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Handling questions about salary expectations

Congratulations! You have a job offer! How to handle questions like “What is your expected salary?”  Let us help you navigate through questions about salary expectations.

What to put as Expected Salary on job applications? 

You have to be honest.  What is the lowest salary you are willing to accept for this job?  Put down a range with your lowest salary as the minimum and a number 10-20% higher as your maximum.  If you are really not sure just put “salary negotiable”.  

Should I include Current and Expected salary on my CV?

Current salary – Yes. This helps potential employers gauge whether you are affordable. You don’t want to find out after a stellar interview that you are way above the budget for the opportunity. For graduates without work experience, you can include Expected salary in your CV.

Considering a new job, what salary should I ask for?

Prospective employers will consider your current/last salary when offers.  Consider asking for a range of increase based on the following:

  • How well do you fit the new job? 50% or 100%? This percentage correlates to your bargaining power.  If you fit the new job 100% and possess highly sought after skills, ask for 15-20% pay increment from your current/last salary.
  • Is this your dream job?  50% or 100%? This percentage correlates with how flexible your salary expectations should be.  If this is your dream job and yet you don’t have all the skills it requires, then lower your salary expectations.  Ask for 0-10% increment to show how much you want the opportunity.
  • Are you unemployed?  You have minimal bargaining power, so be flexible.
HR asking questions about salary expectations

When should I share my salary expectation with HR?

Only when asked.  In fact, never ask about compensation during an interview.  You don’t want your prospective employer to think you care more about the pay and less about the job.  Wait for HR to ask you. They will only when they are seriously considering you and not earlier than that.

Should I accept a salary that is below my expectation?

This really depends on how much you want and need the job? Do you have bargaining power? If the answer is you really want and need the job, then it’s a no-brainer… be flexible and accept the job offer! Landing a job that you want usually result in better performance. Trust yourself that you will get the salary expect eventually!

Performance review time.  What is a good pay raise? 

Year end pay adjustments are usually in line with the economy and inflation.  Variations will depend on the performance of the company, industry, and you personally.  In the current economic downturn, keeping your job and not getting a pay cut in the hospitality industry is considered lucky.