The Best Answer to "What's Your Expected Salary?"

Hey, everybody, it's Andy back for another week to help you build a career you love.

Today, we're going to talk about the best answer to what's your expected salary?

Tell me.

Who doesn't love getting this question right out of the gate when they get into an interviewing


I know it's a rough one.

I get this question every week during my live office hours.

I get countless comments on my blog and on the YouTube channel about this.

I know it's frustrating.

I know it makes you nervous, and I know a lot of people out there worry about actually

giving a number, and you should.

You should worry about it.

Today, what we're going to do is I'm going to give you the exact script, so you can worry

no more.

I'm going to tell you why you should use this script.

I'm going to tell you the mistakes people make, and why your thinking is likely wrong

on how to approach this.

Let's talk about this a little bit with some of the new laws that are coming into effect.

I know, in a number of countries, now also in the United States, there are a number of

states and cities, who prevent employers from asking you what you earn, so what your current

compensation is.

While I'm sure that that will continue to grow in the number of countries, and states

and cities will adopt that law, one thing that I don't think will go away is employers

asking you what your expected salary is.

Hey, how much do you want to earn?

Here's what I advise.

Number one, first thing, is under no circumstances do I ever want you to actually give them a



Well, number one, first thing about this is it's uneducated.

You do not know what it's like to work there, what you'll get to do, who you get to do it

with, the training and development opportunities, the vacation, the benefits, the benefit costs,

all of those things.

It's very difficult for you to hit the nail on the head by giving them a number, especially

this early in the process.

The second thing is I don't want you to worry.

There is not a recruiter in the world who determines whether you get hired or what you

get paid.

The hiring officials do that, I mean, unless the recruiter is the hiring official or the

HR person is the hiring official.

I don't want you to worry about that, because they're not ultimately going to determine

what you're going to get paid, even if they give you a guideline as to what the position


I don't want you to worry about that upfront.

The other thing is I don't want you to actually give a number, because you might either aim

too low, in which case you're setting their expectations that your expectations are low,

even though they might be willing to pay you more, or you price yourself out because you

went too high.

The one thing that the recruiter can do in the beginning of the process is knock you

out, but the recruiter won't knock you out if they really like your background and you

don't provide a number.

You might be thinking, well, maybe I can give them a range.

Well, that might be nice, but if I'm the hiring official and you give me a range and you say,

�Andy, I'd like to earn between $80,000 and $100,000,� what do you think I heard?

I heard $80,000.

What were you thinking?


You're still giving them a low number, probably lower than they would be willing to pay, so

ranges aren't really great either, because those are still uneducated.

They're likely to anchor on your low number, when you mentally are thinking about your

high number.

Ranges don't work much, either.

What I would rather you do is, when you are approached with that question, I'd like you

to say, �While compensation is important to me, I really want to look at the entire

value of working at your company: what I get to do, who I get to do it with, the training

opportunities, the career advancement opportunities, the benefits, the vacation, and all of the

other things that go along with working at your organization.

I'm excited to learn about those in the interviewing process, and toward the end I would be able

to give you a much better idea of what it is that I would expect in terms of my salary,

based on all those other factors.

At the moment, to give you any kind of estimate would be uneducated on my part.

I look forward to investigating those areas, and I look forward to starting the interview

process.� You might be thinking, well, that's evasive,

and they're going to be upset if I don't actually give them a number.

What's actually going to happen if you don't give them a number is you're going to effectively

position yourself to earn a lot of points throughout the process and make a more educated

decision at the end.

What's going to happen transactionally at that moment, which most people do not realize,

is if you've got the goods, if your resume's in order, you are right for this position,

and they are ultimately going to want to hire you.

That recruiter, if you don't provide an expected salary, if it's a big deal to the recruiter

or it's a big deal to the hiring official, that recruiter will turn to the hiring official

and say, �I like this person's background.

They really didn't want to advise on what it was that they expected in the way of compensation,�

and the hiring official's going to say, �Get them in here so we can interview her.�

That's what they'll say.

The reason I know that is I was a hiring official for many, many years.

I would always tell the recruiters, �Don't ask what their expected salary is.

It's silly for you to ask that, because they'll give you an uneducated answer,� but some

of the recruiters insisted on asking the question, because they wanted to have an idea of whether

or not they should get you into the process.

Every time that the smart candidate didn't provide the number, the recruiter would turn

to me and say, �Andy, what do we do?� I would say, �That person looks fantastic

on paper.

Get her here, so we can interview her.� I don't want you to worry about that.

It's really ... You think that they're going to play hardball with you, but they're not.

It's better to just talk about how you want to look at the entire opportunity, and that

compensation is one part.

All right, if you'd like more about this particular subject, I go into a number of different areas

throughout the interviewing process in one of my live office hours, called �Why You

Don't Get Paid What You Deserve.� Check that out.

There's much more information about how to handle this, as you submit your application,

in your first call with your boss, and as you tee up the opportunity to get that offer

from the employer, and what to do and how to position yourself to get paid what you


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