Job interview salary questions and answers are a kind of cat and mouse game that candidates and interviewers have to play with one another during the hiring process. To help give you a better sense of how the games are played and the objectives of both sides, it helps to think of the company's perspective. Essentially, the company is looking to pay as little as they have to pay to get the talent that they want. This does not necessarily mean that they will automatically underpay you, compared to your market value, when you go in and apply for the job. That would be counterproductive for them in the long run. After all, once you discovered that you could make more money elsewhere you would either leave or ask them to pay you more.
Consequently, when the interviewer asks you job interview salary questions, what he or she is doing is trying to get a sense of two things. First, what does your former or current employer believe that your market value is or was? Second, what do you believe that your market value is? If he or she is in the position to determine your job offer salary, he or she will use this information to help form the offer number. On the company's side, Human Resources and management have usually worked together to develop a salary schedule for each position. This schedule sets the band of low and high salaries for each position, based on what the larger job market pays and what the current workers in that position are making at the company.
Job Interview Salary Question Considerations
When the employer asks you a job interview salary question, he or she is hoping that you are currently getting paid just below or at the low end of the band. Typically, employers know that it's a tough sell to get an employee to move from an established job to a new position without a significant pay raise. It does happen, sometimes, when a candidate is making a career change or believe the new job offers offsetting compensations. But as a general rule, employers believe they will have to improve your current salary to get you to commit to the new job. However, no company wants to make an offer outside of their set salary band.
If the interviewer asks a job interview salary question and you reply that you are already earning more than the band, you might be considered too expensive and not get an offer. Alternatively, you might receive an offer that comes in below your current salary. On your side, you want to be as informed and honest as you can be. Make an honest assessment of your skills and level. Do the research and find out the target company's salary band or the prevailing market values if possible. Know that you will probably be offered something in that range. If you are currently making less than that now, you might want to exaggerate your salary a bit so that you will be brought in at the high end of the band instead of at the low end.
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