How Much Are You Looking To Make?

“How much are you looking to make?” It’s the question most job seekers dread. Say too much and you might be ruled out. Say too little and you might get stuck earning less than the position had the potential to pay. What is a person to do?

One thing to do is to avoid being too specific with an answer before more is known about the actual job. Often times candidates are being asked up front what their salary requirements are. Considering compensation is supposed to correlate directly to the level of work performed, how on earth can a candidate intelligently answer what he would expect to be paid for a job when he doesn’t even have a full understanding of what it involves in the beginning? Quite simply, he can’t.

When potential employers ask this question they are essentially trying to gauge if you are even in the ballpark of what they are prepared to offer. Is it worth going through the motions with you or would any effort be for nothing since your expectations are too far off from theirs? There is a solution. You can satisfy their curiosity by letting them know what you’ve typically made and then suggesting you’d be able to give them a better idea if you would expect more, less or the same for the position once you have a greater understanding of what the job actually entails. Keep it short and sweet. Try not to elaborate too much from that. It tends to paint a picture of uncertainty when confidence is what we are going for. With an answer like that, you’ve given them a number to chew on, you’ve avoided committing to a number and you’ve sent the message you are flexible and fully understand how compensation should be tied to the level of work being done.

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