Navigating the Salary Conversation: Effectively Answering “What Are Your Salary Expectations?”
In the delicate dance of job interviews, the question of salary expectations often looms as a formidable hurdle. It’s a topic that can induce both anxiety and excitement, representing a crucial factor in assessing your suitability for a position. However, by approaching this conversation with confidence and strategy you can aptly navigate this question to negotiate the salary you deserve.
At Hall Recruitment, our CV Tips have always focused on providing accurate and relevant information to advise our candidates on the best possible way to convey to potential employers that you are the right person for the role throughout every stage of the job application process.
In our research for this article, we have found a number of blogs and news articles advising job seekers of how to answer this question. Some of the advice we have seen, is region specific however, others could find you discounted for the role as quickly as you applied for it. As a result, the purpose of this article is to dispel some of the truly bad advice we have seen and provide you with an actionable process to prepare for this question.
What Are Your Salary Expectations?
What are your salary expectations? is a very common question asked during the interview process. Typically, this question crops up after initial screening interviews when candidates are viewed among the top applicants being considered for the role on offer. As a result, any misstep can be detrimental to your candidacy. Below we have listed some “strategies” of what to avoid doing and why.
Strategy #1: Redirect the conversation.
Harvard Business Review (hbr.org) quotes career strategist John Lees who says: “You’re not in a position to negotiate well because you’re still in unknown territory. The time to discuss salary is after they’ve fallen in love with you.”
They go on to suggest that you redirect the question by asking about their budget with statements such as:
“I actually don’t understand the full scope of the role at this point in the process to accurately price myself, but I would love to know the budgeted salary range.”
Do not ask this question! If you do it will show your ignorance and lack of preparation for the interview and can subsequently discount you as the leading candidate for the role.
Almost every job advertisement displays front-and-centre what the salary range is. This figure shows not only their budget for the role and the department but also the level of experience they are expecting from candidates in the role.
You can utilise platforms like indeed.ie, Glassdoor or SalaryExpert in advance of application/interview to determine if the job is paying an average or above average salary. To say: “I actually don’t understand the full scope of the role at this point in the process to accurately price myself, but I would love to know the budgeted salary range“, shows a lack of preparation on your part and could result in you being discounted for the position.
If you have read our previous article about workplace culture, there are cultural nuances in the Irish workforce that should be taken into consideration before an interview. While everyone is different, from our 20 years experience as recruitment experts, employers like to see that you have researched and that you are not pushing your luck!
If a job is advertising a salary range of €40k to €50k, they don’t want to hear you say €60k, just because it’s the maximum salary offered by other companies. The reality is that when a job goes to market, the salary offered has been determined by market research, competitor analysis and then discussed with the CFO and CEO to determine the maximum they can offer according to their budget. Asking for more money than being offered will likely get you a polite “don’t call us, we’ll call you!” response.
If you are asked “What are your salary expectations?” it’s best to answer the question honestly and within the scope of what the employer is offering: “My current salary €X.XX, I’m hoping for a salary in the range of €Y.YY to €Z.ZZ.” Unless you’re being severely underpaid in your current job the general rule of thumb is to ask for a minimum increase of €2k from your current salary. This is based on the tradition that employees change jobs after 2 years. If this figure is lower than the minimum salary you would be willing to accept adjust accordingly within the range being offered.
If you are looking for more than they are offering, you shouldn’t be going to the interview as there is rarely any scope for negociation.
Strategy #2: Delay Answering!
Jennifer Fink, The Muse’s career coach discusses how a job opportunity is more than just the salary on offer. This is true as many of us choose to look for new opportunities because:
- We are unfulfilled by our current roles.
- We are looking for more scope and opportunities to grow in a new environment.
- We have reached the pinnacle of what we can achieve with our current employers.
- Our priorities have changed, and we are looking for a better work life balance, so we are looking for jobs that: shorten our commute to work or allow us to work from home.
- And so on.
The article is correct when it says “finding the right position can be more important than salary.” However, their advice to delay answering the question by saying: “I’d love to learn more about the job, the company, and the entire benefits package before we talk about numbers”, will not have the desired effect.
What are your salary expectations? Is typically asked towards the end of an interview. The interviewer wants to feel like they have come to a conclusion and are simply asking this question to confirm they can afford you. Giving this type of response, suggests that:
- They haven’t been clear about what the job is or what the company does.
- You haven’t correctly researched the position or company and suggests that you want them to do your work for you, a potential insight into how you will be in the role.
Job descriptions and company research can only tell you so much. While there is a lot of information out there you are only getting certain insights. If you truly feel that finding the right position is more important than salary, ask them about the team that you will be working with. Ask them what the company culture is like. Ask them why this position is now available, e.g. “Is this a new role, or was the predecessor promoted?” This will give you actual insights into how the company operates and what they value. However, you should only ask this question when they ask: “Do you have any questions for us?”, not when they are asking you about salary expectations.
After two decades as a recruitment company in Dublin, in our experience we have found it is best to answer this question directly. Employers appreciate the honesty and knowing where they stand.
Answering the question: What is your salary expectation? Can feel like it’s a daunting question. But employers only ask this question to candidates they are really considering for the role. The purpose of this question is to confirm they can afford you. If you have properly researched and reviewed the job description beforehand, you already know the salary on offer is within the range you are willing to accept.
So be honest, if there is an exact figure you have in mind, that’s within the range they have set, say it. If you are more comfortable offering a range start with your most recent salary and progress to the minimum you are looking for and the maximum you are hoping for.
At Hall Recruitment, we’re committed to connecting skilled individuals with exceptional roles and career opportunities. Explore our extensive job listings and reach out to our experienced team for personalised guidance. Together, let’s navigate the exciting world of career opportunities and discover the perfect match for your skills and aspirations.
Looking for a new career opportunity Click Below