What Salary Are You Looking For?

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One of the most dreaded interview questions someone can be asked in a job interview is- “What salary are you looking for?” This may also be phrased as “What salary are you expecting?” You could even be asked something along the lines of “What are you making at your current job?” Mainly when an interviewer asks this- he or she is trying to figure out if you know what you are worth. You do not want to give something so high that a hiring manager automatically disqualifies you. However- for your own benefit- you do not want to give a number that is so low you end up doing yourself a disservice. As is the case for most interview questions- you will be able to handle this inquiry much better if you do a little research and preparation beforehand. It could mean the difference between making thousands of dollars every year and living paycheck to paycheck.

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How to Answer the ‘What Salary Are You Looking For?’ Question

Research Your Position and Area Beforehand: The job listing might have had a figure of how much you will be earning. Other job listings give a range- and this is when a hiring manager will be more likely to ask you interview questions pertaining to salary. No matter what- it is important to know your worth- so you should do plenty of research before the interview in order to answer “What salary are you looking for?” thoroughly. In addition to finding sample salaries of the position at large- you should also try to focus your search on how much the job pays in your city or state. If you cannot find a definitive number- then it would likely be in your best interest to give a range- and you and the hiring manager can negotiate further at a later date.

Make It Clear That Money Is Not Everything: Another vital reason why hiring managers want to know how much you expect to make is to see how big of a factor money is for you. Naturally- money is important to an extent- but during the interview- you want to make it clear you are seeking this position for the work and not for a nice paycheck. If you are going to give a firm number- then you should also state that you sought this position for the opportunities it presents. The purpose of an interview is to show you are capable of handling all challenges the job might have- so express that.

Deflect If You Can: Another option you should consider when asked this question is to avoid answering in a professional manner. You do not want to simply state you are refusing to answer. However- you should politely say something that indicates it is still early in the interviewing process and that you would like to learn more about the position first before discussing salaries and benefits. This approach allows you to avoid being tied down to a specific number- allowing you a better opportunity to see if you even get the job offer. At that point- you will probably meet with HR to discuss your pay rate in greater detail. Bear in mind that some hiring managers will not go for this approach and will ask for a solid number at the first interview. There is not a whole lot you can do in these scenarios other than follow the other points.

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Sample ‘What Salary Are You Looking For’ Interview Answers

1. After doing extensive research about this position in [name of state]- I have found that most individuals are paid between $[number] and $[number] annually. I believe that is a fair range for the kind of work I would be doing at the company- if I am offered a position. However- if it is all right with you- I would much rather learn more about the job before settling on a firm number. There are a few questions I still have that I would really like to ask- if that is all right.

2. I am currently making $[number] a year at my current job- so I believe a salary around $[number] would be fair. Ultimately- I feel as though I can bring a great deal of value to the job and be a true asset to the company- and I truly believe that [name of company] is the right place for me after speaking with you and doing my own research. If I end up being your new [name of position]- I would be more than willing to discuss the salary further with you- and I am sure that whatever we come up with will be more than fair.

Being asked “What salary are you looking for?” might seem like a make or break question to be asked- but with a little foresight- you should have no problems answering it perfectly.

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