If you've ever struggled with the question “What are your salary expectations?” here's a brilliant way to answer it
Sometimes this is because we’re not comfortable talking about our needs in front of a roomful of strangers, or we’re afraid to give the wrong amount and either lose out on an offer or short-change ourselves, or both.
But companies often need a figure to get the process started, some even include it in their automated application process, and of course what do you say when asked outright in an interview?
Ask Google and you’ll get results that include replying “My salary expectations are in line with my experience and qualifications”, “If this is the right job for me, I am sure we can come to an agreement on salary” and “Tell me more about the benefits offered”.
None of these answer the question or give the hiring manager anything to go on, and still leave you clueless as to what to expect. So, we did some research, and found one answer that really got our attention.
Their question: "What are your salary expectations?"— Ian Coldwater ????? (@IanColdwater) February 7, 2019
Your response: "What is the range for this position?"
Seriously, try this, especially if you're underrepresented.
The results will be...educational.
Q: What are your salary expectations?
A: What is the range for this position?
Answering a question with a question is a bit of a bold move in an interview situation.
After all, you’re there to tell them about yourself, and hopefully get hired based on how you present yourself. While it’s expected that you will ask about relevant methodologies and the company culture, it could be seen as rude to ask them what salary is on offer.
But bringing it up as a response to their question is a safer way to tackle the topic. And you could cushion the question in a response more like “I’ve researched the industry and have an idea of what the competition are offering, could you tell me the range you offer for this position?” or “I know you will have a salary budgeted for, perhaps you could tell me the range and we could take it from there?”
This conversation could also take place over email, or during a phone call. The key element here is not to give anything away, and to instead gather information.
Women are notorious for selling themselves short, and in order to not fall into that trap it’s best to avoid it entirely. But what if you are being pushed for a number? We found this brilliant approach to finding a way to gather insight into salary expectations:
I show the job to white male friends and ask what they'd ask for and what they'd reasonably expect if they had a resume like mine.— Cat in your computer (@CatBailey) February 7, 2019
I nearly fainted when I was given a number double what I dared think of asking.
And why not?
What better way to break down the wage gap than to go in at the same salary a man would ask for? The number might very well seem much, much more than you expected, and you can do with that what you like, but it will make a good starting point for you to set your own expectations.
Lastly, respond with confidence. Know you are asking for what you, and any other reasonable professional, would be expected to ask for. This is the salary that you will be building on for years to come.
Start low, and you can expect to stay low.
Start high, and you will reap the rewards as the years go by and increases are earned. If your application is rejected based on your salary expectations, then you will know that this was not the company for you and you would have been undervalued for the rest of your career.
Many companies do not give increases above a certain percentage, regardless of your dedication and proven results.
The expression ‘Think like a man, act like a lady” is outdated, and borderline sexist (no one should be expected to behave a certain way based on their gender), but in the work place it can be useful with one small change: “Think like a man: ask for what you’re worth.”
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