One of the most difficult questions that a job candidate is asked is”What are your salary requirements?” How you answer this question can either lead you to your next job or put your out of the running, in which case you may never hear from that employer again. Don’t get trapped in the pitfalls of this loaded question. Here are some suggestions on how to answer the question of your salary requirements.
1. Give a Range, Not a Number
In order to avoid pricing yourself out of the job or lowballing yourself, give a salary range, not a number. For instance, you can say, “I’m looking for something in the range of between 50K and 55K.” That’s vague enough that the employer will be able to tell if they can afford you without locking you into one specific salary figure.
2. Emphasize the Benefits
If the interviewer presses you for a specific number, you can qualify your answer by emphasizing the benefits. For instance, if they ask what you were paid at your previous employer, and you’re looking to get a much higher figure at this new job, say, “Well, I was only getting paid $30K, but the extensive benefits made it worth my while to work for a little less than what I’m actually worth.” This sends the message that you don’t consider that past number an accurate measure of what you’re willing to work for now.
3. Say That’s Why You Left
If the interviewer forces you to tell how much you made previously, and you feel it’s far too low, you can mention that’s one of the reasons you left that company; because they couldn’t afford to pay you a competitive salary. Your new job will understand that in order to retain your services, they’ll have to do much better than that.