Applying for a job is a tedious task and what is more tedious is to answer the questions in the application form in the best manner. One of the most common questions that you will see in a job application is your desired salary. It’s quite obvious to feel clueless about what to fill because if the figure is too high, you might lose the job and on contrary, you might be underpaid. So what to do? Don’t worry, in this article, we will help you put an appropriate figure in your Desired Salary on Your Next Job Application through different tips and tricks.
So let’s get started with how to choose the right salary figure.
Learning the ideal way to put your salary on a job application:
When you are given the option of putting your desired salary in the job application, you have three broad choices:
- Leave the column for salary blank: The first thing that you can do to prevent a wrong figure in the salary column is to leave the desired salary column blank. In the note section given in most of the applications, you can write that you would like to negotiate salary in the interview. This choice is possible only if have the option of applying without filling all the columns. In case the job application form requires you to fill in the salary details, you can follow the below-mentioned steps.
- Put negotiable in the column if you have the option of writing alphabets: If you have the option to fill the field on the desired salary in your job application with alphabets, you should try to keep it negotiable. Sometimes there is an option where you have to choose whether your salary expectations are negotiable or not. In that case, don’t be too rigid and mark yes, your desired salary is negotiable. You can write even in notes at the end. This technique would help you to pass the first stage if the first stage selection is merely on the desired salary.
- Instead of a particular number, go for salary range: If you don’t have the option to fill it with alphabet i.e. you have to fill the column with a number then always research the market value first. After getting a fair idea of a prevailing stipend in the market for that job, you should fill the blank with the expected range, like 20,000 USD to 30000 USD. Putting a range of numbers rather than putting a single number makes it easy for you to negotiate or ask higher depending on the recruiter’s face.
How to determine your worth and pick the right range of salary:
So we saw that the first step to insert your salary into your job application is to have a surety of the range, that you are selecting. For this, you need to know your worth. You should consider the following factors to determine your worth:
- Comparing the desired job with a standard job
(Research in-depth about the pay scale of people in your profession):
The first step is to consider a benchmark job. What I mean by benchmark job is that job in the industry that has balanced salary expectations and duties. You have to search for a good job in the field and then compare the pay with your current or desired pay. One thing to note here is that you can’t know of a benchmark job based on its title alone.
To get the appropriate benchmark job for comparing, you have to search about the duties that the person has to do, the pressure that he has to handle, and the responsibilities that he has to take. The task is here to find a job that has similar requirements and responsibilities as yours so that you can compare how much you deserve. You can take the help of the Bureau of Labor Statistics database that will help you know the average salary of each profession.
You can also reach out to someone who is already in this profession and has more experience than you. You can connect with suitable people on LinkedIn or find them from your network.
So, in a nutshell, you have to research the average salary that other people in your profession are receiving on doing the same work that you are going to do. The job can differ in terms of experience, location, education, etc. So, now you will get a rough idea of how you have to proceed with the salary.
- Take note of essential factors about the company:
The next task to consider while deciding the ideal job range is to look into various company factors like size, location, distance, etc. If you are applying for a big company, your desired salary would be more than a small company. But again in a large company, you will have larger responsibilities while in a small company, you have more autonomy and less pressure.
Besides a particular company, the industry as a whole also makes a huge difference in pay scale. An emerging industry would give you a better chance of high payment. But on the other hand, a declining industry will take away the scope of pay increase. The best example is of work-from-home jobs that are on the boom and the other jobs that required fieldwork are declining. So, based on what industry you are working in, the pay figure will differ.
- The location of the industry and cost of living:
The next step is to check out if the industry that you are applying in is in a costly town or countryside. The cost of living in the area of your job also matters in deciding the salary. Some locations pay you far better than other locations for the same work. But the cost of living might be very high leading to a lot of expenditures. So, choose the location wisely by taking into consideration the cost of housing, groceries, and other necessities. If you find that the cost of living in that area is huge, you will need to write down a considerably larger amount of money as salary.
- Reach the right pay range by considering your experience, qualifications, and suitability for the job:
Now, finally after completing your research, you have to arrive at the right pay range. For this, you have to evaluate your skills, job performance, and other factors that make you perfect for the job. Education and Experience are crucial factors in deciding the worth. The more skills and experience you have, the more you can demand from the company as your salary. All these evaluative factors have to be accurate and honest.
Things that you should keep in mind while writing down the desired salary figure:
- Don’t put a specific figure in the salary column in the job column. The disadvantage of putting a specific number is that it snatches away the scope for negotiation.
- Always try not to reveal the past salary. Even if they ask, you can say that you would discuss that in-person but not here.
- Try to avoid writing salary in your Cover letter: It’s advised that you don’t put a specific salary figure in your CV or resume unless the company specifically asks you to do so. Even if they ask you and you have to write it in your cover letter, try to be vague about the salary expectations. By avoiding a specific figure, you can save yourself from offering your services at a very low price. The company would also not reject you just because of a high salary demand.
- During the interview, if the recruiter brings the salary issue, you can ask them about the range of salary that they are willing to pay. Based on that, you can negotiate if you feel your interview was good.
What is the best way to answer a question on the desired salary in a job interview?
One of the most commonly asked questions in a job interview is ‘what is your desired salary or what are your salary expectations? You have to answer this question appropriately because based on your flexibility and approach to answer this question, you will be selected or rejected. Certain tips that you can follow for answering this question are given below:
- Don’t answer spontaneously; Take some time to prepare yourself:
We often make a common mistake during the interview. We start answering the questions even before preparing ourselves. So when you are asked questions on salary expectations, give some time to yourself to get prepared. If you don’t feel that you are ready for answering the desired salary at that time, you can say that you want to take some more insights about the job roles, demands of the job, etc., before stating your desired salary.
You can even postpone the question by saying that you would like to discuss the job pay only after getting selected so that both parties are in a win0-win situation. This strategy would help you to prepare your mind for the answer, and you can give a better answer based on all your calculations, as discussed above.
- While citing any pay range or figure, give appropriate pieces of evidence:
Proving your point goes a long way in an interview. The same is the case for the desired salary question. You need to research the salary range of the industry, location, cost of living, etc., beforehand. So when you cite a particular pay range as your desired salary, support it with your research and all the evidence.
For instance, if you are demanding 50000- 60000 USD for a particular job, you have to cite valid reasons for the same. Mention factors like different large scale companies in this field are offering such pay range to its employees, and in your opinion, the present company where you have applied is no less than them. You can mention your qualifications, experiences, and skills and how you can add value to the team. In this way, you will prove that you are entitled to that much pay.
- Choose wisely where you have to negotiate and where not:
If you are quoting a particular pay figure and the recruiters look confused, you can talk about the possibility of negotiating. Negotiation is possible only if you have quoted a high figure that highly skilled workers in that field are getting. If you have stated the lowest desired figure in the beginning only, then it’s wise to stand by it. In this way, you have to choose wisely where you can negotiate with the pay scale and where you can’t.
- Salary lower than your desired pay can be accepted if coupled with other benefits:
Sometimes, the recruiter might offer you a lower salary, and you are not able to choose. In that case, it’s wise to inquire about the other benefits that you will receive in the job. The benefits that you can expect include health insurance, dental insurance, pension, retirement plan, etc. If these benefits are also coupled with your pay, then you can consider a lower salary for the job.
For instance, if you came to a particular salary figure after researching about the cost of living and commutation in a particular figure and you found that the company is providing you residential facility on its own, then it’s a good idea to settle for less pay.
- Be prepared to decline the offer if it is very low:
In interviews, you might be faced with a scenario where everything went well, but the recruiter is not ready to pay you a good ransom for your services. In that case, if you are sure that your quoted salary is the lowest acceptable salary for that job, after taking into consideration all the factors, then it’s advised to decline the offer respectfully. Declining something requires great effort, especially when you have put in a lot of hard works from sending an application to appearing in an interview. But if you are not getting paid adequately for your work, it’s better to leave the place and look for another suitable job.
- Show your confidence and use counter questions to discuss your desired salary:
Make sure that you are telling your salary expectations with confidence. If at any point the interview feels that you are unsure or unconfident, he will offer you a very low salary for the job. Therefore the best tip is to stay confident and show your worth. You can even use counter questions to show your confidence and determination to get a payment that equals your worth. The questions could be based on bonuses, commission, or other types of incentives offered by the company.
Things that you can say to answer the expected salary question:
Here’s a list of responses that you can give when asked about expected salary from the job:
- Sir/mam, I receive almost 60k USD in my present job. Considering the job role that I had to play presently, this figure is the maximum that I can get in the present job role. But I would like to seek a 10% increment after coming to this company because I have recently completed my MBA that further adds to my skills and knowledge. Also, as per the job offer, the responsibilities would be greater than the present role. So I peg my expected salary for the present job role at 70k USD.
This response is crafted especially for those who are changing their job for seeking a pay increase. This is a humble way to request a pay higher than your present job role.
- Through all the research that I did for this job, I have come to know that a person in this job role in XYZ city (the job location) gets on an average 60k USD to 70k USD. Since I have recently acquired certification in this field which further enhances my capabilities for this job. Coupled with that, I have a rich experience of eight years in this field. Therefore, I believe that I deserve a pay scale between 70k to 75k, considering all the additional experience and skills required for the perfect execution of job duties.
This response is suitable for those who have high experience in the field, and want higher pay owing to their experience, skills, and other factors that make them fit for the job.
- If you are not sure about a particular figure to quote as your desired salary, you can say:
Sir/Mam, as for now I don’t have any particular figure in my mind that I can quote as my desired salary. My alignment is more towards a job that can provide me with an opportunity to polish my skills, and help me in achieving my career goals. Only after making sure that a particular job helps me in these two areas, I can quote a fair salary. Therefore, I want to seek more insights on the job profile, duties, opportunities, etc. Based on that, I can ponder upon the salary that you quoted.
7 Sample respond for showing that you are open to negotiation even if you have written some salary figures in your cover letter:
- Regarding the expected or desired salary for this job, I had marked 40k to 50k USD as a reasonable price on my job application. To quote this pay range, I considered all the market trends, my capabilities, skills and qualifications, requirements for the job, and experience level. Therefore I feel that I am entitled to this much pay for the present job. But I am still open to negotiation for the pay and other benefits.
- I am currently earning an XYZ salary. So I want to tell you that I don’t have any particular number in my mind that I desire from this job. But I am considering a pay increase and am willing to take a fair offer.
If you don’t want to reveal your present salary, you can use these examples:
At this juncture of my career, I am not particularly concerned with any specific figure. My focus presently is on finding a job that aligns with my career expectations and skill set. If the present job profile matches both, I am okay with accepting a fair price from your side.
Even if they ask you again and again, for any specific number for the salary, you can simply say that you don’t have a number as such in your mind. Make sure that you are responding politely and professionally.
- If you want to push the salary discussion and want to make sure that you talk about salary only after being hired, you can use these replies:
‘I would like to tell you that most of the time, I keep the discuss the pay scale only after becoming sure that I am offered the job. So I would like to ask is that the case here too?
- If you receive a yes, you can say that you are willing to negotiate the salary.
- If you receive a no from the recruiters, an ideal answer will look like this:
I feel that we can move to the issue of salary discussion only after making sure that I am a good match for the present job. So would you like to let me know what else I can do to make you sure that I am a suitable candidate for this post?
In this way, you can push the issue of salary until you are sure that you are hired for the job.
Putting up your desired salary in the job application and answering this tricky interview question of how much you want as your salary, might seem a little complicated. But with the above tips and tricks, you can easily drop your desired figure into the application. Make sure that you are researching properly and considering all the factors while writing a pay range in your application. In the interview, Use other tricks, sound confident, ask for other benefits in the job, etc., and you can land a perfect salary for all your work.