How to Set Your Salary Expectations

How to Set Your Salary Expectations

During the application process, there will inevitably come a time when you are asked the question, 'what are your salary expectations?'

Don't panic when you hear this question, as there are many ways to answer it. What you need to do before is to have a clear understanding of the salary that you expect. Factors that influence your salary expectations range from the years of experience you have to the location of the job.

In this article, we will dive into why employers ask about your salary expectations, how you can decide your salary range, and how you can answer the question during an interview.

Why do Employers Ask About Salary Expectations?

Employers ask about your salary expectations to gauge you as a candidate. First, they need to see if they have the available budget to afford to pay you. Employers will want to stay within their outlined budget, but if you offer a unique skillset or are highly talented, they will sometimes adjust this budget to a higher level.

Employers can also assess your knowledge of the job and if you know your worth. If you ask for significantly less than the typical industry average rate, an employer can deduct from this that you may be unfamiliar or underqualified with the role. If you ask for too much, this may flag that you're either overqualified or that again, you're unfamiliar with the role.

How to Decide Your Salary Expectations

Every job will have different salary expectations. It isn't as simple as making an estimate depending on how much you want to be paid. Here are some things to consider when deciding what your salary expectations should be.

  1. Research the job position online

    Conduct an online search of the job title you're applying for. Look at a wide range of job listings and calculate what the typical salary rate is for the role. If the role earns different levels based on experience, align your experience with this information.

  2. Consider the location

    Different locations demand different salaries. Some cities, states, and countries are more affluent than others, with higher costs of living and higher salary levels. Due to this, it will be wise to set your salary expectations to fit into the typical salary range of the area where you will be applying to work.

  3. Take into account any extra expenses

    Factor in the different expenses that will occur if you land the job. If you will need to drive a long distance or move to another city where the organization is located, it will cost you money. When you set your salary expectations, you can include either direct compensation or implement the expenses to be covered in your overall salary.

Once you have taken these factors into consideration, it is time to set your salary expectations. Try to limit your range to not be too wide. A good rule of thumb is to keep your range below a difference of $10,000. For example, if you wish to make $40,000 a year, your range can be $38,000 to $45,000.

Answering the Interview Question 'What Are Your Salary Expectations?'

Before you go to an interview you will want to have an idea of what your salary expectations will be. If you are unsure of what to say or fearful that you'll price yourself out of the job, there are different ways to answer this interview question. Here are some of the ways to answer a question about your salary expectations.

  1. Tell the interviewer your salary range

    Let the interviewer know what your salary expectations are. If you have done your research, your interviewer should agree to a fair salary within your range. Don't forget to mention any extra expenses that will need to be covered due to relocation or travel.

  2. Ask the interviewer what they are willing to pay

    Instead of giving your salary range, flip the question and ask the interviewer what they believe is a fair salary. Many job listings will state this beforehand, but it is worth checking and hearing it directly from your interviewer. You could say something like, 'thanks for the question, it would be valuable to me if you could share what the salary range for this position is.'

  3. Delay your answer

    You can also delay your answer if you are unsure and need more time to research. Let the interviewer know that at this moment you're more interested in finding the right position for you, rather than the salary. You could say, 'I'm more interested in finding a position that I have passion for at this time. I'd love to learn more about the role and the organization before I give a salary range.'

In an interview, you will benefit most by being honest with your interviewer. Set your salary expectations to be realistic for the position you're applying for. If the salary doesn't meet your requirements, don't undervalue yourself. Reconsider your application and assess if the position is what you really want.

Written by Career Specialist Mar 07, 2023
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