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How to Respond to Desired Salary Questions on Job Applications and in Interviews

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When you’re applying for a job, you might get asked how much money you’re hoping to earn. This could be on the application form, or during the interview.

It’s important to have an idea of what the salary range is for the job you’re interested in, but that alone doesn’t answer the question of what you’re hoping to earn.

Even though the hiring manager might be looking for a specific number, you don’t necessarily have to give them one.

So, how do you respond to the desired salary question on a job application or in an interview?

There are different ways you can approach this question, and it’s worth thinking about which one is best for you.

You Can Avoid the Question Altogether

While it is common to get asked questions about your salary expectations when applying for a job, you can avoid answering these questions if you’re not comfortable with them.

It’s actually pretty easy to do this on a job application. All you have to do is leave the question blank.

Sometimes, job applications will have special markings next to questions that must be answered. But, you might notice that questions about salary are often not required.

It’s important to keep an eye out for these requirement indicators. Many companies are fine with waiting until the in-person interview to talk about salary.

This gives both parties the chance to negotiate and figure out a salary that works for everyone. Plus, when they ask you about your salary expectations face-to-face, they can also read your body language and see how confident you are when asking for a certain amount of pay.

So, if you’re not comfortable with answering the salary question on a job application, just leave it blank and wait for the in-person discussion.

Find out: What to put on a job application if you were fired

You Can Indicate that Your Salary is Negotiable

When you’re applying for a job, be careful about saying that your salary is negotiable. This can give the impression that you’re willing to accept a low salary.

If you do put “negotiable” on your application, be prepared to discuss and negotiate for a higher salary when the time comes to talk about it.

To keep things simple, you can either write “negotiable” or put a placeholder number (such as 000) on the application.

During the interview, when the hiring manager asks about your salary expectation, you can say that you’re open to negotiation and that the final amount will depend on the benefits offered.

Remember, it’s important to know your worth and be willing to stand up for yourself when discussing salary.

You Can Provide a Range for Your Salary

To make sure you get paid what you deserve, you can suggest a salary range when you’re asked about your salary expectations.

It’s important to do some research beforehand so you can determine the low, high, and median salary for your job in your area. This will help you come up with a range that you’re comfortable with.

It’s also a good idea to check out what the company is offering for the role.

Websites like Glassdoor can give you an idea of how much past and current employees have made in similar positions.

This information can be really helpful in figuring out what salary range you should suggest.

You Can Give an Actual Dollar Amount

Talking about your desired salary during a job interview can be tricky.

If you throw out a number that’s too high, the company might think you’re not a good fit for their budget and move on to another candidate.

If you give a salary that’s too low, it might hurt your chances of negotiating for a higher salary later.

It’s best to avoid giving an actual dollar amount if possible. But if you have to, make sure it’s within the company’s budget and not too low.

If you do end up lowballing, you can try to negotiate for a higher salary later by explaining that you didn’t know the company well during the application phase.

Find out: $25 an Hour is How Much a Year? Can My Life Depend on it?

It’s Best to Put Money Talks off Until After the Interview

If you’re going for a job interview, try not to discuss salary and benefits until you’ve had the chance to show off your abilities and learn more about the company.

Hold off on answering money-related questions until you’ve had the chance to impress them with your skills and determine if the job is a good fit for you.

It’s important to remember that you’re evaluating the company just as much as they’re evaluating you.

How to Delay the Desired Salary Question if it’s Still Early in the Interview Process

If the interviewer asks about your desired salary too early in the interview process, you can respond in a couple of ways to delay the question.

You could say something like, “Before we discuss money, I’d love to give you more details about my experience and skills.

Or you could say, “Let’s negotiate the salary after we’ve learned more about each other and found a win-win solution for the company and me.”

By using these responses, you’re putting off the salary discussion until later, and you’re also indicating that you’re not just interested in a paycheck.

The second response shows that you’re willing to negotiate for a fair salary, rather than just accepting whatever is offered to you. This can help set the stage for future discussions.

Put the Desired Salary Question Back on them by Asking Questions

Instead of directly answering the question about your desired salary, you can ask some questions to gain more information about the role and the company’s salary range.

For instance, you can say that you have an idea of what you would like to earn based on your previous salary and industry research, but you would like to learn more about the job’s requirements and the team before you provide a solid number.

Then you can ask about the salary range for the position, and if the company can’t disclose it, you can ask if there’s a ceiling on the salary.

By asking questions, you can avoid disclosing your desired salary and learn more about the job and the company’s compensation practices.

Find out: $17 an Hour is How Much a Year? – Before and After Taxes

Let them Know You’re Waiting Until the Job Offer Phase

When you’re interviewing for a job, it’s common for the hiring manager or human resources representative to ask about your salary expectations.

However, it’s best to hold off on discussing salary until you’ve received a job offer.

To avoid being pressured into giving a specific number, you can simply let them know that you’d prefer to discuss salary during the job offer phase.

You can say something like, “I’m happy to discuss salary negotiations when we enter the job offer phase of this process. Are we there now?”

This approach allows you to avoid giving a specific salary expectation and instead focus on the job itself.

If the interviewer confirms that you’re being considered for a job offer, you can continue to deflect salary discussions by asking about the timeline for receiving the offer.

By using this strategy, you can avoid putting yourself in a position where you might undervalue your skills or ask for too much, while also keeping the focus on the job itself.

You’ve Made it to the Job Offer Phase

Congratulations, you have reached the job offer stage of your job search journey!

At this point, the potential employer will provide you with a written job offer that includes various details about the position, such as the job title, job description, start date, and of course, the salary they are offering.

However, it’s important to remember that just because they offer a certain salary, it doesn’t mean you have to accept it right away.

It’s perfectly normal to negotiate for a higher salary or better benefits, especially if you have relevant skills and experience that make you a valuable candidate for the job.

So, take a moment to review the job offer carefully, consider your options, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you think you’re worth.

Remember, the job offer is just the starting point for negotiations, and you have the right to negotiate for a better deal that will benefit both you and your new employer.

Take the Stress Out of Negotiating Salary

Negotiating a salary or any price can be a nerve-wracking experience. It can be tough to advocate for yourself without coming off as arrogant or pushy.

This fear can make people avoid the conversation altogether, which can be a disadvantage.

However, there is a simple way to start the conversation without feeling stressed.

When you’re discussing salary with a potential employer, you can simply ask, “Is this salary negotiable?” These four words can open the door to a discussion about the salary and make the negotiation process less daunting.

By asking this question, you’re not demanding more money or making a big scene, you’re simply inquiring about the possibility of negotiation. This can help you feel more confident and less anxious about the conversation.

Find out: Bad Interviews: Can Great Candidates Give Them?- All You Need to Know

Don’t Simply Take the Salary they Offer

After successfully impressing your potential employer during the interview, it’s important not to simply accept the salary they offer you.

You have an opportunity to negotiate for a higher salary based on your skills and likeability. This is a chance to show them that you are confident and know your worth.

It’s important to start the negotiation process with empathy towards any financial constraints that the company may be facing.

For example, if you’re interviewing for a role at a small business, they may not have as much money to offer. By expressing understanding and acknowledging the situation, you can begin the negotiation on a positive note.

One way to approach this is to say something like, “I understand that you have a budget for this role and that can make negotiating salary somewhat difficult. However, I am excited about the opportunity to work with your team and am ready to fully commit to the [NAME OF ROLE] position.

By approaching the negotiation in a thoughtful and empathetic manner, you increase your chances of getting the salary you desire while also building a positive relationship with your potential employer.

Let them Know they Will Get You

When you’re in the process of negotiating a job offer, it’s important to communicate effectively with the company you’re talking to.

If you have another job offer on the table that’s higher and you know you’re going to take it, be transparent with them.

Let them know that you have another offer already and that you’re currently in the salary negotiation phase with that company.

This helps the company understand that they may need to be more competitive with their offer if they want to secure your talent.

However, it’s also important not to sound too desperate or give away too much information, as this can weaken your bargaining position.

Instead, emphasize that you’re interested in their company and the projects they have coming up, and that a successful salary negotiation would solidify your decision-making process.

By communicating in this way, you’re showing the company that you’re not wasting their time, and that you’re a serious candidate who has other options available.

This can encourage them to work harder to secure you by offering a competitive salary that meets your needs.

Remember Salary Equals Money Plus Benefits

When you think about your salary, it’s not just about the amount of money you will receive on your paycheck.

It’s essential to take into account the benefits that come with it as well. For example, Company A may offer a lower salary than Company B, but they may provide more vacation days, making up for the difference.

It’s also crucial to consider other factors such as the location of the company, growth opportunities, and whether they offer education reimbursement.

Sometimes, these factors can make a big difference in your overall job satisfaction and long-term career prospects.

So, when evaluating a job offer, don’t just focus on the salary alone. Think about the entire package that comes with it and whether it aligns with your priorities and goals.

Final Thoughts- Answering Desired Salary Questions on Job Applications and in Interviews

At some point in your job search, you will need to talk about salary. But the trick is to wait until you have a job offer in hand before you bring it up.

This gives you an advantage in the negotiation process because the employer will have to make the first move and reveal their desired salary and benefits package.

If you bring up the topic too soon, you risk pricing yourself out of the job or appearing too focused on money.

On the other hand, waiting until the job offer stage shows that you are genuinely interested in the position and are willing to negotiate.

Of course, to get to the job offer stage, you need to make it past the initial screening process.

A well-written resume can help you pass the applicant tracking system, get noticed by hiring managers and get your foot in the door. By highlighting your skills and accomplishments, you can make a strong case for why you’re the right person for the job.

So, take the time to craft a professional resume that showcases your strengths and experience.


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