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How to Answer – What is Your Salary Requirement?

The “what is your salary requirement” question is always a tricky and awkward one to answer.  The best way is to avoid answering it tactfully for as long as possible.   I recommend the following strategies in address the salary requirement question.

  1. Try your best to not provide any numbers – because you want to avoid either being too high or underselling yourself. Most recruiter friends always tell me “don’t be the first to draw blood”
  2. Re-focus the discussion on how the company reward above average performers, whether this company is the best fit, etc…This signals to the company that you believe you will be a top performer and that you can more about this role than just compensation
  3. Re-direct the question back to find out what the salary range is for this position? Therefore, making them show their cards first.   This is always a great way to deflect this question as well as find out if what they had in mind fits within what you expected.  If it does, you can respond vaguely and say “let’s focus on whether I am a good fit first and then hopefully we can talk about the right compensation based on my experience and skillsets”
  4. Tell them you are excited about the company – this subtly negotiates on your behalf, and if the company likes you and they don’t know your salary requirement, they may make you a salary offer on the higher end to make sure they can secure a positive response from you.

Here are some examples of salary requirement answers that have worked for me or my clients.

  • “Salary is only part of the picture. My number priority is finding the best fit for my career. I am very excited about this opportunity. I think I can be a valuable addition to this company. What is the salary range that the company is looking at for this position?”
  • “San Francisco is an expensive city to live in so starting salary is important, but what is also important to me is how this company rewards high performers. What is the bonus structure? How will compensation progress in a year or two?”
  • If pressed to provide a number, then try this “I hate to overshoot and be disqualified for this position, but if you need to know then the minimum I would accept for an ideal position is … ”

This last one give you room to negotiate since rarely is any job ideal.   Surprisingly the first two answers above usually work to deflect this question without providing a number.  If you have other suggestions that work, please share in the comments.  Thanks.

Good luck out there!  I am always in your corner.

– Lei

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Self Promotion Ideas

In a previous post I wrote “Hard Work Does Not Guarantee Success.” I still believe it but it begs the question – Then what else do you need to do to guarantee success? One answer that many people would agree with is – self promotion – make sure important people (like your boss and their boss) know what a top performer you are. That’s easier said then done. How to finesse self-promotion without coming off too boastful or self-centered is tricky.

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Career Change Advice – 5 Aspects to Consider

A career change is a major step and can often involve a step-back in pay, willingness to take a lower position, investment in more schooling, and re-positioning your skills sets.   A career change also requires significant effort in job search, so make sure you are changing your career for the right reasons and have…

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Best Questions for a Job Seeker to Ask in an Interview

An job interview is a two-way street.  You are there to demonstrate your qualifications, but you are also there to get more information.  So always be prepared to ask some questions in an interview, if time permits.  Most interviews are structured so that you can ask questions in the last 5 or 10 minutes. Here…

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How to Have a Career Discussion with My Manager?

To be successful, you not only need to be able to work smart and be recognized for it, you also need other skills to help guide you in your career progression.  One of these skills is the ability to discuss your career plan with your boss without seeming like you are complaining about your position,…

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Four Key Elements of Life

I came across a cool definition of life accidentally while doing some research on the MarketingSherpa for my business. It defines the four key element of life.  Before I read what it was, I thought perhaps it’s family, work, friends, and community. Many of us think of our life in these buckets. I was pleasantly…

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Working from Home Sucks

Lots of people love the idea of working from home.   With the daily 9-5 routine at a corporate cubicle, the luxury of working from home on your own business definitely represents “greener grass.”  Well, before you decide to do it, you may want to hear my story. This story will also apply to those…

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