When answering questions about desired salary or salary expectations in an application, it is best to write “negotiable” or leave the field blank. If a numeric answer is required, enter “000” and include in a note section that the salary is negotiable based on further understanding of the position.
When applying for jobs, you may find that many applications ask for your desired salary or your salary expectations for the position. This question relates to the amount that you would like to be paid for a specific job. Companies ask about salary requirements to screen prospective applicants both in the application process and during the interview, but your response may cut your earning potential or even cost you the job. Learn how to navigate through this application and interview question so you have the best chance of getting the position and salary you deserve.
How to answer the desired salary for an online application
Many applications ask for your desired salary, but it is not necessarily in your best interest to answer the question. The most strategic approach is to delay the salary discussion. Depending on the specific needs of the application, your options for avoidance may vary. Familiarize yourself with these three possible answers so that you can address this question in your next application.
Option 1: leave it blank
Your first way to delay the salary discussion is to leave it blank. The reason is that whatever number you provide could limit your salary options or exclude you from running if your answer is out of budget. Take a look below to see how both scenarios could play out.
If your stated salary is too high …
The recruitment team may decide not to pursue your application any further. You have more leverage to negotiate a higher salary after having an interview to discuss the value your skills and experience can bring to the team. So don't hinder your chances of an interview by listing a salary that may be outside of the company's budget.
If your stated salary is too low …
You may find it more difficult to negotiate your compensation package later in the hiring process. For example, if you originally listed $ 50,000 in your application but learned during the interview through market research that $ 60,000 is a reasonable salary for the position, it would be difficult to justify a counteroffer. Based on your application, the recruitment team can state that they were ready to meet your salary expectations and that they cannot accommodate anything.
Option 2: Write "Negotiable"
Another way to avoid the salary discussion early in the hiring process is to let them know that you want to negotiate the salary based on a full understanding of the position. You can communicate this in an application by simply writing “negotiable” in the field provided for the salary expectations.
Not every application allows a non-numeric answer to this question. If so and you cannot answer "negotiable", try entering a number as a wildcard such as "000" or "999". This should meet the number requirement without limiting your later salary. If you are using a numeric placeholder, it is advisable to also indicate somewhere in the application under a comment or note section that the salary is negotiable and can be discussed at a later date.
Option 3: Identify a suitable area
Some applications may require a response in the form of a range or may not accept “000” or “999”. If so, your last chance is to identify a desired area. It is important to research the salaries for your position and location and list a range based on current market value. Start by looking up the average salary for the position, and don't forget to compare it to the competitive salaries in your area to determine a reasonable range.
How to answer the question about the desired salary in job interviews
Remember, the best chance of negotiating your salary successfully is if you wait until you've shown your worth and been offered the job. Use these tips to delay the interview discussion so you can secure yourself a salary that is worthy of you.
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