500 Questions: Salary & Benefits, Part Four

How much do you think we would pay you in this position?

Your task is to try to determine how high the employer is likely to go. Don’t tip your hand at this point by giving a concrete figure for which you are willing to settle. Explain that you would expect to earn a fair salary based upon your experience and skills. Let the interviewer be the first one to bring up an actual figure.

What would you expect to be earning a few years from now?

This question addresses your ambition and drive more than salary. Focus more on the types of experiences you hope to gain over time, as well as the experience that the job you are applying will bring.

What do you expect to be able to make here?

Ask the interviewer what a typical salary is for the career you have chosen in that area. Be prepared with a figure in mind based upon your experience, qualifications, and skills. With a little bit of research, you should be able to determine your worth to the company.

The most this job would pay is $20,000. Are you still interested?

Some salaries are set by ceilings and limitations imposed by company policy. If the salary is not negotiable, remember that you still may have room to negotiate on other company benefits, such as vacations time, retirement plans, stock options, etc.

Other than salary, are there other company benefits that you are particularly interested in?

Employers are seeking to match up what other benefits they can offer that meet your needs. In answering this question, describe only those company benefits that are at the top of your list.

Since our budget for this position is fixed, the salary can not be negotiated.

Even though the interviewer may claim that the salary is fixed, the company may still have room to negotiate. If it appears that the salary range is not negotiable, and you are still interested in the position, use your influence to discuss additional fringe benefits that may be available for the position. Make sure that in this discussion, you reinforce why you are worth more than the rest.

How important is your salary to you? Are there other benefits that are more important?

It shouldn’t be the only factor driving your interview or search for a job, so be sure and stress the other conditions that are necessary and important to you.

What if I told you that we couldn’t afford to hire you at that salary?

The interviewer is seeking your bottom line figure. Although you should already know what that is, try not to reveal your hand too early in the negotiating process. Remind the interviewer of the skills, experience, and qualifications you bring to the company. The most important thing to remember about salary negotiations is that most salaries are negotiable. That doesn’t mean that you name a figure and the employer either matches it or doesn’t. It means that you’re ready to listen to what the company has to offer, and give it consideration.

What was your salary at your previous position?

In computing your previous salary, be sure to include all benefits, including vacation time, stock options, retirement, car allowances, and other fringe benefits. It is the entire package that you need to consider, not just your base salary.

How would you determine the value you would bring to our company?

Obviously you are worth a lot. Although this question is primarily about salary, you can use it to stress your unique qualifications and credentials and what assets you would bring to the company. Then remember the basics. Never try to negotiate salary or benefits until after you’ve gotten an offer. If you have been offered a position, congratulations! The hard part is over. If you feel uncomfortable about negotiating a salary, relax. The tables are now turned in your favor. Think about it. You’ve already gotten what you want. Unless you say yes to the offer, the burden is on the interviewer.

What is the highest salary you have ever been paid in any position?

Be prepared to turn this question around to your benefit. Ask the interviewer what the range is for this position and state your answer in relation to the qualifications you uniquely possess for the job.