The Dreaded Salary Question!!! “What salary are you seeking?”

When you have been called by an employer or recruiter in response to an application that you submitted, have you ever been asked the dreaded question: “What salary range are you seeking for this role? If the answer is yes, and you never heard from them again, there is some important information that you need to know.

Why we ask?
There are a number of reasons why we ask this question:
• We need to qualify you for the job specification from our client. They have set a range based on budgets available, what they believe the role is worth and the type of skill/experience required
• We need to see what the market is currently paying or expecting for this type of role so that we can compare this with what was specified originally and then advise our client on the expected range from applicants
• We need to know where you actually sit in your predetermined worth as a candidate – you have skills, experience and qualifications that have a value

How to be prepared?
Start doing some research. Even if you have already started sending out applications, spend some time looking at what the market is currently paying. Some salaries have slipped whilst some more in-demand roles have risen. Write it down and note what each role is asking for in qualifications, responsibilities, skills and expertise, then compare this with what you bring.

How do you find this information?
At least 60% of jobs advertised don’t have a salary or hourly rate listed. It is not a trick or the fact that an employer or recruiter doesn’t want to reveal their cards too early, it is simply an attraction strategy to keep the salary open for a range of candidates of varying skill and experience levels. You can find out a salary range that is being paid when viewing jobs that are posted online through advanced search functions, which you should do before calling a recruiter or employer. Take SEEK for example, when we load a job into their system, we must indicate a salary range for the job to upload. The range can vary but it is generally fairly close to the mark. The exception to this is in cases where there are bonuses/commissions – it may be the base or a target range selected instead. We then select whether to display this salary range or not. For you, this means that you can go to SEEK and use the advanced search function to narrow your search based on a salary range as well. Try it for yourself, go to the advanced search function, fill in the usual details that you would and click the search button, write down the number of jobs that appear and then do the search with a salary range that you are seeking and note down the number of job that now appear – there should be a difference. When you find a job that you like, keep playing around with the salary range selector until your job disappears, then you will find out where it sits, and hopefully it will sit where you hoped!

The phone call
If you research better and know where you sit, when you get (or make) that call it will be for a job that you targeted in your range and the person at the other end of the phone won’t have a heart attack when they hear you say a figure $10,000 above their target. The best part is that if you are getting the phone call, they are interested in you, and if you meet that salary range, an interview could end up being the next step!

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