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Old 30.11.2011, 20:04
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What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

Here in Switzerland we always heard that it is unusual to speak about salary. With big companies there are usually standard tariff in salary grades anyway. Yet I have seen an increasing amount of ads asking to state "expected salary". What is your strategy regarding this? Should we simply refuse to say one (or just a rough figure) or did you have good experience stating your desired salary at the very beginning and be thankful you did?

Thanks for the sharing!
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Old 30.11.2011, 20:16
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

I guess it depends on the company and the person you're talking to. Here's my case:

First interview - refused to say a sum. Didn't go down well.
Second interview - rounded up (higher rather than lower ) the sum of the average salary for the particular position in Switzerland.
Eventually, the offer contained a few thousand more than I had initially asked for.

In other instances, I have experienced that employers don't really like it when you don't state a sum.. Maybe saying one tells them that you know what you want?

Good luck!
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Old 30.11.2011, 20:31
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

Since we are in that topic and I'm currently job hunting, I give them a figure(more or less what I was making with my previous employer) then I say that its open for negotiation.
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Old 30.11.2011, 20:37
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

I had an interview where they asked for my salary expectations. I kindly replied that I wanted to know more about the position and the responsibilities. After this they gave me a time to think if I was willing to continue the process.

When I decided to give it a go they kept asking for a number, and in a passive-aggresive way they said that if I was unable to provide a number they would have to decline my application so I came out with some number in the range provided by www.lohnrechner.bfs.admin.ch
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Old 30.11.2011, 20:43
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

I would tell them that I have done research on the average salary in that specific field and my findings have turned out to be between amount X and amount Y. Then I would turn the question over to them by asking, "Where do you think your company stands within this range?"
I have done this in all my interviews. It has worked well.

Last edited by lifeisabuffet; 30.11.2011 at 20:45. Reason: typo
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Old 30.11.2011, 22:40
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

Yeah...as much as salary could be a taboo issue here, somehow I have heard some stories that giving no figures could be actually bad. I think the common practice is to say a range followed by a friendly remark like given above ("negotiable"/"Where does your company stand?") etc....tricky would be when it is an electronic form with just a expected salary entry though...
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Old 30.11.2011, 22:45
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

Depends - if head hunted - ask them to offer first. If not, then state what you think you are worth*.

*after posting the obligatory EF "how much does an XXX earn in CH?" thread
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Old 30.11.2011, 23:04
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

Don't mean to sound trite, but just be honest!

If you want more than they are offering or prepared to pay, they won't proceed and you'll both save time. If you get less than the maximum they would have offered, its a lost opportunity, but so what? You get what you want - the job and the pay.

In my function, somebody who plays games at this stage shows themselves to be a haggler rather than a negotiator, so i'd be tempted not to pursue it
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Old 01.12.2011, 00:58
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

I would always think of my desired salary and add 10%.

Then say it confidently, as if it is monopoly money.

If you are good they will pay that, anyway they always have a figure in mind before they say it.
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Old 01.12.2011, 02:13
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

I've had a few interviews recently, in person and telephone, in Switzerland as well as EU and US. The question I always get is "What is your current salary?". So far no one has asked me what I want or expect.
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Old 01.12.2011, 09:02
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

I got asked by HR my current salary, expected salary and expected bonus. Then I asked them what would the company offer me, they asked me to wait until they write up the contract and send it by post.
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Old 01.12.2011, 09:22
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

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I would always think of my desired salary and add 10%.
This is the most reasonable strategy, as long as there is no significant change (increase) in your job requirements. Moving to a higher level management or leadership position should garner a somewhat higher bump, unless you area already close to what the highest 'going rate' would be for someone in your position. In part, the horrid HR folks are checking to see if you will lie about your salary, I think, since there is plenty of industry data out there for them to have a pretty good sense of what your salary might/should be. Of course, your salary might be exceptional since you are exceptional. If you are moving up to more responsibilities, you should counter by saying that this new job isn't really like your old job so that your current salary isn't really relevant and that should have a conversation about what is appropriate based on your skills/years of experience, etc.
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Old 01.12.2011, 09:25
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

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I got asked by HR my current salary, expected salary and expected bonus. Then I asked them what would the company offer me, they asked me to wait until they write up the contract and send it by post.
I had the current/expected question asked recently by a company in the US. I told them my current and expected salary and they came in lower than that and tried to make up the difference by saying 'Oh, but there's a performance bonus!' Having had experience with them before and knowing their year to year profitability (and the fact that they were offering me their bog standard 15 days vacation despite having had 20 when I left and having 25 now) . I asked about that and they didn't even bother answering. I took a pass on their 'offer'.
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Old 01.12.2011, 09:30
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

Interesting thread, finding myself in a position where I am looking for a new job, I have been asked the question many times in only a couple od fays. I just stated what my salary was.
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Old 01.12.2011, 09:33
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

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I would always think of my desired salary and add 10%.
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This is the most reasonable strategy, as long as there is no significant change (increase) in your job requirements.
Why it it reasonable to think of what you want and then increase it? What if their maximum is your desired salary and then by adding 10% you put yourself out of the running? Why not just tell them honestly what you want?
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Old 01.12.2011, 09:42
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

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I would tell them that I have done research on the average salary in that specific field and my findings have turned out to be between amount X and amount Y. Then I would turn the question over to them by asking, "Where do you think your company stands within this range?"
I have done this in all my interviews. It has worked well.
Excellent approach, and it goes without saying that one must actually spend some time doing the research in order to determine the average salary. It wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility that an interviewer might actually ask the prospective candidate what resources s/he utilized when determining the range, so the best plan would be to come prepared to answer that question........

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Depends - if head hunted - ask them to offer first. If not, then state what you think you are worth*.

*after posting the obligatory EF "how much does an XXX earn in CH?" thread
.....but probably with a few resources other than EF to support the numbers!
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Old 01.12.2011, 09:57
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

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Why it it reasonable to think of what you want and then increase it? What if their maximum is your desired salary and then by adding 10% you put yourself out of the running? Why not just tell them honestly what you want?
Simple answer: It is a negotiation. Starting it with the lowest salary you'd possibly accept would be a stupid move.

There is absolutely no logical reason to ask you for your current salary: Different roles in different companies have no causal connection at all, so why should the salaries correlate? The one and only reason why 90% of HR people asked me for it is simple: They want to set the lower end for the salary discussion.

By knowing what you get now can they guess how low of an offer you will accept. They'll ask you for your expectations and then offer something in between. Yes, that is an unfair strategy as I think two people doing the same job in a company should earn about the same - no matter what they made in previous jobs. By SLIGHTLY inflating your expectation can you counter it a bit.

I have both been interviewed as well as interviewed myself candidates for jobs. A ten percent too high expectation does not kick you out if you are otherwise a good candidate. If you come with some completely unreasonable numbers you might, but if you ask for 125k instead of 110... the recruiter will simply tell you "that's over our budget, would you consider an offer of 110?"
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Old 01.12.2011, 10:43
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

Hi

In my experience , if done in a professional and realistic manner, there should be no awkardness is asserting your expected salary.

Most recruiters appreciate if you send them an excel sheet drawing a comparison with current and expected and before doing that always reach out to people in the industry to understand what the similar role is being in a competitive market.

If you are demanding higher than market then u better have a good justification with examples on your USP ( unique selling proposition) that you bring to the job in question short and long term.

This gives the recruiter a better understanding of both your financial and career aspirations and simultaneously it eliminates any awkwardness you may have in talking about ur exptd salary.

Wish u all the best- hope this helps.
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Old 01.12.2011, 11:20
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

There are two important aspects. One is the average range of Salary Band for the position you are looking at. The other one is your current salary.

How you play depends on these two. If you are expecting above the average band because your current is good then you need to play more on your current remuneration and possible hikes or promotions.

If your current is low but the industry band is high then you need to focus more on what the average band in the market is and put it to the recruiter that you want them to match the industry standard.

I think it depends on skills and job as well. For most of the routine jobs no one will go much above your current or much above the industry band. But for specialized senior positions (Example Financial Sales or Risk) there are always exception.

Last advice, whatever you quote is always negotiable. You don't want to be in the deadlock over Salary.
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Old 01.12.2011, 11:33
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Re: What is your strategy on answering "expected salary"?

The way that people are linked and networked these days, it's normally not too tricky to know someone from an HR company in a similar field to where you're looking and do some research.

From what I understand, banks and insurance organizations have fairly rigid "payment bands" and are less likely to have people with the same age doing the same job with wildly varying salaries.

I've always paid employees based upon their experience and quite frankly, directly linked to their ability to create revenue with new clients that I haven't had to spoon feed them.

I know that there are some agencies out there who have contractors working for them making a killing, billing out treble or quadruple to the end clients against what they are actually paying their workers. Seems to be the case with short and medium contracts with banks and software experts, but also with other specialized fields such as aviation and hi-tech industries.

Check out discussion and forum based websites for actual remuneration packages. Internet anonymity is a boon for discussing actual pay deals, bonuses and salaries in this day and age.

Be kind of cool if EF were to have an open house policy and a section with salary discussions, no holds barred:

Bank ABC needs a customer service clerk. Pitch yourself at CHF 7.5K, 13 month salary with pension scheme for example. Anyone brave enough to see if it would happen?
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