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Interview Tips: How to answer, ‘what’s your salary expectation?’

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Don’t deny yourself your job opportunities. Many people have lost great career opportunities because of the arrogance of asking for more than they are worth.

Why interviewer want to know your salary expectations.

They want to know that you understand your worth. Part of interview preparation is assessing the market and determining how you compare to other candidates. This should give you an indication of how much people at your senior level should expect to be paid.

They want to evaluate your greatness. If your minimum salary expectations are higher than those of other candidates who have interviewed, that shows that you have too much experience for the job.

They want to know if they can pay you. Every employer has a budget in mind. If candidates frequently ask for higher salaries than expected, they may need to ask for a higher budget or rethink the job specifications.

How to answer salary expectations question:

Provide a salary range.

Too much specificity can be a bad thing when discussing salary expectations. Rather than providing an exact figure, it is often easier to provide a range of potential salaries. Before establishing a salary range, it is important to consider two things:

Don’t offer too wide a salary range. Try to keep your range of boxes modest, and spread around £5,000.

Hiring managers can target the lower end. So if you have an “ideal” number in mind, make sure it’s closer to the bottom of your pay scale than the top.

Sample answer

Based on my experience and skills, I am looking for a salary between Kshs 50,000 and Kshs 55,000. Benefits are important to me too, so if they were very attractive, I would be open to something below my salary range.

Reverse the question

Sometimes the smartest way to give a minimum salary expectation is to turn the question around and give it to the hiring manager. In other words, when they ask you how much money you’re looking for, you’re asking what range they have in mind for the position.

Assuming they can answer with a number (or salary range), that gives you two possible follow-ups:

The salary matches your expectations (or even more), in which case you can tell them that you are happy with the salary.

The salary is below your expectations, in which case now is the time to tell them. Remember that there may still be room for negotiation.

Sample answer

Rather than give you a number myself, I would like to know what salary range you were aiming for for a candidate with all the skills and experience you are looking for.

Offer volume for negotiation.

Remember that you do not need to complete your minimum wage expectations during the interview. Instead, you can answer the question in a way that opens the door to further conversation.

If the hiring manager thinks you’re the best person for the job and has a broad understanding of the salary you’re looking for, it’s perfectly fine to leave the finer details for later.

Sample answer

Actually, I am looking for a salary of Kshs 45,000 – Kshs 50,000 per month. However, I would likely be willing to discuss this further depending on the benefits and bonuses you are willing to offer.

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