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When an Employer Demands Salary Expectations

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: September 13, 2011 at 9:57 am

We’ve all seen job postings that state: applicants must include salary expectations to be given serious consideration.

In this tight job market, it’s enough to make even the best candidate panic. You know what you’re worth. You know what your current job pays or what you received at your last position, and you certainly don’t want to dip too far below that. However, you’re also concerned that if you set your expectations too high, you won’t be called in to interview.

What do you do?

Don’t Ignore the Employer’s Request – Meet It

There are three possibilities, depending upon your unique situation:

1. Your industry is healthy and is hiring. You know your worth and demand the same or better as you received at your current or previous job. In this scenario, you would clearly state what your salary expectations are. Something like: ‘I’m seeking $100,000 annually.’

2. Your industry is still hiring, but its health is shaky. You’re concerned you may price yourself out of the market. Therefore, you want to take a less aggressive approach than #1 and write something like:  ‘Seeking compensation between $55,000-70,000 annually.’  That way, you’re giving the company wiggle room.

3. You’re desperate for a position – any position. You’ve been unemployed for too long or you can see the end coming at your current job. For those of you who fit these criteria, you’d write: ‘Salary open.’  If you’re afraid that won’t fly and the hiring manager will demand a stated number, research compensation for your industry/position in your geographic area and either choose the middle figure or the lowest one.

Salary expectation is simply one hurdle that you’ll have to move past in your quest for an interview. Understanding how important the job is to you and the reality of your economic situation, will allow you to choose the correct approach.