How to Answer: What Are Your Salary Expectations?

Before you apply for a job online, research the market rate for the position. There are many online salary estimators that you can use as a base, but don't just stop there go a step beyond by speaking to a trusted mentor or someone in your professional association to get a ballpark of the salary you should expect.

For instance, you can ask a mentor or industry insider something like this "I'm considering the role of studio manager and based on my research the salary expectations that's best aligned with my skill and knowledge level is $76,500. Does that sound realistic to you?"

I know this may seem like a lot of work to put in even before you apply for the position but they're asking you for your salary expectations and you want to put yourself in a position to be fully compensated for the role you may have. Common mistakes associated with this phase of the job search are:

  • Leaving it blank

  • Listing your current salary without consideration of the market rate

  • Picking a number based on your monthly expenses

  • Making up a number without respect to your skill/knowledge or the market rate

  • Typing the word "n/a" or "open" or "negotiable"

Any of the above shows a lack of understanding of what the market rate is and signals to the employer that you won't be a savvy negotiator.

The next time you may encounter the question What Are Your Salary Expectations? May happened during a phone screening or initial phone interview. Preparing a strategy in advance is the best way to navigate this phone conversation. Here are 4 elements to include as you craft your strategy based on the position, company, and market rate.

Reframe the conversation to focus on the job you are applying for not the position you are currently in. Many recruiters and hiring professionals will try to get you to share your current salary. While some states are making this requirement to disclosure current or previous salary illegal; in the majority of the U.S. states companies can ask and require an answer. To strategically maneuver around this question use a variation of the following statement.