Did you ask for too high a salary during your interview? Here's how to make a comeback


Jan 9, 2017

One tough job interview question to prepare for is this: “What were you expecting salary wise?”

Although this question may seem simple, it is often one the last questions you will be asked, making it of utmost importance that you end on a strong note.

In reality, there will always be times where an employer states/thinks that your asking price is above their means.

When this happens, you need to know how to make a comeback, and recover from stating an expected salary that is too high.

Here are some effective ways to approach this important interview scenario:


Request Information about the Full Salary Package

Once you’ve felt tension, simply ask the employer if they can share a realistic salary range with you.

Although it may be somewhat broad, it is unlikely the employer will state a range that is far off from what you can realistically expect.

Additionally, be sure to request information about additional compensation, such as allowances, bonuses, stock options and benefits associated with the position, as these can add major value to your negotiating power.

Sometimes the basic salary for a position might be low but the add-ons can make up for this. Also some companies might not allow much negotiation with the basic pay but are more flexible with the additional compensation.

In case you feel you asked for too much, you can also say that you were including add-ons and can adjust your figure once you have more details. You can also request for some time to go over the information and think about it.


Research Before Asking Again

Most people do research about salary expectations before an interview to avoid this situation in the first place, but occasionally your research may be misguided.

After you’ve experienced an awkward knockback from your requested price, it is time to sit back and do more in-depth research on platforms like Glassdoor and Quora using the new information you have received.

It’s also very useful if you can speak with ex-employees of the company to get a good sense of the typical compensation. Previous employees are more likely to share detailed information. Use your network to find such people – LinkedIn make it very easy to do this.


Reach a Decision

After you’ve determined a fair salary that you can realistically expect an employer to pay, you must make a decision on whether or not to take a job.

Be sure to consider all living expenses and needs before coming up with a number you will present to the interviewer during a follow-up. Also take into account how much you like the job/company and the prospects for future career growth.

Be firm with yourself about the smallest salary you are willing to accept, that way you can stay vigilant about reaching that bottom line when approaching the interviewer with your newly determined salary expectation.


Don’t Beat Around the Bush

Once you’re clear on the course of action it’s time to get back in touch with the interviewer for a follow-up.

Always make sure that you deliver this salary expectation with purpose, directness, and honesty, that way they know you are sincere in your request.

If you feel a higher salary is justified, let them know why, and they can then make a decision on whether or not they value your talent enough to pay the requested amount.

Overall, by avoiding wishy-washy requests, you will save both you and the interviewer a lot of time and frustration, allowing everyone to walk away from the situation happy.

  About The Author  

Nigel has vast experience in Training & Development, Facilitation, Lecturing, General Management and Operations. In addition to an educational background in philosophy, psychology, theology and communications, he has advanced qualifications in business, adult education and coaching.

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