How to Quote Your Salary at the Job Interview

This is one of the most tricky questions when moving to a new company or job position. I have discussed the matter more in-depth in my book: Getting Your Dream Job, but I will nonetheless give quick advice, just in case you've stumbled upon this piece before getting into the interview room.

When going for the interview, both you and the employer should have specific motives at the back of your minds. However, while most employers are certain about what they want in a candidate, this is often not the case with most applicants, due to the following among other reasons:

  • self-demeaning thoughts
  • nervousness
  • not knowing in the first place that one ought to have realistic demands that a job worthy doing should meet. 

This is where selling oneself short begins!

The employer’s chief concern is hiring a candidate with the best combination of skills and experience to handle the job in question. Your bet is as good as mine that this rarely fails. There will be more than enough pool of talents at the employer's disposal, some already over qualified.

Once the candidate with the right set of skills and experience has been found, the next question becomes whether his productivity will exceed the amount of pay that he will earn from the company. So, think of how you will justify the salary that you intend to request should you get the job.

Demonstrate Your Value

So, in your preparation for the interview, think of specific instances from your past jobs where you earned the employer a tidy sum of money. Are there work policies that you have developed elsewhere that either led to higher staff productivity or reduced cost of production? Do the mathematics to prove that what you will be earning is nothing compared to what you will bring into the company. Think of how you would be stimulating higher staff productivity, areas you can help the employer make some savings, opening up of new market opportunities, etc.

Organizations can only benefit by hiring an individual whose contribution leaves some profit once his pay is deducted. Otherwise, by asking for a pay that is unrealistically too high, you will be asking the company to take in a liability that it can do without!

Finally, consider that different companies at different stages of growth give different pay packages for similar jobs, so it wouldn’t be wise to base your salary quotation on what your friends are earning elsewhere. If from your self-evaluation you believe that you have already met the first criterion of skills and experience, the next step now is researching the company’s salary range and preparing to give your quotation accordingly at the interview.

About the Author

John Wanjora is the Lead CV Writer at CVs By John. He is also the author of Getting Your Dream Job, Kenya's best selling title on CV, Cover Letter Writing, and Preparing for job interviews.


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