What Level of Compensation Would It Take to Make You Happy?

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When an interviewer asks you anything about money during the process- it can immediately make things feel uncomfortable. This is especially true when you’re asked- “What level of compensation would it take to make you happy?” However- this is one of the most common interview questions- and you will more than likely have to face it during your interview. When your potential boss asks you this question they are not necessarily looking for you to produce a ballpark estimate of what you’d like your salary to be on the job. Rather they’re looking to gauge your investment in the job in question- and how much of your commitment to your work will rely solely on the bottom line of your paycheck each month.

Talking numbers regarding salary during a job interview is always a nerve-wracking task- but one which you must handle in order to be considered a candidate for the position in question. With a little preparation- job hunters can produce an excellent response to this or similar interview questions that will really help them stand out of the pack and make an excellent impression on interviewers.

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How to Answer the “What Level of Compensation Would It Take to Make You Happy?” Interview Question

Avoid Discussing Actual Numbers: Overall it’s best not to approach any interview question about salary in a straightforward manner. Quoting a salary expectation can have some adverse effect on your likelihood of obtaining the job- as well as the compensation you can expect in return in the years to come. For example- if a company plans to pay you $80-000 for the services you provide and you reveal that you only expect $60-000- the company may offer you only $65-000 instead of the initial intended amount. Likewise if the number you produce is above the budgeted sum allotted to the position you’re interviewing for- your potential employer might feel a bit put off or that there’s no point pursuing you as a candidate any longer. With this in mind- it’s best to wait until an actual offer has been extended by the company you’re interviewing with before beginning to negotiate. This is the point at which you’ll have the most power in this process.

Turn the Question Around: Rather than stating what you’d like to make up front- it’s always wise to make an attempt to get interviewers to show their cards first instead. Use this opportunity to inquire after a rough range of what the company expects to provide the individual who obtains this position and use the cited number (if they indeed produce one) to temper your own expectations regarding salary in the coming months and years you spend with the company. Of course many veteran interviewers may be familiar with this trick and might refuse to divulge this detail. However- the worst that could happen is the refusal to share their information with you- so it’s always worth a shot.

Focus on the Job: It’s always wise to gloss over most issues regarding salaries that are raised during the interview. Rather than dwelling on the numbers when an interviewer asks- “What level of compensation would it take to make you happy?” focus instead on what else you seek to gain from the job you’re applying to. Take this chance to really show your interviewer that you’re passionate about the field to which you’re applying and that you’re a great fit for their company- while briefly mentioning the importance of the salary you’ll receive without quoting a direct sum. Above all else- most employers want workers who are passionate about the work they’ll be performing- and this is an excellent opportunity to show that you’re in it for more than the money.

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Sample “What Level of Compensation Would it Take to Make You Happy?” Interview Answers

1. Well- of course compensation is always important in any line of work- but for my next job I’m really searching for something more than a healthy paycheck. I want a work environment that can really challenge me on a daily basis and that lets me use my skills to the fullest to make a difference in the community. I feel like your business is an excellent place for me- and I know I will fit in here very well. How much do you have budgeted for this position- if you don’t mind my asking?

2. I’ve done a bit of research on the salaries which are common with this type of position on the current market- and I’m sure that you’ll offer to pay me fairly for the work I’ll be performing for your company. If you’d like to share a rough estimate of how much you have budgeted for this position- I’m sure we can come to an agreement that’s beneficial to both of us moving forward.

Although interview questions such as these may make an applicant nervous- planning and practicing the best answer can help make a strong positive impression on interviewers.

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