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milleniGAL deciphers how to best answer the salary requirements question

"What are your salary requirements?"

They asked me during a second interview at an advertising agency... I froze — I had ZERO idea how much to expect for that type of professional position. Granted, I was still a college student so I wasn't used to a question like this because normally an hourly/salary rate was given to me and there was usually little to no room for negotiation. From that moment on, I vowed to never be the deer stuck in headlights when asked this question.

Most times in the professional world, recruiters or employers will disclose the salary details for a position and that's great because you won't have to worry about this issue. But sometimes job postings don't disclose how much the position will pay and sometimes even during the initial phone interview or in-person interview the money details aren't mentioned. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be prepared. If I can give young professionals (in any field) advice before an interview, it's:


There's so many ways that you can do your research even if the company is being coy about the dolla, dolla bills. The last thing you want to do is give too low of a number because you'll show the employer that you perhaps don't value yourself, your skills or your work. OR, you can give too high of a number that is not in line with the job scope which could in result in you being eliminated from the list of potential candidates. Womp, womp... no one wants either so it's important to come ready with an answer in case this question is asked. Below, I'm listing three ways that you can be prepared when asked this question.

1. Glassdoor is your friend is ah-may-zing because you can get the inside scoop on the company by doing some digging. If it's a big enough company, it'll show you a myriad of positions and either the salary or the salary range for the position. It will also give you information on benefits and reviews from current and former employees. Hell yes. If the company is not on Glassdoor, worry not, Glassdoor is still your friend. What you'll want to do in this situation is search the position you're applying for and select your city and voila. You'll see the position you're applying for or similar positions within your city and see what the going rate for that job is in your area. This will give you an idea on what others with your skills/experience are getting paid so that you don't lowball (or high ball, is that even a thing?!) yourself.

2. Look at other job postings for that position

Perhaps you saw the posting and applied for it on LinkedIn and it didn't disclose pay information. But maybe the position is also listed on Indeed and on Indeed and it discloses pay information on their job board. Make sure you search the interwebz to see if the job is posted on other job boards and look to see if one job board has more information disclosed. They may not have different information on different job boards but it doesn't hurt to try. I recommend looking on these different sites: Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed, Craigslist, ZipRecruiter, Monster, Payscale and CareerBuilder.

3. Analyze your personal situation

Have you done this job before? Is this job considered a promotion? Is this job closer or further to home? What are the benefits like? Would you take a pay cut to take this position (maybe the benefits, maybe the location or maybe you're willing to take a pay cut because you'll be doing what you love)? There are different personal factors that only you can answer that will help you answer this question appropriately. I recommend taking a look at your weekly, monthly and annual expenses and bills and figuring out a 'safe' salary number (the absolute bare minimum) and go from there by factoring in your bills, benefits and commute. Only you can answer these questions but it's really important to look at your personal situation AND the job description to make an informed decision. Take time to really consider what the lowest amount you would/could do the job for is. Ultimately, you want a salary that allows you to live a comfortable life and this is a good way to analyze your situation which will help you figure out what that sweet number is.

Good luck on your job hunt babes. I hope this helps! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or what your experiences have been with this question.


milleniGAL #1 aka scarlet k.

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