Responding to Salary Questions

Occasionally, an employer may ask you to give a salary requirement or preference. This question is appropriate for — and more likely to be asked of — experienced people with a salary history. For a student being hired directly out of school, the question can be awkward. However, don’t be unprepared and taken by surprise. There are a number of ways to respond to this question:

 It is perfectly acceptable to say “negotiable” on applications or cover letters.

You may choose to suggest a range to the employer. If you do (or if you go so far as to give a specific amount), do your salary research first:

Salary information online

If you state a salary request, tell the employer the sources of information on which you based   your request (i.e., Salary Survey, and cost of living index for the employment location). This backs up your request with hard data — not just your gut instinct or rumors.

If you ask for a salary well above average, justify your request.  State what in your background   and experience qualifies you. Can you be just as productive as other employees earning that salary?