When answering questions about desired salary or salary expectations in an application, it is best to write “negotiable” or leave the field blank. If a numeric answer is required, enter “000” and include in a note section that the salary is negotiable based on further understanding of the position.
When applying for jobs, you may find that many applications ask for your desired salary or your salary expectations for the position. This question relates to the amount that you would like to be paid for a specific job. Companies ask about salary requirements to screen prospective applicants both in the application process and during the interview, but your response may cut your earning potential or even cost you the job. Learn how to navigate through this application and interview question so you have the best chance of getting the position and salary you deserve.
How to answer the desired salary for an online application
Many applications ask for your desired salary, but it is not necessarily in your best interest to answer the question. The most strategic approach is to delay the salary discussion. Depending on the specific needs of the application, your options for avoidance may vary. Familiarize yourself with these three possible answers so that you can address this question in your next application.
Option 1: leave it blank
Your first way to delay the salary discussion is to leave it blank. The reason is that whatever number you provide could limit your salary options or exclude you from running if your answer is out of budget. Take a look below to see how both scenarios could play out.
If your stated salary is too high …
The recruitment team may decide not to pursue your application any further. You have more leverage to negotiate a higher salary after having an interview to discuss the value your skills and experience can bring to the team. So don’t hinder your chances of getting an interview by listing a salary that may not be in the company’s budget.
If your stated salary is too low …
You may find it more difficult to negotiate your compensation package later in the hiring process. For example, if you originally listed $ 50,000 in your application but learned during the interview through market research that $ 60,000 is a reasonable salary for the position, it would be difficult to justify a counteroffer. The recruitment team may indicate based on your application that they were ready to meet your salary expectations and cannot accommodate anything.
Option 2: Write “Negotiable”
Another way to avoid the salary discussion early in the hiring process is to let them know that you want to negotiate the salary based on a full understanding of the position. You can communicate this in an application by simply writing “negotiable” in the field provided for the salary expectations.
Not every application allows a non-numeric answer to this question. If so and you cannot answer “negotiable”, try entering a number as a wildcard such as “000” or “999”. This should meet the number requirement without limiting your later salary. If you are using a numeric placeholder, it is advisable to also state under a comment or note section somewhere in the application that the salary is negotiable and can be discussed at a later date.
Option 3: Identify a suitable area
Some applications may require a response in the form of a range or may not accept “000” or “999”. If so, your last chance is to identify a desired area. It is important to research the salaries for your position and location and list a range based on current market value. Start by looking up the average salary for the position, and don’t forget to compare it to the competitive salaries in your area to determine a reasonable range.
This is how you answer the question about the desired salary in job interviews
Remember, the best chance of negotiating your salary successfully is if you wait until you’ve shown your worth and been offered the job. Use these tips to delay the interview discussion so you can secure yourself a salary that is worthy of you.
Option 1: Postpone the conversation
When it comes to the dreaded interview salary question, the best strategy is to postpone the interview, preferably until after a job offer. In theory, this seems easy, but the pressures of an interview can make it difficult to get on your feet. Prepare a few lines to respond so that you can skilfully exit this discussion during an interview. Try one of the following examples:
- “Right now I’m focusing on finding a position that best suits me and my career goals. I’ll be happy to discuss the salary at a later date, if that suits us both. “
- “I don’t have a number on my mind right now, but I’d like to keep talking about the role so we can both have a better understanding of what would be fair pay based on my skills and experience.”
Option 2: ask questions
Another way to stop the salary discussion is to ask questions. This option may require a little more preparation, but it is an effective strategy nonetheless. Feel free to redirect the question by asking about the budget for the role. You can also inquire about specific job roles that indicate how you will set your desired salary. Some examples of what to ask are given below:
- “I have a few more questions about the role I’d like to discuss before I get paid. After that, I am ready to consider an offer that you think is fair. ” [follow up with specific questions]
- “I don’t have a specific number on my mind right now, but I’m interested to hear how your company values the role. Can you discuss the budget for the position? “
When to discuss salary
As mentioned earlier, the best time to have a salary interview is after you’ve received a job offer. Trying to negotiate beforehand will put you at a disadvantage, especially if there are other candidates involved. If the position wasn’t officially offered to you but you think you’re close, use this line to ask where you are in the hiring process:
- “I prefer to only talk about salary when I am offered a job. Is that the case?”
Once you have a confirmed offer, you can negotiate a salary that suits your skills and level of experience. Before entering into these discussions, there are some bargaining tactics and tips that you should brush up on to help you be more persuasive and get the salary you want.
When orientating yourself in the hiring process, be prepared for professional and financial success by carefully answering the desired salary question for applications and job interviews. If you leave the application field blank, write “negotiable” or use a numeric wildcard, you can postpone the interview and have the best chance of getting the job. In addition, postponing salary reviews during an interview should help you successfully negotiate a better salary once you get an offer.
With a salary that matches your skills and experience, you will have more income to save, spend and grow. Don’t forget to adjust your budget in the Mint app so you are in control of your finances and keep meeting your financial goals.