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How to answer what are your salary expectations?

Salary Expectations– This is by far one of the most controversial topics. Everybody seems to have an opinion about that. Most HR or recruiters say that you should give a range. I think differently. As always, before I can give you a straight up answer there are a few things I need to know. 1) Who is asking this question? Is it a headhunter, HR, or the hiring manager?

So, let’s see the possible scenarios:

  1. From a headhunter. So, you are just interviewing with a recruiter or headhunter Scenario?
  2. From HR or internal recruiter Scenario
  3. From the Hiring Manager Scenario
  4. From the Hiring Manager but you started the process with a headhunter.

So, let’s start with Scenario 1

if it’s a headhunter asking you these questions; Then, I suggest you direct the question back at them. Ask; “what is the budget of your client for this role”. 90% of the time they will give you a range. Then, you can go ahead and say that it’s within your expectations. Ok. So, this was the 1st scenario.

What Are Your Salary Expectations? – Scenario 2

Salary Expectations

Is that HR asks you this question in the first stage of the interview? This is usually the first stage in your recruitment process. This is Before you interview with the hiring manager. See HR has very good reasons to ask you this question. They really don’t want to take that chance of introducing someone to Hiring Manager and let that person pass the interviews just to reject the job offer. It would be a major fail for HR. So, they want to immediately eliminate any candidates they may potentially fall out of the salary range they are prepared to offer. Something important here. They don’t just eliminate candidates who are above their budget but also below their budget too.

They do that because They judge your worth based on how much salary you draw. It’s weird like that. So, my suggestion, in this case, is for you not to answer this question. And they will insist, they will insist real good. But you just have to hold your ground and say something like the following; “I am sure PwC will be offering a competitive salary within the industry standards. I am not looking to get rich I am just looking for an opportunity to prove my worth to the company.

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That’s my only priority at this stage.” So, why am I suggesting this? Because there is a very clear conflict of interest here. It’s in HR’s best interest to eliminate all those candidates that are not within the salary range, and in your best interest to not take that risk of potentially failing even before getting a job offer. Simple conflict of interest. So, if you can pull it off, don’t give out any information. Just say you are confident their offer will be within the industry standards. They will push you though, and you will resist. But let’s say you couldn’t resist. Let’s say the HR is very adamant and you realize that you will have to give out a number. In that case, you will have to give out a number. What I suggest is before you go to that interview, visit Glassdoor.com and check out the salary ranges for your role. In there, you will see so many entries and you will be able to see the lower end as well as the higher end for the role. So, when they ask about your expectations, then you can just say between this and that.

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What Are Your Salary Expectations? – Scenario 3

The question comes from the Hiring Manager. So, the hiring manager is going to be your direct line supervisor. One of the qualities you want to highlight is your honesty. I suggest you very clearly say that you actually didn’t know about the salary ranges much. So, before going to the interview you checked Glassdoor.com and you realized the range is between this and that. So, you’d be happy to consider a salary that seems like the industry standards. This will be a very smooth answer. So, they can’t blame you for asking too much or too less. You just made a research and came up with a methodological figure. You are not greedy nor desperate. This is the industry standard based on your research.

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What Are Your Salary Expectations? – Scenario 4

If this question is coming from the hiring manager but you initially started the process with an external recruiter/headhunter. So, in this case, make sure you ask about the salary range in advance. The recruiters know the range very well. Because their client always tells them. And it’s in their best interest for you to get that job at a salary as high as possible. Because they make commissions based on how high you get paid. So, they will tell you a range. Then you can just share that range with the hiring manager later on in the interviews. I believe this is the safest approach.

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