What The F*** Do You Say When Someone Asks, "What Are Your Salary Expectations?"

It's the question that strikes fear into the heart of anyone going to a job interview.

What is it? "Why are you right for this role"? No, though that is a tricky one.

"Where do you see yourself in five years?" Nope, not that one either -- even though it's a doozy.

It's this: "What are your salary expectations?"

Insert crazy music sting here.

And the reason it's so difficult? Well, you know, because our salary requirements can make or break our chances at getting hired -- right?  Ask for a salary too high with no room for negotiation and your potential employer will not be able to afford you. Aim too low and employers could perceive as you offering low value.

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It's a money minefield. How do you know what a role is worth.

According to HR expert Karen Gately, to prevent yourself from panicking about it, you just need to do your homework.

"Do your research,"she said. "Refer to online salary surveys that are freely available and talk to recruitment consultants."

You can also tap into people in your network in a position to offer insight into reasonable salary expectations.

Once you know that, you can work out how best to ask for what you want. Said Karen, "Be honest with yourself about the strength of your capabilities, experience and potential -- and therefore where within a salary range you should be paid."

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And that's not all.  "Understand the realities of the business and what they are likely to actually be able to afford," she suggested.

Financial analyst Christopher Alarcon had this advice, "Ask for a salary too high with no room for negotiation and your potential employer will not be able to afford you. Aim too low and employers will perceive as you offering low value. The trick is to aim as high as possible while keeping both parties feel happy."

Once you've entered into the conversation, you need to do that asking with confidence, of course, and not stammer and falter with nerves.

"Be confident in the reasonableness of the request you are making," Karen told 10 daily. "Believing that you deserve what you are asking for will go some way to helping you to manage your nerves."

Avoid the all too common mistake of becoming emotional or offering personal reasons for needing more money.  For example, telling your employer you are struggling to pay your bills is unlikely to persuade them.  Base your argument for a salary increase on the role you play and value you bring.

Okay, then, and here we are to answer the question once and for all -- take this down and use it every time. 

Them: What are your salary expectations?

You: Based on my understanding of the typical salary range for my role, as well the standard of my performance and the contribution I make, I believe a fair outcome would be $x.

Boom. Nailed it. You're welcome.