Disclosing Salary Expectations

I see a few work/salary compensation topics here, but nothing that pertains to what I need to ask.

Basically, there is a really good job posting that I want to apply for. Resume and cover letter are all ready to go. And I figure that I’ll contact my references if I get called in for an interview.

One of the things they want me to give them is my salary expectation. I’m being given a lot of different advice from my friends. It ranges from suggesting that I should negotiate salary after the job has been offered to suggesting that I disclose what I am currently making with a note that I expect to make about the same amount (although the job I want to apply for isn’t the same type of job that I am currently doing) to just giving them a number slightly below the average.

Personally, I am thinking they put that they want me disclose what I want to be compensated even before I applied because they want to weed out anyone who asks for too much. (Although, I’ve had dissenting opinions that they want people to give them a number so they can gauge how “in-tune” I am with that particular industry…) So if I don’t put anything, the resume is just going to go right in the trash bin.

Any suggestions?

I would not trash someone’s resume who does not list a salary expectation but I probably will tell them before I interview them what our pay range is in case they want more than we can pay.

I would expect to know what the job is offering as a starting salary before I go in for a face to face interview. If it’s not what I want to get, I’m not going to waste their time or mine.

I never answer that question ahead of an interview. It’s either a weed-out question or it will lock you into a figure (and you don’t want that).

Now, I just recently interviewed for a job and I did get the range in advance from them just to make sure no one was wasting anybody’s time. But that’s the first time I’ve ever done that. And it would be the only reason why I would even discuss the issue before the employer made an offer.

If you did not answer the question, did you find that there was less likelihood of them calling you back? Or would they tell you what they are offering before they ask you to come in?

I understand not wanting to waste anyone’s time if I’m not going to be compensated appropriately, but at this point, I am looking to break into something other than what I’m doing that I’d accept a slightly decrease salary.

So should I just not disclose it at all, or say what I’m making currently and say I’m looking for something that is competitive with it?

If it helps, I notice that it’s a union job, so there might not be much room for negotiation.

I honestly have never had it be a problem.

If you feel you need to address it in your cover letter, I wouldn’t put down a dollar figure. I’d say reiterate your skills (soft skills if you’re new to the field) and state you’re looking for a competitive wage and you’re looking forward to meeting with them to discuss. And then have an attention-grabbing resume and cover letter.

When I hired staff in the past, I never asked that question.

Now that I am looking for a job, I do not offer my salary history (I consider that confidential between me and my former employer) and I will consider each offer on its merits - and communicate that upfront if needed.

(An interesting take on the ‘What salary do you expect’ question is to turn it around - would you expect an answer to your question of ‘What are the highest and lowest salaries in the group I would be joining?’)

I have always been taught that “He who mentions money first, loses.”

I try to avoid a salary discussion until they have already decided that they want to hire me. If asked about salary requirements, I simply say that my salary requirements are dependent upon the entire compensation package offered. That is, you might be willing to take a lower salary if you can get an extra week of vacation; or, if this new job includes tuition reimbursement and that’s important to you, you may be willing to negotiate. If your old job included a company car and this one doesn’t, you should expect to be compensated for the new expense of buying, insuring, and maintaining a vehicle. You have to consider all the benefits as part of the total compensation.

No effing way should you answer that directly. You should put ‘market competitive’ or leave it blank.

The company has far more information and already knows what its range is. There’s nothing to be gained from listing a figure, and everything to be lost.

(Bolding mine) My interpretation regarding the whole “include your salary expectations” is that employers don’t care that a specific response is so lose/lose for the employee. I’ve gotten to the point that whenever I see an ad requiring me to provide salary expectations, I won’t deign to respond to it.

Even if I would be the best employee there at* any* price! :wink:

Then again, I hadn’t considered that “based on total compensation package” or “market competitive” could be considered adequate responses. :smack:

I very much agree. The exact duties and responsibilities associated with the role are important too. If a higher amount of responsibility is involved, or if there are requirements like weekend work, this should all factor into the cost.

Even if you don’t tell them, though, make sure that you know what you are prepared to accept. And be prepared for the question to come up again in interview, if they are already asking it at this point.

I consider it better to answer the question ambiguously rather than to completely ignore it. Negotiable based on overall compensation package or market competitive are good answers.

I do not fault an employer for asking, but I would fault them for getting bent out of shape if you do not answer. Depending on the nature of the position, they may be less inclined to hire someone who answers this (regardless of the figure given). It may be interpreted to convey a lack of experience / professionalism and low confidence.

If it is a McJob, I am clearly over thinking matters. :wink:

There are too many people looking for work and not enough jobs. This means employers are in the driver’s seat.

In the past year I’ve noticed employers are much more demanding in salary expectations. I have had interviewers ask me for exact amounts. I have had online applications require an exact amound. (Online apps are the greatest tool for employers to abuse laws and traditional job seeking areas)

The best answer is to leave off a salary range on a resume. If the advertisment for the job asks for one, list a range. If they ask for an exact amount, list and amount. You will not be eliminated if you don’t provide such info, but you’ll be thrown to the bottom of the pile.

In this economy you can’t risk being #98 on an interviewers list when listing a range could move you into the top ten.

Salary’s have dropped. For example I was the asst controller of a hotel in 2006. I was making 50K plus bonus. Since the new year, which is barely 2 months old, I have been on three interviews for asst controller jobs, at similar sized hotels. The salaries for this job, with the same duties have been from $33,000 to $36,000.

I felt like laughing when told. OK it’s a bad economy and I’d have taken the job if offered for that, but how long do you think you’re gonna hold a job at those salaries. No the person will take it and keep looking.

The bottom line is always get IN for the interview. If the job is less go on the interview for practice, if offered the job, say “After thoughoughly investingating the job offere I found similar jobs in the job market pay XXX. I am therefore willing to accept the job if we can adjust the pay rate to XXX (offer a bit less).”

Don’t worry about wasting your time or the employer’s time. You get valuable interview experience. I’ve worked in H/R and the people tend to be really clueless about salary because they share info rather than look.

For instance, when I did Six Sigma I worked with our H/R department and the H/R people would simply ask other H/R people in their field what they were offering for jobs.

What I did was make phony resumes and go on interviews. I found EVERY single time the salary offered to me on these interviews was MUCH higher, some cases as much as $10.000 more. But H/R dept are too lazy to actually do this. They simply ask other H/R dept who lie and the circle continues.

If you’re unemployed simply grab the best job and keep looking WHILE employed.