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The Salary Question During an Interview

interviewingQ: How do I answer when I’m asked about my salary preferences?

A: This question is tricky because answer too high and you’ll seem too expensive of a candidate. Answer too low and you’re effectively selling yourself short.

Before you go into any interview, whether it be through phone or in person, make sure you perform a quick research of the position you’re interviewing for. Check your salary estimates using sites such as glassdoor.com, salary.com or payscale.com. Unfortunately, not all of these are accurate based on the level of experience you have and the importance of your skills relative to that company, so be sure not to base your salary entirely on these estimates. However, definitely use these sites as a good reference point.

Next, always answer this question as a range. For example, saying that your salary expectations are 40,000 to 50,000 broadens your chances of answering within the range that the employer is willing to offer. Be prepared to receive an offer towards the lower side of your range. If this is not something you’re willing to accept, don’t say that lower range just for the purpose of having a range.

If possible, deflect the question if you are at an early stage of the interview. Put the focus on understanding the job requirements instead by saying, I’d love to learn more about this job’s requirements and how well I meet these needs before discussing salary. Another approach is to try and ask them what kind of range they’re offering instead. Say, I’m sure you’ve budgeted a salary range for this position and I’m certain we’ll reach an agreement if I am your preferred candidate. What is this budgeted range?

Finally, make sure you practice answering this question. Money talks are always sensitive subjects, so to prevent yourself from choking up during the interview, practice before hand.

To brush up on other interview related skills, read on for some more interviewing tips!

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