In today’s job market, defining salary expectations is one of the very crucial topics of discussion. As a prospective employee you want to make sure that you get the best deal from the organization. However, it is necessary to understand that pricing yourself appropriately is very important. Overpricing yourself might ruin your chances of getting a job. On the other hand, under-pricing would mean you are settling for less, which would eventually lead to frustration and you would spend the next few years trying to catch up to what you actually deserve to get.

‘What is your salary expectation?’ sounds simple but unfortunately, it isn’t so. Most people don’t know the right answer to the question. There is no exact formula to solve the question of salary expectations. If it was as simple as it looks then people across the board would be getting same salaries for the same kind of job. But that’s not how it works. However, you can get an approximate idea on how much to expect. There are several factors that determines one’s salary, some of them include:

  • Professional experience
  • Educational qualification
  • Size of the organization
  • Location, etc.

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    We again come back to the same questions ‘What is your salary expectation?’. To be able to answer the questions appropriately, below are some pointers to keep in mind.

  • Do your research thoroughly: Before applying for any job position, you should take your time to find out how much people are getting paid with similar background as yours. There are several online tools that can help you find out how much your services are worth in the job market. Such tools include salary.com, payscale.com, etc. Another way would be checking the job listings for similar position you are applying for. This would also give you an idea the kind of salary different employers are offering for similar jobs.
  • Delay Answering: Another way would be, delay answering the salary question. This would show that you want to know more about the requirements and responsibilities of the position before you can decide on a particular salary. You could also reply by saying something like ‘the market is paying somewhere between X and Y, does this suit your range?’. You could also deal with the salary question, by waiting until you are convinced that you have sold yourself as a capable candidate for the position. This way the employers might be more willing for salary negotiation.
  • Be honest: It is quite common for interviewers to ask how much was your pay in the last organization you worked for. You may find it tempting to give a figure which is probably more than what you actually made. But it is highly advised that you don’t do so, as the chances are the prospective employer would double check the number while doing the reference checks. In case you think you deserve to get paid more, then you tell them that presently you are getting X amount of money, but you deserve to get more based on whatever reason you think is valid.

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  • Give them a salary range: You could also offer them a salary range. But before doing that, you should do a thorough research about the position you are applying for, what responsibilities you would have to perform, what does your benefits include, what is the market paying for similar positions, and so on. Also, if you are changing jobs, you can expect a 15%-20% hike. So calculate accordingly and offer the employers a range.