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"What is Your Salary Range"

adytumadytum Registered User regular
edited April 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
I feel like "More than I make now, but less than all of the money in the economy" isn't an appropriate answer.

What is the appropriate response to this question in an interview?

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Posts

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    Before you go into an interview, go to a site like glassdoor or something and find out what the average salary in your region is for that position, and ask for that plus 10%

    That's always been my go-to.

    OR

    If you're going to a new job and it's the same as your old, think about if that job covers all your needs now, and gives you a little extra, if so, add 10% to that. If not, ask for that at the very least.

    Don't lowball yourself because you're afraid that they'll say no if you ask for too much, but don't ask for 100K a year to do clerical work either.

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  • Natas_XnoybisNatas_Xnoybis Registered User regular
    do research and come up with something reasonable. This is a case where if you have a realistic figure in mind that you mention you look like you know what is up and have realistic expectations. Saying "i don't know", "i don't care", or "uhmm whatever I deserve" etc. makes you look a bit half assed.

    I mean you really should have an idea of what you can expect to make in whatever industry you are in.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    adytum wrote:
    I feel like "More than I make now, but less than all of the money in the economy" isn't an appropriate answer.

    What is the appropriate response to this question in an interview?

    Generally it goes something like: Take your current salary, double it, then take 20%, then add that 20% to your original salary. However, that may not work for someone coming from Bumfuck, Alabama to SanFran, so go with what amateurhour said and embellish it like he said.

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    adytum wrote:
    I feel like "More than I make now, but less than all of the money in the economy" isn't an appropriate answer.

    What is the appropriate response to this question in an interview?

    Generally it goes something like: Take your current salary, double it, then take 20%, then add that 20% to your original salary. However, that may not work for someone coming from Bumfuck, Alabama to SanFran, so go with what amateurhour said and embellish it like he said.

    Is that really the calculation? Why aren't you just adding 40% to your original salary, then?

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  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Before you go into an interview, go to a site like glassdoor or something and find out what the average salary in your region is for that position, and ask for that plus 10%

    That's always been my go-to.

    OR

    If you're going to a new job and it's the same as your old, think about if that job covers all your needs now, and gives you a little extra, if so, add 10% to that. If not, ask for that at the very least.

    Don't lowball yourself because you're afraid that they'll say no if you ask for too much, but don't ask for 100K a year to do clerical work either.

    This is great advice and is almost exactly what I was going to post.

    bowen wrote: »
    Take your current salary, double it, then take 20%, then add that 20% to your original salary.

    This is a creative way of adding 40%.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    I know, that's how it was explained to me forever ago so that's how I remember it.

  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Why can't firms just evaluate me and make me complete offers that I can consider. Why!

    Thanks for the input. It's a lateral move and I already know how much the "average" position pays, I just don't know exactly how much this specific firm want to pay someone for it and I don't want to undersell myself. Since I'm indifferent towards the position itself, I'll just throw in a hefty raise above what I'm making now.

    adytum on
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  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    I always ask for +10% if I am making a lateral move. When making a lateral move, they need to sweeten the pot somehow to make it worth my trouble. 10% more base salary with equivalent benefits is generally good enough for me, unless I am just in love with my current job.

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  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    I was in the exact same spot when I went from State Government work to private sector. Government pays dick and has a lot of benefits as where private sector pays out the ass and requires your soul in return. I had no idea what to ask for so glassdoor helped a lot there.

    What's the job, and where do you live?

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  • DraygoDraygo Registered User regular
    Keep in mind some recruiters use that as a question that is really asking:

    "How modivated are you?" "Are you going to be striving to reach the next level producing a positive value for our company?"

    They already know, for the most part, how much they want to pay you. Generally, highball an estimate when you answer it. If they want to hire you they will tell you the actual amount they are willing to pay, then you can take it or leave it.

  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I was always under the impression that since making the first offer puts you in the worse negotiating position, it was customary to defer the question to the hiring entity. In my experience pay comes up after the offer has been officially extended. Except for here- they've bugged me to give them a range from the first phone call. It strikes me as odd and a bit off-putting.

    Anyway, left a VM with a range that represents a healthy jump. We'll see.

    adytum on
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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    adytum wrote: »
    I was always under the impression that since making the first offer puts you in the worse negotiating position, it was customary to defer the question to the hiring entity. In my experience pay comes up after the offer has been officially extended. Except for here- they've bugged me to give them a range from the first phone call. It strikes me as odd and a bit off-putting.

    Anyway, left a VM with a range that represents a healthy jump. We'll see.

    I've often been asked about salary expectations long before any offer was made.

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  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    No, you've got it backwards. Since being the first offer does put you in the worse, a company, 99% of the time, will always ask you in an interview or even on the application what your salary requirements are, so they know upfront if they're getting you for a steal or they're going to have to negotiate or just deny you outright.

    Most people just don't have the nerve or thought to ask about salary during initial interviews, when that's something you should ALWAYS ask about during initial interviews, otherwise you're wasting each others time. I'm not saying to go into your first interview and ask about sick time and vacation days, but it should be common practice, during the first interview, IF it's going well, to say, toward the end "and now I had a few questions about compensation and benefits" if it hasn't been brought up by the potential employer.

    Sometimes in the first round, for a larger company, you're meeting with a third level down who doesn't have the rank to even know the salary, or negotiate it, but most of the time you'll get a solid answer. If they cautiously change the subject, don't take it to mean that they're out to fuck you, it might just be an "assistant TO the regional manager" who can't tell you what you'll be making because they don't know, but that's rare in my experience.

    Always, always ask the salary and benefits (not vacation time, but like if they 401K match and provide health insurance) during the interview.

    Sounds like you set your rates, good luck dude!

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  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    Yes, I've always been asked about salary, and I've always said it's negotiable and deferred the question back to the company, and that's always been that until an offer has been extended. I've never had a company ask so insistently about salary information, to the point of suggesting they won't consider me any further until I've made an offer. Hence this thread!

    They gave me their benefits information. It factors into the salary I'd be willing to accept. I wouldn't even entertain making an offer without it, much less walk out of the interview without a hardcopy.

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  • NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    adytum wrote: »
    Yes, I've always been asked about salary, and I've always said it's negotiable and deferred the question back to the company, and that's always been that until an offer has been extended. I've never had a company ask so insistently about salary information, to the point of suggesting they won't consider me any further until I've made an offer. Hence this thread!

    They gave me their benefits information. It factors into the salary I'd be willing to accept. I wouldn't even entertain making an offer without it, much less walk out of the interview without a hardcopy.

    One of my professors told me that you should never write "negotiable" on application regarding salary. That it makes you look like you don't know what you're worth, and lack the confidence to put it out there. And that you'll also get lowballed harder with their first offer.

    Not sure if it's really true though. I feel like this kinda stuff is always dependent on the individual doing the hiring.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    It might be, not where I'm from though. It's mostly a gauge to see "Do you really value your workforce or can I just walk out of this interview right now."

    Like when you interview for a programmer position and a programmer makes $25 an hour in your area (graduate) and they say $9 is the highest they'll offer. Yeah that's like 80% of the interviews I've been.

  • 3lwap03lwap0 Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    adytum wrote:
    I feel like "More than I make now, but less than all of the money in the economy" isn't an appropriate answer.

    What is the appropriate response to this question in an interview?

    I can tell you what not to do - don't admit what you're making now. You don't want to have to negotiate against yourself - some companies do it, and it's a scummy way of hiring and getting low balled. Frankly sir, just state a figure. Make it high, but not ludicrous - be reasonable, even if it's on the high side of a range. The worst they can do is say "Well, that's a bit high." and then counter offer. It's how you play the game.

    As for what you're currently worth - it depends. Where you work, how many years, where you'd be moving too, cost of living and commute - all of that matters in overall total compensation, and that requires some investigating on your part.

    There is also a reasonable chance that the job they are considering you for already exists within a pay band for that company - they have a number in mind already. Your salary demand may not fall within that band, and they can leverage that as an excuse to offer you less. I usually just shrug - if the company wants you that badly, they'll find a way to negotiate.
    NotYou wrote: »

    One of my professors told me that you should never write "negotiable" on application regarding salary. That it makes you look like you don't know what you're worth, and lack the confidence to put it out there. And that you'll also get lowballed harder with their first offer.

    I can tell you this, having done it more than a few times. It's much much easier to state a higher figure and work down via negotiation, than state a low figure and work up. So if you ask for say, 100k and end up at 92k, while currently making 82k, that's a nice bump. But if they know what you currently make, and or you state a figure 1-3% higher, and then ask for more - that's a tough sell. The trick is to state a high, but reasonable number.

    3lwap0 on
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  • DeebaserDeebaser Lead Frog Rammer Fake Board GamerRegistered User regular
    A large company won't "low ball" you. There is typically a range for the req +-5% based on experience. It isn't always about trying to fuck the guy on the other side of the table. Sometimes it's good to know if the candidate's expectations are realistic, or if you're going to waste an hour interviewing some guy that acts all indignant that assistant fluffer doesn't pay $TEXAS.

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  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I was in the exact same spot when I went from State Government work to private sector. Government pays dick and has a lot of benefits as where private sector pays out the ass and requires your soul in return. I had no idea what to ask for so glassdoor helped a lot there.

    What's the job, and where do you live?

    I'm actually looking to do exactly this in a year or so (gotta get my free MS...). It's going to be interesting going from my starting salary (yay no raises, ever) to "Masters + 5 years experience + private industry" money - I think I'm looking at a minimum of a 50% raise. Do you have any other advice for this kind of thing?

    a5ehren on
  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    @3lwap0 - Your quote tags are messed up; I didn't say the second quote in your post.

    adytum on
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  • SerpentSerpent Sometimes Vancouver, BC, sometimes Brisbane, QLDRegistered User regular
    Too late, but... I dont feel giving a range is a good answer unless there's significant room on benefits or its a high paid (150k+) job.

    "I'm looking for 60 to 70k"... Dont be surprised when they offer you 60k. Negotiating on that can make you lookstupid to some people, and in some cases could actually cause me to withdraw an offer! You already said you'd take 60k?!? Why are you negotiating?

    There's a reason cars don't advertise with a price range.

    A better answer is "I'm looking for 65k depending on the associated benefits". This gives a straight answer AND gives you room for discussion later if the benefits are great or crap.

  • 3lwap03lwap0 Registered User regular
    @adytum - sorry mate, fixed.
    Serpent wrote: »
    Too late, but... I dont feel giving a range is a good answer unless there's significant room on benefits or its a high paid (150k+) job.

    "I'm looking for 60 to 70k"... Dont be surprised when they offer you 60k. Negotiating on that can make you lookstupid to some people, and in some cases could actually cause me to withdraw an offer! You already said you'd take 60k?!? Why are you negotiating?

    There's a reason cars don't advertise with a price range.

    A better answer is "I'm looking for 65k depending on the associated benefits". This gives a straight answer AND gives you room for discussion later if the benefits are great or crap.

    I like this. And Serpent is right. This very thing happened to me about a month ago. I stated a 'range' after I was called out on it during an interview, and got the bottom end of that range, which was maybe a 1% bump. I worked up to something reasonable, but Christ, it wasn't easy. Hence my 'start high, work lower' advice, or as @Serpent has suggested, state a figure, right then and there.

    I think Pringles original intention was to make tennis balls... but on the day the rubber was supposed to show up a truckload of potatoes came. Pringles is a laid-back company, so they just said, "Fuck it, cut em up!".
  • cmsamocmsamo Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I was asked this question in a recent (successful) interview. When they asked my current salary, I told them what I wanted to earn (added 15% to current salary). When we negotiated, they offered more, and I ended up getting a bit extra. Remember that if you get to salary negotiation, they probably want to hire you. Don't be afraid to push a little bit :)

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  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    a5ehren wrote: »
    I was in the exact same spot when I went from State Government work to private sector. Government pays dick and has a lot of benefits as where private sector pays out the ass and requires your soul in return. I had no idea what to ask for so glassdoor helped a lot there.

    What's the job, and where do you live?

    I'm actually looking to do exactly this in a year or so (gotta get my free MS...). It's going to be interesting going from my starting salary (yay no raises, ever) to "Masters + 5 years experience + private industry" money - I think I'm looking at a minimum of a 50% raise. Do you have any other advice for this kind of thing?

    It just depends on what you're going into. I mean an entry level state IT server admin job in Alabama might pay 36K a year and that same job in the private sector might start closer to 50K, but the 36K from the State also gets you almost free healthcare (or at least it used to), amazing supplemental insurance, 14 paid holidays, two weeks vacation that eventually grows to like six weeks vacation with rollover, two weeks sick, and guaranteed 40 hour weeks with almost no weekend work ever.

    I'd say 50% is fair if you've got the experience which it seems like you do.

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  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    I'm always amazed at these threads. So not only do you need to be able to interview well (a skill often entirely unrelated to job proficiency) to get a decent job but you need to be able to handle negotiation tactics as well to get a decent wage for it?

    I take it this is an American thing or is it common in the private sector in the UK as well?

    Makes me happy I'm firmly wedged in the British public sector where I gladly pay experts at my union to sort this shit for me. Hell, even if I didn't join the union they'd still be the ones negotiating my wages for me.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    a5ehren wrote: »
    I was in the exact same spot when I went from State Government work to private sector. Government pays dick and has a lot of benefits as where private sector pays out the ass and requires your soul in return. I had no idea what to ask for so glassdoor helped a lot there.

    What's the job, and where do you live?

    I'm actually looking to do exactly this in a year or so (gotta get my free MS...). It's going to be interesting going from my starting salary (yay no raises, ever) to "Masters + 5 years experience + private industry" money - I think I'm looking at a minimum of a 50% raise. Do you have any other advice for this kind of thing?

    It just depends on what you're going into. I mean an entry level state IT server admin job in Alabama might pay 36K a year and that same job in the private sector might start closer to 50K, but the 36K from the State also gets you almost free healthcare (or at least it used to), amazing supplemental insurance, 14 paid holidays, two weeks vacation that eventually grows to like six weeks vacation with rollover, two weeks sick, and guaranteed 40 hour weeks with almost no weekend work ever.

    I'd say 50% is fair if you've got the experience which it seems like you do.

    Working for the feds is really the best thing ever as long as you want to get the seniority to do it.

  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo When life gives you lemons... ...eat your delicious lemonsRegistered User regular
    I'm always amazed at these threads. So not only do you need to be able to interview well (a skill often entirely unrelated to job proficiency) to get a decent job but you need to be able to handle negotiation tactics as well to get a decent wage for it?

    I take it this is an American thing or is it common in the private sector in the UK as well?

    Makes me happy I'm firmly wedged in the British public sector where I gladly pay experts at my union to sort this shit for me. Hell, even if I didn't join the union they'd still be the ones negotiating my wages for me.

    You get the same question in the UK. The accepted answer is just "I'm open to any reasonable offer". Then when/if you get one, you can wheedle them a little higher.

    Government stuff with super well defined pay brackets is obviously an exception.

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  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    a5ehren wrote: »
    I was in the exact same spot when I went from State Government work to private sector. Government pays dick and has a lot of benefits as where private sector pays out the ass and requires your soul in return. I had no idea what to ask for so glassdoor helped a lot there.

    What's the job, and where do you live?

    I'm actually looking to do exactly this in a year or so (gotta get my free MS...). It's going to be interesting going from my starting salary (yay no raises, ever) to "Masters + 5 years experience + private industry" money - I think I'm looking at a minimum of a 50% raise. Do you have any other advice for this kind of thing?

    It just depends on what you're going into. I mean an entry level state IT server admin job in Alabama might pay 36K a year and that same job in the private sector might start closer to 50K, but the 36K from the State also gets you almost free healthcare (or at least it used to), amazing supplemental insurance, 14 paid holidays, two weeks vacation that eventually grows to like six weeks vacation with rollover, two weeks sick, and guaranteed 40 hour weeks with almost no weekend work ever.

    I'd say 50% is fair if you've got the experience which it seems like you do.

    Well I pay $350/mo for health/vision/dental for my wife and I right now, which isn't terrible I guess, but it has gone up every year while I've been here, which sucks. In GA, our primary benefits are an ass-load of vacation (21 days of vacation + 11-ish holidays + 12 days of sick leave) and a really good 403(b). It'll suck to give up that vacation time, but I've never even come close to using it all.

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    I'm always amazed at these threads. So not only do you need to be able to interview well (a skill often entirely unrelated to job proficiency) to get a decent job but you need to be able to handle negotiation tactics as well to get a decent wage for it?

    I take it this is an American thing or is it common in the private sector in the UK as well?

    Makes me happy I'm firmly wedged in the British public sector where I gladly pay experts at my union to sort this shit for me. Hell, even if I didn't join the union they'd still be the ones negotiating my wages for me.

    Depends on the industry/sector, like you said. And unions too.

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  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    a5ehren wrote: »
    a5ehren wrote: »
    I was in the exact same spot when I went from State Government work to private sector. Government pays dick and has a lot of benefits as where private sector pays out the ass and requires your soul in return. I had no idea what to ask for so glassdoor helped a lot there.

    What's the job, and where do you live?

    I'm actually looking to do exactly this in a year or so (gotta get my free MS...). It's going to be interesting going from my starting salary (yay no raises, ever) to "Masters + 5 years experience + private industry" money - I think I'm looking at a minimum of a 50% raise. Do you have any other advice for this kind of thing?

    It just depends on what you're going into. I mean an entry level state IT server admin job in Alabama might pay 36K a year and that same job in the private sector might start closer to 50K, but the 36K from the State also gets you almost free healthcare (or at least it used to), amazing supplemental insurance, 14 paid holidays, two weeks vacation that eventually grows to like six weeks vacation with rollover, two weeks sick, and guaranteed 40 hour weeks with almost no weekend work ever.

    I'd say 50% is fair if you've got the experience which it seems like you do.

    Well I pay $350/mo for health/vision/dental for my wife and I right now, which isn't terrible I guess, but it has gone up every year while I've been here, which sucks. In GA, our primary benefits are an ass-load of vacation (21 days of vacation + 11-ish holidays + 12 days of sick leave) and a really good 403(b). It'll suck to give up that vacation time, but I've never even come close to using it all.

    Yeah, It's been about four years since I've worked for the State and since then I've learned there's no more free ride with the healthcare. When I worked there from 2006 to 2008 it was completely free. ($20/month if you were a smoker) but that's before the economy tanked, so yeah...

    I do miss having a cushy gubment job, but it's for the career minded. The goal is to get in there, and have a guaranteed retirement package when you hit 65 that doesn't run the same risks at the company 401K (albeit I guess there are always risks)

    Here's the catch to the vacation time... No one can use it all, after you've been there 10 years you get like six weeks. With Alabama, you could bank 480 hours sick and 480 vacation and after that went into the bank everything else was use it or lose it.

    The plus side to this is that if you leave, you get the vacation back, which helped me when I switched jobs because I got like two more paychecks from the state and my vacation which floated me for three months while I got settled in the new job.

    Also, with Al at least, that banked time went toward retirement, so once you had the full 1000+ hours, you automatically retired six months early at full pay.

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  • LankyseanLankysean Registered User regular
    If you high ball yourself way out of their range, and have the experience and skill to back it up, they may offer you a higher position that falls in the salary range you asked for. This just happened to me, I applied for a job and got the interview. I mentioned what I made now and how much I wanted, they came back and said that there was "no way" they could pay that much for the position I was interviewing for but they also had a position open that was 2 notches higher that they felt I was well suited for. Long story short I ended up getting $1 less an hour than I wanted but $5 per hour higher than the position I originally interviewed for... plus a better title for my resume.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    What lanky said is true. We were hiring a desktop support and a sys admin and a dude applied for desktop who was way overqualified because he never saw the listing for sys admin.

    We hired him as a sys admin.

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  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    I'm always amazed at these threads. So not only do you need to be able to interview well (a skill often entirely unrelated to job proficiency) to get a decent job but you need to be able to handle negotiation tactics as well to get a decent wage for it?

    I take it this is an American thing or is it common in the private sector in the UK as well?

    Makes me happy I'm firmly wedged in the British public sector where I gladly pay experts at my union to sort this shit for me. Hell, even if I didn't join the union they'd still be the ones negotiating my wages for me.

    I'm a public sector worker, too, but I always negotiate on salary - I was offered a job last Thursday (Yay! No more benefits!), they offered me £25K, I said no, that's not acceptable, I'm worth more than that (actual words!). They agreed and promptly offered me £30K. I was very happy with that.

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  • HeirHeir Registered User regular
    I'm always amazed at these threads. So not only do you need to be able to interview well (a skill often entirely unrelated to job proficiency) to get a decent job but you need to be able to handle negotiation tactics as well to get a decent wage for it?

    I take it this is an American thing or is it common in the private sector in the UK as well?

    Makes me happy I'm firmly wedged in the British public sector where I gladly pay experts at my union to sort this shit for me. Hell, even if I didn't join the union they'd still be the ones negotiating my wages for me.

    It really depends on the industry you're in.

    Heck as a programmer/engineer all of my interviews have been very relevant. They're not personality tests, they're usually tests to see your level of knowledge, and then they ask questions to gauge your communication skills.

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal Flo-ridaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Don't make a lateral move for less than 10% unless you're totally miserable

    Add another 5-10% if you have to relocate

    then adjust for benefits, etc


    I usually just phrase it as "high XX's" or "mid XX's" or something like that

    assume you'll get the lowest amount possible in that range, so if you say high 50's, expect 56-57k as the offer


    In my experience, this question is asked early and it's usually to make sure nobody is wasting anyones time

    More often than not, an employer already has a number they are going with, and all you can do is lowball yourself.

    Jasconius on
  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    I mean, this is an annoying question to ask, but part of it needs to be: What do you NEED/WANT to take the job?
    I've personally accepted less than I needed/wanted before and I regretted it.

    Glassdoor is a great site for this, although it is less useful if people don't post their salaries.
    Knowing your industry really well can help:

    I.e. I am in video game development, which on the whole pays quite a bit LESS than a comparable job in regular software.
    Not all companies adhere to this, but most do (why overpay if we don't need to).

    If you were trying to come into games from software and didn't know, you'd think you were being suckered.
    Which I can hear a strong argument for the side that you ARE being suckered, but that's offtopic.


    Overall do your research and as long as your offer isn't RIDICULOUS, you can always say "60-70k, but I am a bit flexible" so if they really thought the position was closer to 50k, they might work with you.

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