What kind of renumeration do you expect ?

'What salary do you expect' is a question that you want to hear but never want to answer. Most of the times because you will be scared you may undersell yourself; and your fears are well founded. Many employers who ask about the last salary taken, offer about 10-30% above your last salary even if their company generally pays more for the job. There are many ways to beat this problem:

  • Be prepared for the question: Best way to handle any problem in life is to be prepared. Interviews too are difficulties that one has to prepare for. In order to be prepared with a good answer you need to know what type of salary the position you are applying for entails. First find out about the salary in the market. You can also find out about the salary offered in the same company either thought the net, or by asking some of the employees - directly or indirectly. Whatever may be your sources, be sure you have a good idea of what the job pays before you face the interview.
  • Be prepared to negotiate: The interviewer more often than not will follow the 'what salary do you expect' question with 'what was your last salary'. When asked this be truthful as much as possible. In case you feel the salary you were earning was too low and might make a wrong impression or fix the negotiating platform too low, emphasize why the past salary was not the right remuneration for the job you were doing while at the same time comparing positively to the added value you would give the present job. You should come across as deserving the higher bracket, and not only hankering for a higher pay.
  • Be prepared to redirect: The question can very diplomatically passed back with, 'that depends on what is the going remuneration for the job here' or 'what have you earmarked for the job' or 'what is the salary you offer for the job'. Then wait for the answer - if you find it adequate accept it saying it is the same thing you had in mind. If not negotiate for a higher salary based upon your experience, qualifications and extra capabilities.
  • Be open: You may say that you were expecting x amount. Be careful though, the interviewer will definitely want to find out why you named that amount - and you should be ready to say why - such as, it is the market rate for the job; it is a reasonable increase on the past job remuneration; the job responsibilities and time would entail it, etc. You need to back up your answer not only with apt reasoning, but also with confidence.
  • Be prepared for a lower offer: Whatever you say, unless you are dealing with a highly established company/organization where positions and pays are fixed, you will be offered a slightly lower offer that you name. At that time, if you think it is worthy to jump on the wagon even if it is at a lightly lower salary than expected, then say so. If not, state clearly the minimum salary you would require and why. However, sometimes it is worthy to gain entry into a good company even if the beginning pay is lower than expected, provided the growth prospects are good and the brand of the company looks good on your resume.