Have you prepared a reply for the question “what are you salary expectations?”


You will almost certainly be asked at some point in the recruitment process “So, what are your salary expectations?” It’s an important piece of data for the recruiter and hiring manager but one that makes many candidates feel insecure and uncomfortable.

For women adding on an additional layer of complexity is that they now know chances are they are currently being underpaid.

In certain geographies it is illegal to ask questions around current earnings. But a recruiter will definitely ask either at the first screening so even if in the hiring manager asks later it’s important to get ready for this early on. The question is at what level do you make your pitch?

If you feel uncomfortable it’s because you need to be better prepared in 3 key areas.

1. Do your research

Research the job on offer on online platforms such as Payscale or Glassdoor. You should be able to get at least an idea of the pay range when you check out the job title, location, industry, company size, skills and level of experience.

Then take into consideration in other key factors which may be important to you that you can bring into the negotiation discussion. Be careful not to leave anything out. Meal vouchers can slip your mind but can add significant value totaled over a year. Add on all other elements flexi-time, remote working, professional development, maternity leave and career progression. Have a list of priorities and be clear what your walk away point is.

salary expectations

2. Negotiate with the recruiter

Be clear about your value to market proposition – where and how you had value to the advertised role. Also have at your fingertips your success stories and career achievements backed up by metrics. When the recruiter asks “what are your salary expectations” don’t let your nerves show. Link your comment to the level of seniority and the responsibilities involved. Indicate that you have done your research. Give a range so that the hiring manager will understand you are not rigid and willing to compromise.

If the recruiter suggests that the figure is out of the range – ask by how much.  If you have really been thorough you will know what the market rate is and be able to confidently make your pitch again highlighting the value that you would bring to the organisation. You know you meet the requirements. Maintain positive body language throughout and speak with authority. Any loss of eye contact or verbal hesitancy will show a weak spot or a lack of nerve.

Have the confidence to ask for what you need from a company. If this is something you struggle with, try our Returner Roll-Up Session on Building your Confidence.

salary expectations

3. Negotiate with the hiring manager

If the company indicates they want to make you an offer, they frequently go through the recruiter but sometimes may contact your directly.  Always ask for the offer in writing and if it doesn’t sit well always go back to the recruiter. Repeat your enthusiasm for the company and ask if there is any flexibility because you were disappointed by the offer. He or she can negotiate on your behalf. If you want to give the recruiter some leverage to use on your behalf pick some of the additional benefits that would make a real difference to you. It might be a different job title, flex, training possibilities, access to certain meetings or involvement in a specific project. You can also ask for a review after 6 month or a bonus scheme based on results.

It’s important to be transparent about your wish list. At this point a company has invested heavily in the hiring process but almost always they will have a second and even third choice. They will not lose a good candidate for a few percent of salary.

If they are willing to do that they the chances are it wasn’t the right job for you.

All aspects of a job search involve practise and responding to the “what are your salary expectations” is one of the most important to perfect. Make sure you nail this and you can apply the rules each time you move forward with your career.

Do you need help negotiating your next career move? Contact 3Plus now!

Staff Writer: Career Contributor
3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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Dates for the Diary


September 9th - Podcast recording Talkpush -  Discussion recruitment for inclusive workplaces
September  21st -  ENGIE Gender bias in Performance Assessment online
October 26th - Banque de Luxembourg Préjugés sexistes dans le processus de recrutment.



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