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Common Interview Questions + Answers: What’s your ideal salary range?

salary negotiation 2022 interview common question answer

If money isn’t a dirty word, why is it so hard to talk about?! Many candidates find that compensation is one of the toughest interview topics to tackle. In fact, a 2020 study found that only 36% of Canadian professionals tried to negotiate a higher salary with their last job offer.

Most of us are either settling for our first offer or uncomfortable speaking up – but with some quality research at your side, you can often ask for a bit more in exchange for the value you’ll bring to the company. That said, let’s dive into some ways to answer the common interview question, “What’s your ideal salary range?”

DON’T SAY: “No, I don’t have a specific number in mind…”🤷‍♀️

If you’re not sure what you should be earning, you need to get an idea before the interview. Resources like Indeed, the Bureau of Labour Statistics, Levels.fyi, LinkedIn, jobsearchintelligence.com, recruiters in your industry, or even Reddit can be helpful in giving you an appropriate range based on your experience level and job title.

However, if you’re really not ready to delve into the money conversation yet – and this is early in the interview process – you can respectfully turn the question back on the hiring manager. They should also have a budget for the role in mind.

DO SAY: “I’d like to learn more about the role, its duties, and the team before deciding on compensation. May I ask what salary range you’re budgeting for this position?”💡

Remember, interviews are a two-way street. That means that hiring managers should be up-to-date on local salary trends and attractive perks heading into negotiations, too. It’s not all on you to provide a number off the bat! By tactfully asking for the company’s salary range, you may get a better understanding of whether you and the company are in the same ballpark.

If the employer’s salary range is what you expected or higher, thank them for the info and confirm you’re on the same page. If it’s a little lower than expected but still reasonable, it’s okay to politely let them know that – but express your interest in discussing the role further. Many companies will step up if they feel they’re at risk of losing quality talent.

If the hiring manager doesn’t have an answer at this stage (but you still have interest in continuing the conversation), you can reiterate your interest in doing more research and building an understanding of the role before providing a specific number.

@pivotandedge Stick to your guns and know your value! 😎 #salarynegotiaton101 #joboffernegotiations #salarynegotioation #howtointerview #jobsearchhack ♬ edamame – bbno$

DON’T SAY: “Well, my previous salary at my last job was XYZ.”😬

Many people feel like they have to disclose their earning history to a new employer – but if you were making less than market value at your previous company, you could be selling yourself short. Plus, many states and localities have actually banned employers from asking salary history questions, as this information can do more harm than good by perpetuating pay inequities.

In general, you should be setting your salary goals based on your current worth in the industry; what you’ve made in the past isn’t necessarily a good benchmark to follow. Avoid sharing that info, and instead focus on the bigger picture of the potential offer as a whole. Consider data from talent with similar skills and experience, perks and benefits, company size, development and training opportunities, and more.

DO SAY: “Given the responsibilities of the position and my qualifications in XYZ, I think $ABC is a fair figure.”🤔

Once you’ve done your research, you have to be confident in it! Stats show that 70% of managers expect a salary and benefits negotiation when they make a job offer, so your point of contact should be ready for a bit of back-and-forth… even if you’re nervous about starting the conversation.

Consider creating a “brag sheet” to solidify your argument. This one-pager should summarize your best accomplishments, providing specific examples of how your skills or contributions will benefit your employer. Compare your skills to the job posting – if you meet or exceed many of the requirements, this is a great way to demonstrate your worth during negotiations.

Ideally, you and your new employer will find a number that works for both of you. At the end of the day, it’s about more than base pay; the key to finding the perfect job is honing in on what you value most. For instance, you may be offered a flexible work-from-home setup, stock options, paid time off, a yearly bonus, or personal budgets that make up for what you might be missing in salary.

@pivotandedge we all know later means never🥲 get that timeline in writing! cr: @Ace Anderson #salarynegotiaton101 #joboffer #workfromhome #howtogetthejob #securethebag ♬ Your Résumé Looks Great – Ace Anderson

Just remember: you provide value and you deserve value back! Don’t be afraid to ask for what you should be earning. Best of luck out there!

For more tips like this, make sure to join the Pivot + Edge Talent Network. We’re always sharing our top career insights, hiring tips and all the latest news from our team, and we can’t wait to connect with you!

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