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Handling the 'What Salary Do You Expect?' Question

'What salary do you expect?' is one of the least favorite questions that job hunters run into. We hate it, too.

It makes sense for a small company to ask this question when it's offering someone a very senior position. In most cases, however, All Star Resume regards this as a despicable practice.

Companies know perfectly well what the going rate is for positions they normally fill. They also know what salary they are prepared to offer you. The purpose of the question is less about gathering information than it is about placing you in a no-win situation.

The company is highly unlikely to increase the offer they have in mind if you name a figure above what they are already willing to pay. On the other hand, if you name a lower figure, they will be happy to meet your stated expectations and save themselves some money in their next several annual budgets (assuming you stay with them that long). The bottom line is that a company that asks you to name your salary is exactly the type of employer you do not want to work for.

This is the one scenario in which we would advise you to be vague and evasive in your answers. Force the employer to name a firm amount. If they will not or cannot name a reasonable figure, it's a safe bet that they were never sincerely interested in hiring you in the first place.

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