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What Candidates Should Know About the Question, “What Salary Are You Seeking?”

If you are interviewing for a new job, at some point you’ll be asked to share your salary requirement. I’ve personally asked candidates this question over 20,000 times. It’s one of the best tools recruiters have to gain insight into several areas that go far beyond your preferred salary. Here are 3 things you should know about answering the question, “What Salary Are You Seeking?”

 

1. It’s important to remember in an interview setting, if you’re asked a question, not providing a direct response comes across as poor communication skills.


2. In an interview setting, answering with “I’m not sure what I’m seeking”  will make you come across unprepared.


3. This is one of the best opportunities you’ll have as a candidate to display grace, integrity, confidence, and again, great communication skills. Displaying all 4 traits will most definitely help you get invited to the next round.

 

If you are asked during an interview what salary or rate you are seeking, its your job as a great candidate to have an answer. Dodge this question and you’ll most certainly be remembered, but for all the wrong reasons – trust me on this.
 

OK, now that we’ve covered best practices, let’s take a look how others will look when not applying the 3 tips you just learned.
 

The NegotiatorThe Negotiator1

The Negotiator answers the question, “What Salary Are You Seeking?”, with abhorrent, interview-ending statements like,

“How much does the position pay? How much do you have budgeted? I’ll let you know after the interview”

Negative Side-effects

Displays poor communication skills. Simply answer the question. If you feel you need to set additional salary parameters, go ahead, but only after you’ve answered the question, not before.

 

The PitcherThe Pitcher

The Pitcher earns its name by the elongated way they choose to answer the question, “What Salary Are You Seeking?”,

 “…based on salary.com, in addition to my own research, and taking into account I have all the skills you are seeking, and not forgetting I took a salary cut in my last role, [bla, bla, bla, on and on, and on...] and I’m seeking a salary of …”

Negative side-effects

The “unveiling” approach makes you look nervous, desperate, and totally lacking in confidence.

 

The Giver3The Giver

Givers are candidates who are willing to make a lateral title or salary move, because they have been out of work, and are starting to feel desperate. Beware! They’ll wreak havoc on your quality-of-hire ratios when they find a job more in-line with their last. This is how The Giver answers the question, “”What Salary Are You Seeking?”,

“I’m not really concerned about the salary, for me, it’s all about the opportunity. I’ve done well for myself, and just need enough to get by; or I don’t want to tell you, because it will disqualify me.”

 Negative Side-effects

Coming off under or overqualified, and/or spooking the recruiter

 

The best possible way to answer the question, “What Salary Are You Seeking?”

“I’m seeking a salary of  $X; or in my current role, I earn $X and am seeking a X% increase”

If you are asked during an interview what salary or rate you are seeking, its your job as a great candidate to have an answer. Dodge this question and you’ll most certainly be remembered, but for all the wrong reasons – trust me on this.

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