How To Answer the Dreaded Salary Question

Kendra Prospero, CEO, Turning the CornerBy Kendra Prospero
CEO, Turning the Corner, LLC

 

I Hate that Question!

Ug. The most dreaded question when interviewing is the, “So what are your salary requirements?” Nobody likes to hear it and most employers ask it in such a way that all it does is make you – the job seeker – feel totally uncomfortable. And believe me Turning the Corner is doing everything we can, company by company, to make sure that we let companies know to make this question easier on you. However, here is how you need to answer this question.

Do Your Own Salary Research

Before you interview for any position, make sure you have an idea of the salary range before going into the interview. The best way to do this is to look on onetonline.org or salary.com. However, the information is pretty inaccurate for Boulder. So if you’re interviewing for a job in Boulder, look on indeed.com/salary for similar positions in Boulder. Your goal with the research is to make sure you have an idea of the salary range for the role.

How to Answer the Salary Question

Once you’ve done the research you will know the approximate minimum and maximum salaries for the position. You need to be sure that your minimum amount in the range is a salary you are comfortable earning. When the interviewer asks the dreaded “What are your salary requirements?” question, provide your range. You can say something such as, “I am looking for a job that pays between $75,000 to $85,000“. The company just wants to know if you’re within range for their budget.

If the salary range is significantly less than what you are currently making you need to have a very good reason for why this position would be acceptable for you. Nobody (including you) thinks that you’re going to enjoy a job if you’re going to be making significantly less. One good reason you would take a paycut is that you are wanting to transition into a new industry and you recognize that it will pay less. Another good reason could be that you also recognize that it’s a brand-new sector of some sort, like going from for-profit companies to nonprofit organizations.

Please, Answer the Question

I know it’s a scary question, but you need to answer it. You should know that we’ve never had a company try to underpay someone just because they had a lower salary requirement. Generally, companies have set aside a specific budget for a role and they will pay that range for the right person regardless of prior salary.

If you have any questions, please call us at 720-446-8876. You can succeed and we’re here to help!

3 comments on “How To Answer the Dreaded Salary Question

  1. Hi Kendra, do you remember me? Seems like a life-time ago we were working on Bellsouth’s ADF. Hope things are well with you and your family! Great article and advice! -David

  2. Yes – I agree about doing the research. Then, I would respond to the company with, “My market value is $xx,xxx.” That way, they know you did research and are being realistic. Also, if they come in lower than your market value, there’s an opportunity for conversation about why they are not able to pay that.

  3. Thank you for helping with this question. As an employer, it is very helpful to know. I always ask before even getting to the interview bc I don’t want to interview someone who is way out of our budget. It is very helpful to have this information though. If someone’s answer is a bit higher but it’s the perfect person, I will try to find a way to stretch our budget or find other ways to sweeten our offer. For me at least, I ask the question so that if they are close to our range and it’s the person I want, then it helps me to make an attractive offer to them. It’s not about trying to find someone for less. I want the right person and I want it to be a win for both of us.

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