When an interviewer asks you what your desired salary is, it can leave you a bit stumped. You don’t want to appear greedy and scare them off, but you also don’t want to sell yourself short. Perhaps you’re not even sure how much you can expect to be compensated for the position you are applying for. So where do you go from here?
One approach is to reply to the interviewer that you understand that the going rate for the position in the industry is somewhere around “x”. Or say that you are aware that the company pays between “y” and “z” for similar positions, and that you figured a salary for your job would fall somewhere between these numbers. This one requires some research, and ensures that you avoid sounding overly ambitious or like a complete pushover.
You can also inform the interviewer that you are making “x” amount of money currently, and that you are looking to improve upon that number. However, remember to add that you are focused on the position more than on the money, and that you are happy to consider another offer. This approach will put a little pressure on the hiring manager, but will also demonstrate that you are flexible and consider the job your first priority.
If you aren’t sure what sort of number you should throw out there, it’s okay to lob the ball back in the interviewer’s court in a pleasant way. Ask him or her what the company typically pays for similar positions, and then use this as a starting point to further discuss the matter, in terms of your current salary and your current needs. Don’t get too embroiled in negotiations yet, though – the time for that will be when you actually secure the job.
The trick with the salary question is to say as little as you can until the final stage of interviews, or until you’re pretty certain that you’ve snagged the job. If the company is really interested in you, the interaction surrounding this matter won’t feel as awkward, and you’ll have much more leverage in discussing it. The real strategy is to keep the emphasis as much on the job as you can, and then eventually come to a figure that both parties are happy with.
To a prosperous future,
The Doostang Team