How do you talk about salary in a interview?

Recently, through my Ask a question series where I answer of job seekers I’ve receieved many questions all regarding the same topic.

How to do deal with a question when an interviewer asks me point blank, “What salary do you expect from this position?”

Listening to responses and answering questions I’ve seen so many different answers to this question.  Instead of simply answering the question, I am going to let job seekers answer it for me and for you…

A good reply to that question is “What is the range that you are offering for this position?” That puts the question back to the employer. I have yet to have an employer not give me a range. If the range is too low you can say “Thank you, but that is below my range” and end the interview. But, if the range is “OK”, just tell them “the range is acceptable” and move on. – Jeff R.

This is a very good answer to the question and it does put the ownership back to the employer.  Let’s read another answer to this question…

Definitely a tricky question and one that can easily lead to pricing yourself out of the job or under-valuing your skills and experience.

One approach would be to summarize (briefly) the experience, skills and capabilities you bring to the table and how those can benefit and help grow the company. Then throw a question back at them like “What do you believe is the monetary value of bringing that level of experience and skills to the company?” – Tim G.

This is a similar approach to answering the question and a very good way to give a perspective to the interviewer about the level of expectation from the job seeker….Let’s ready another answer to this question…

“Fair compensation for the benefits I will deliver to your company” has worked in the past. If they come back demanding an amount, you can say I would be happy to put a price on the benefits after we agree on the benefits we are talking about. It’s all about the benefits the company believes the applicant will deliver in the next 90 days. – William K.

This approach is a little short sighted but William is right.  Companies are looking at the quarter and hardly the year now.

These are all very valuable responses and answers to this question.  There is no right or wrong answer because every interview, interviewer and interviewee is different.  If you’re more comfortable with pushing the issue Jeff’s way will work so you get what you want.  If you want to be a little more analytical Tim’s is a good answer.  Aiming to simply land a job and get it now or get moving on William’s answer will work very well.

What do you think? What will you answer when you get the salary question?

If you are interested in asking me a question about your job search please feel free: Ask the Career Doctor

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