Personally, I don’t think there is one right answer to the salary question. Each employer will probably be looking for something a bit different in an answer. That said, here are three steps to help determine your response. Focus on creating the message you are most comfortable and confident delivering
Know your worth – Before you step into any interview situation, you should have a good idea of what you market value is. Take into consideration things like: how many years of experience you have, your education, skills, location, certifications, etc. Research other companies to see what they are offering similar positions or check salary sites or ask recruiters for a salary guide.
Know what you want – Regardless of salary surveys, current pay, etc. you probably have an amount in your head that is what you require: your bottom line. You need to make a decision and decide how firm you are on this amount and if there are any benefits or other variables that could alter this figure, e.g. holidays, company car, flexible schedule, etc.
Determine what you want to share:
A salary range – Based on your research, you could offer a range to your potential employer based on your experience, skills and market value. Make the range large enough for negotiation. And always make sure that you are comfortable with the lowest number in your range.
A number that’s high – You could be ambitious in your salary strategy, by giving a number that is significantly higher than what your current salary is. If you take this route, make sure that you have solid reasons to justify your rate. Also, be careful not to go too high; you may price yourself out of the job.
No answer – You could say that you would rather not to discuss the salary until a job offer is made. You could say you need more time to think before responding. In my opinion this approach probably carries the most risk. The employer may not want to waste any more time pursuing you if you could end up out of the price range.
Whatever answer you choose, make sure you sound prepared. Don’t be shocked when you are asked this question. Give a strong answer that you believe in. If you can, try to leave the tough negotiations until you have an offer on the table.