How to Handle Salary Request

Mike writes:
I’m applying for an administrative-assistant position with
the state. They are asking for a salary request. What am I to do? They
already have the salary range listed on their website. Should I just copy
that verbatim?

The Career Doctor responds:
There seems to be a rush in employers asking for salary requirements
because I have received about five similar emails in the past month — from
job-seekers applying to both government and private-sector jobs.
Hiring organizations ask for your
salary requirement for a number of reasons most often to see if your request fits into the salary
range for the position.
Your strategy as the job-seeker is to not get pinned down with a specific
number. In fact unless you know the range you should be fairly vague. In
your case I would simply list the range from their site — or just the higher
end of the range (if that’s where you belong).
Remember that you want to delay salary discussion for as long as possible
– until you are the last or one of the last job-seekers left. You’ll have more
power to negotiate when the employer decides you are the perfect candidate
for the job.
However employers can get the upper hand in the process by asking for your
salary requirements often eliminating those folks who ask for too little or too
much. So if the salary range is not listed your goal should be to see if you
have a networking contact within the company who can supply that information
or use a service such as to get a ballpark of the salary range. If
you do not have any firm information on the salary range you should try
and be as vague as possible such as “a salary in the mid $30′s.”
Read much more about salary requests in my article
to Requests for Salary Requirements or Salary Histories: Strategies and Suggestions

published on Quintessential Careers.
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