What are your salary expectations?
There are a few great ways to approach this question as well as lame ones. The best way to tackle this question begins with your expected financial contributions to a firm. The worse way to respond to this question is with silence. This question takes as much self-awareness as it does your ability to research prospective salary ranges in your local market.
Here is how you can think through both ends of the spectrum to land on a comfortable salary range:
- What is your current salary verses what are your current financial contributions?
- What is your current location and job title?
- What is your current expertise i.e. are you a thought leader?
- What is your base salary and what about your benefits, bonus opportunities, intangible perks?
- What is your current bosses’ salary?
- How many direct reports do you have?
- How big is your budget?
- How much do you travel?
- What are your prospective financial contributions in that new role?
- What is the new job title and location?
- Does your current expertise translate to the new role?
- Think about your benefits, bonus opportunities, intangible perks.
- What do you think your prospective boss is earning?
- How many direct reports will you have?
- How big will your budget be?
- How much will you travel?
Once you evaluate these questions then come up with a 10-15K range that you think is fair given your prospective situation.
Assume the following:
- You will earn this pay for five years
- You will be offered a number on the lower end of that range
- You likely are not fully versed on your prospective new set of responsibilities
This is an example of how you can articulate your homework, range, and invite a prospective interviewer to talk further.
My current annual compensation is $200K. I currently manage 3 directors. I own a $5M budget. Throughout the last several years, I’ve contributed to considerable cost savings as a result of my efforts launching our co-sourcing relationship with Tata. Additionally, my salary includes a bonus potential, free lunch, and extensive health benefits that are harder to quantify. As I understand this role, I would manage 5 VPs, own a $10M budget, and have the opportunity to earn a hefty bonus based on my performance in turning around our plateaued sales. While considering this increase in scope of responsibilities, I’ve done some research and came up with $235K-$250K as a fair salary range. Of course, I’m open to learning more about the role to ensure that I’m clear on your expectations as that is precisely how I came up with my desired salary.
The key insight is that you state a fair range based on what you know to date and reinforce that this range is based on facts not emotions. In the end a company has to earn a return on their investment in talent so expect to own a budget that is considerably less than your base pay.