Job interview question and answer: What salary do you expect in this position?

$100, $50, $20: What salary do you expect?
Robyn Mackenzie |

The mention of salary in a job interview is a delicate subject that can often leave both interviewer and interviewee squirming in their chairs. You should wait for the interviewer to broach this tricky matter first and give some indication without specifying an exact figure – a salary range is better. You need to be realistic about your market value and there is a fine balance between overselling and underselling yourself – and neither of these outcomes is desirable.

If the job advertisement doesn’t make mention of the pay, then you will need to do a little investigating of your own. Understand the position and the key responsibilities. Take into consideration whether it is full time, part time, casual or contract, and whether you will be offered a package or a flat rate. Search for similar positions advertised on job boards and take note of the pay or salary package that accompanies each one. This will give you an idea of what to expect.

When asked, your research will come in handy for you to state a salary range that you would not only expect from the company and the position, but also one you would be willing to accept. You may mention your current salary as a kind of benchmark, especially if you’re applying for a similar role.

While most people like to upgrade their salary with each new job, bear in mind that a new position will not necessarily warrant a pay rise. Convince the interviewer that although the pay is important, it is the job that you are most interested in. Instead of just shouting out the first figure that comes to mind, take the time to explain to them why they should pay premium dollar for your skills and experience. However, make sure you do this without convincing them that they actually can’t afford you!

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