presented, candidates turn it down immediately with the reason that the offered salary is less than the amount that they are expecting. That could set a very negative impression of you as a candidate. If you are attending interviews in the same industry, don’t be surprised when word gets around as the people within do know each other.
On a closing note, regardless of whether your interview is from the Human Resource or the hiring manager himself/herself, the same method applies when answering the salary question. Another mistake that candidates make when handling salary questions is asking too many questions in return. Examples of these questions include – “how much will you pay me for this role”; “what is the salary range for this position”; “what other monetary allowances can I expect”. These questions are internally sensitive and should be avoided until the advanced stage of the interview process when you are confident that you will be offered the job. Otherwise, these questions may bring down your overall interview scores.
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