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25 Feb, 2012

What Salary Should You Ask for at an Interview?

By Vitaly Vitvitsky | Category: Interview

It is plain that every jobseeker wants to be paid more. But what salary should you ask for during an interview so that not to make a bad bargain and at the same time not to scare off an employer?

Many young specialists determine salary on the following basis: “I have such and such needs, so it means I should ask as much as it is necessary to cover those needs.” But such an approach is a critical mistake.

In fact, an employer acts as a buyer in the labour market, and you need to sweat to SELL yourself. But if so, it is very important to determine the right “price”. But how can you do it?

That’s what I say. If you already have a little bit of experience, you should know you cost so that the question of a potential employer about your salary expectations won’t take you by surprise. In the same way as you should have a ready resume to be sent to a potential employer once he appears on the horizon.

From time to time, say every six months or a year, you need to investigate the labour market to find out the current level of wages. Because first, wages are inclined to change, and secondly, you, improving your skills and gaining experience, go up as a specialist.

How can you make these investigations? First of all, you need to collect as much information on salaries as possible. Then, these data should be analyzed. It is important to use all available sources of information, namely:

— job postings and jobseekers’ profiles on job sites;

— job postings and jobseekers’ ads in print publications;

— job posting on the web sites of recruiting agencies;

wage calculators;

— the web sites where employees anonymously disclose their salaries;

job forums, professional communities;

labour market investigations available.

Of course, you need to search for those job descriptions and jobseekers’ profiles that best match your current experience and professional profile.

Since not every vacancy announcement or jobseeker profile indicates the offered or desired salary and has a detailed description, you have to look through many of them.

At the stage of the labour market data analysis you should exclude the maximum and minimum values, find the most appropriate job descriptions or jobseekers’ profiles, and calculate the arithmetic mean value. You should take into account that jobseekers’ demands are often overstated, many offerings from employers are understated, and not all data are reliable.

As “wage informers” you might also use your colleagues in the industry or profession, HR managers and consultants from recruiting agencies that you know.

To determine the requested salary you can also use the following method: ask for the salary wish is about a third higher than you get now. But that’s only if you are employed now, and the new job is similar to your current work in terms of professional growth, career opportunities, social package size, etc. After all, if the new job has a number of significant advantages, it is reasonable to agree to a lower salary.

And finally, other benchmarks for your cost assessments will be the salaries offered by the interested employers (the employers that don’t want to pay according to the market levels are not considered). You only need to make potential employers indicate salaries (other than pushing you to express your demands). If these amounts are equal or greater than you calculated (assuming that you are not mistaken), congratulations!

I wish you good salaries and – a successful career!



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