Have you ever been for an interview and the salary question just pops up. Gbam! You were puzzled and wondering how you will answer this question without being seen as greedy or cheated. This can be the trickiest question sometimes in an interview. Here, you seem to be in between the devil and the deep blue sea. “How will I answer this question aright?” You ask yourself.
Now, if you tell your interviewer an amount that seems to be outrageously more than the actual salary, many things may come to the interviewers mind. Perhaps, you are greedy or you will be seen as one who will be financially unsatisfied in the course of working with the firm. If you tell him or her an amount less than the actual salary, you may later discover in future that you are earning less than your contemporaries doing the same job. Then you may feel cheated.
Why the Salary Question is Tricky and Important
You may be wondering what the big deal about the salary question is; yet it’s one question that often stumps job candidates. Not only that, but it can change the climate of an interview from red hot to ice cold as a result of a few digits of difference in thinking. The reasons why companies do ask job candidates the salary question encompasses the following;
The Basic Tip to Answer the Salary Question
If you still develop cold feet when the salary question pops up in the course of an interview, it could be due to so many reasons. Most of these reasons could be eliminated by just this tip.
Research about the firm's salary structure before the interview
It is very important you research about the salary structure and pay system of a firm before an interview. There are tens and in some cases hundreds of people competing with you for that particular job. So you must be able to present yourself to the interviewer in a way that will make him or her see you as knowledgeable about the firm in all ramifications and thus give you competitive edge.
You could inquire the salary structure from employees in the firm you intend to interview with.
In complement to the salary research, it is also important you study and do a deep research on the company's interview likely questions and company’s culture.
Note that your mission is to sell yourself and convince them of your worth to their organization before you reach the point of salary negotiations.
Strategies for Answering the Salary Question
1. The Humility Style
This is the first strategy that is always encouraged to use when answering the salary question. This is because, you are trying to play on the interviewer’s sense of empathy and letting him take the lead. It’s more like stating that you are open to anything. But of course you should have inquired about the salary structure on MySalaryScale. Thus, the interviewer is forced to say the first figure. Then you can start bargaining from that standard to the actual rate you inquired about. Examples of answers here are;
2. Bargaining using the Market Rate
If you have inquired for the market rate of the job position using MySalaryScale or have gotten information from employees working in that firm, you should be able to answer the question almost accurately to what the interviewer thinks. Examples of answers here are;
Always end it with a question to the interviewer for feedback not to sound too certain.
3. Answering the Question with another Question
It's no news that a typical Kenyan answers a question with another question. But here, you must do it with great tact and courtesy. Examples of answers here are;
The way you say this is very important. Say it with a smile on your face and raise your voice at the end of the sentence, so it seems like a question.
Then pause. Just stop talking. By silencing yourself quite abruptly, you are forcing the other person to talk and it shows you are in control.
Again, you must do this in a very ‘upbeat’ way. We don’t want you to become defensive as this can sometimes come across as aggressive… not a good look
4. State your previous Salary
Stating your previous salary even without answering directly could set a standard for the interviewer to base his or her decision on. For example;
5. Other kind of Answers for the Salary Question
There are other different ways to answer the salary question in such a way to get positive results. Some of the other answers are as follows;
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