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I want $200k + stock options or make me an offer and we’ll haggle…

How to answer: “So, what are your salary expectations?”  

Um… well my Mum has always said that I’m her little prince and I can do whatever job I set my heart to… based on that it’s going to be hard to put a number on what I will be worth to your company…

“My dad told me to always aim high then negotiate down from there,” says Neil.

This will be a great skill to have if you go travelling or on vacation in a country where bargaining is the norm, thanks Dad. In an interview, don’t just throw a number out there.  You might come across as demanding, entitled, and potentially ill informed if you are way off the mark.

“I reply by asking them what they plan on paying,” says Simon, “that way we’re not just going round in circles, trying to feel each other out.”

How is that not going around in circles? What do you feel like doing tonight? I dunno, what do you feel like doing? In my experience, that has never got me anywhere before it’s closed.

If you are dying for this job and would take it if they offered you half a sandwhich and some old coupons, rather than saying that and making it seem like you’re desperate try, “I’d really like this job so I’m happy to be guided by your salary range.”  That way the employer knows that although you’re turning the question on it’s head, you have good intentions. Also, you aren’t openly selling yourself short!

“I look at the market rates before going into an interview then quote somewhere within that range,” says Beth.

Awesome. Research before an interview is never a bad thing! When you’re asked what your salary expectations are, make sure you communicate that you’ve done some research and the range for this sort of job appears to be between $40K and $50K, for example.  This sort of information is easily found by looking through similar job ads on career sites.

If the interviewer doesn’t bring up salary in the first interview – you shouldn’t either. Often the interview process is tiered and you haven’t got the dream job in the bag after just one. If there is a second interview, and you are confident they a goo-goo-ga-ga for your charm and skills, then you can bring up salary expectations.

Often there will be a salary range set for the role. This may leave some negotiating room and can be based on experience. If you are expecting to be on the high end of that range, just make sure you able to clearly articulate why you feel you will be worth the extra bills.

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