Show me the $! Salary Expectations & You

Picture this. You’re at a job interview. You’re charming everyone with professional poise and company knowledge. Everything is going according to plan. Even that nasty, no eye contact person has cracked what could be defined as a smile! The session is going extremely well until the employer asks that one loaded question:

“What are your salary expectations?”

If unprepared, those 5 words can kill any chances of a job offer.

What’s in a wage?

It’s always an awkward thing, having to put a price on you, face to face. It’s funny how many people have no qualms advertising how poorly paid they are, but when asked what that number may be, they clam right up!

How does one find out their worth?  That really depends on three key factors; what you can afford to be making, your previous experience and what’s considered standard in your industry.

The following website will provide you with national wages by occupation:

http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Country=Canada/Salary

This website might be a good starting point to see what the average wage of someone in your field would be. Keep these wages in mind when considering your own salary expectations.

Whenever possible, always opt for a salary range i.e. “35 000 – 40 000 per year” or rate “19 to 22 dollars per hour.” Always consider your level of experience with what you need to survive, but also something that will allow you to exist comfortably.

So, how should your expectations read within a cover letter? Show that you’ve given this question some thought; “After careful consideration regarding the position requirements in relation to my current experience relevant competences, I would aspire toward a salary range between ___ and ____.”

You could also mention how this salary range could also be negotiated upon receiving a job offer, or once a probation period was completed.

By utilizing the salary range route, you leave room for flexibility. Say if you were content to make $18 an hour and the employer was willing to give you $20 per hour, then a rate range between $18-22 per hour would be put you in a great situation.

Give your salary expectations some thoughtful consideration.

As much as you want the job, you don’t want to get a second one in order to survive.

Image

Lidia Siino is the Professional Development & Communications Specialist for MCACES, the Mohawk College Association of Continuing Education Students in Hamilton, Ontario. She has over 12 years of experience working with adult learners and post-secondary students on their respective career development journeys. If you like what you read, be sure to follow our blog and share with your network!

“Know when to hold em’, fold em’ walk away or run!” How to navigate salary negotiations

How to handle question 2.  (What are you’re salary expectations for this position?)

The answer is basically the same as question 1, but skip the part regarding the disclosure of your previous salary.

Overall, your answer should truly reflect your needs and show an understanding of how your skills stack up in the marketplace, plus you want to show an employer that you’re not going to waste their time with unrealistic figures.

Taking it to the next level

As always, there is another way to take things to the next level. If you really want to go into a negotiation on solid footing try calling up 2 or 3 employers or HR people in the industry and ask them their salary range for a similar position. Many won’t share this info due to confidentiality, however it’s really all in the approach.

If you say to them that you are interested in getting into (or back into) the field and wanted to know if it was worth the cost of training they may be more open to speaking with a potential grad or someone returning to the workforce who is showing initiative.

Since I’m always upgrading my skills, when I ask this question it isn’t a fib, I really am constantly pursing training. It’s all in how you word your question!

Then when you’re asked about your salary expectations and you’re able to say that you’ve personally discussed this question with their competitors, most employers will assume you’ve had or currently have potential job offers on the back burner. This will make you seem all the more desirable!

Lastly, when giving your expectations consider the following:

Your financial budget

Factor in things like commuting and insurance especially if the job requires a car.

Give a range

If you give a very specific number some employers will assume you don’t have any wiggle room when extras like benefits and incentives could increase your salary in less obvious ways.

The skill level

If the position is entry-level you may have to consider a lower wage range, since you are entering the field you must consider a trade off of less money for experience on the job.

Now that you’ve done your research when the chips are down you’ll know how to show your cards and win the game!

Image

Aside

Show Me The Money!!! Salary Expectations & You

Picture this. You’re at a job interview. You’re charming everyone with professional poise and company knowledge. Everything is going according to plan. Even that nasty, no eye contact person has cracked what could be defined as a smile! The session is going extremely well until the employer asks that one loaded question:

“What are your salary expectations?”

If unprepared, those 5 words can kill any chances of a job offer.

What’s in a wage?

It’s always an awkward thing, having to put a price on you, face to face. Its funny how many people have no qualms about advertising how poorly paid they are, but when asked what that number may be, they clam right up!

How does one find out their worth?  That really depends on two factors; what you can afford to be making plus what kind of previous experience you have.

The following website will provide you with national wages by occupation:

http://www.canadavisa.com/canada-salary-wizard.html

This site might be a good starting point to see what the average wage of someone in your field would be.

In terms of indicating what your salary expectations are, I would always opt for a salary range i.e. “35 000 – 40 000 per year” or rate “15-20 dollars per hour.” Always consider your level of experience with what you need to survive, but also something that will allow you to exist comfortably.

So, how should your expectations read on a cover letter? Show that you’ve given this question some thought; “With thoughtful consideration regarding the position requirements in relation to my current knowledge, transferable skills and relevant competences in this role, I would aspire toward a salary range between ___ and ____.”

Of course, you could also mention how this range could also be negotiated upon receiving a job offer.

If you go the range route, you’re leaving room for flexibility. Say if you were content to make 19$ an hour and the employer was willing to give you 21$ per hour, then a rate range between $19-23 per hour would be successful.

Give your salary expectation serious consideration. You want to get the job, but not have to get a second one to survive.Image

Lidia Siino is the Program Manager for the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. For more program information, please contact lidia.siino@mohawkcollege.ca.