What is your expected salary? and how to answer intelligently

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When negotiating salary, employers often ask how much salary you want? Would you answer the high salary or are you confused and don't know what to answer with a reasonable number to satisfy both sides?

'What is your expected salary?' is one of the questions that candidates wonder about during interviews. Do you know how to answer this dreaded question to make a positive impression in the employer's eyes and have a chance to achieve your desired salary? To help with the question 'What is your expected salary?', Navigos Search shares how to answer intelligently, convincingly, and professionally to employers.

1. Why do employers ask "What is your expected salary?"

At the end of the interview, employers often ask "What is your expected salary?" This question can mark an important turning point that directly affects your results in the application process. The employer asks you this question for the following purpose:

See how you measure your self-worth

When asking "What is your expected salary?", the employer is checking how the candidate evaluates his or her own abilities and self-worth. They are interested in how you evaluate your salary in accordance with your professional skills and experience.

Besides, the salary negotiation question also helps them better understand your career goals. If you confidently demonstrate your value and propose a suitable salary, you will be appreciated and have a higher chance of being recruited.

Measure the compatibility between your professional qualifications and the job position

During the interview, the employer will determine whether the professional skills you've displayed are appropriate for the wage you've requested. If candidates request a salary that is too high in comparison to the professional ability and experience required by the company, or if the number you propose is excessively low, the employer will conclude that your professional qualifications do not fully satisfy the requirements.

Determine whether your desired salary fits within the expected budget

Companies have set a specific budget and number for the position they are recruiting. By asking "What is your expected salary?", they want to verify that the number you give is in line with their previously expected budget.

What is the purpose of asking the candidate's desired salary?

2. "What is your expected salary?" and how to answer intelligently and convincingly?

Answering the question of "What is your expected salary?" is not easy. However, there are still some tips for you to answer well, specifically as follows:

Emphasize personal abilities

As mentioned above, when employers ask you what salary you want, they are asking you to evaluate your own worth.

If you have professional knowledge and thorough experience in the job you are applying for, you can boldly state your desired salary. Your desired salary figure should be based on your professional skills, accumulated experience, and achievements gained in previous units. In addition, you should emphasize your strengths to prove that you can bring value to the business if given the opportunity to work.

Suggested answer:

For position A at the company, I hope to receive a salary of VND 15 million. This is the pay that I believe is appropriate for my skills and in line with the demands of the company. With my skills and expertise from more than three years at position A for AB company, I have contributed to increasing 2019 revenue by 15% compared to 2018; 2 years at XY company. I contributed to increasing 2022 revenue by 21% compared to 2021. I am confident that I will bring significant value to the business.

Proactively ask questions to the employer

Before proposing a specific salary, you can ask the employer for detailed information related to the position to have more time to consider and make a decision on the question "What is your expected salary?"

Suggest to the employer that you want to better understand the job being recruited by asking them to provide information about the company's expected salary and benefits packages for that position. This helps you have all the necessary information to determine your desired salary more accurately.

Suggested answer:

Before answering this question, if possible, could you share information about the expected salary for position A at the company, details about the job, the promotion path for this position, benefits provided, and salary increase review time? This information will help me consider a salary that is more suitable for the position and business.

Stick to the reference salary

Consider the current salary ranges for the position you are applying for. You can use a variety of resources, including Talent Guide 2024, to find out the typical wage for the position you're applying for. Salary report from Navigos Group - Group with two leading recruitment brands in Vietnam (VietnamWorks and Navigos Search).

Talent Guide 2024 updates detailed market salaries for each department and level in 23 industries in Vietnam such as construction, real estate, finance-banking, and information technology. Through that, you will easily visualize the appropriate salary range of the job you are applying for to discuss and answer the question of "What is your expected salary?"

In addition, you should also consult with different sources, such as friends or colleagues, to come up with the most suitable salary.

You must explain that your proposed wage is based on your professional qualifications and work experience in this industry, and it is the outcome of market research for the position if the employer questions you about it. This is the pay that you believe will allow you to contribute to the company for a very long period.

Suggested answer:

Based on researching market information for position A, specialized degrees and certificates and over 3 years of experience working at position A at AB company, I think the salary ranges from VND 15 - 20 million per month would be appropriate for me in this role.

Give an appropriate salary range

Providing an appropriate salary range is a method that many candidates often use when answering the question  "What is your expected salary?" A common mistake when giving a desired salary in this way is the employer can choose the lowest salary within the range you offer.

For example, if you offer a salary of about 15 - 20 million, the employer can decide to pay you a salary of VND 15 million per month for that position. To avoid being at a disadvantage, specify a precise wage range while discussing your desired salary with the employer.

Suggested answer:

In the business, I aim to be paid between VND 17 and VND 20 million a month for position A. In my opinion, this compensation accurately represents my abilities and, when compared to the overall level in the labor market, is appropriate for this position at the company. This salary is my motivation to stay long-term and contribute a lot of value to the business.

Change salary with appropriate benefits

Instead of focusing only on salary for the question "What is your expected salary?", consider other benefits and incentives such as vacation time, lunch allowance, parking, bonuses, and 13th-month salary. Each business often has unique remuneration policies for each job position. You should discuss with the employer about the benefits that are worthy of that position.

Suggested answer:

Based on the company's proposed salary of VND 17 - 20 million per month, I would like to discuss other benefits such as vacation time, lunch allowance, gifts during holidays and Tet, and KPI bonuses. Through that, I will have a specific picture of the salary and benefits received that are commensurate with experience when I take on job A at the enterprise.

Take you current salary as a benchmark

You can also answer the question ‘What is your expected salary?’ by referring to the salary at your previous job. Experience and evaluate for yourself whether the salary at your previous unit accurately reflects your abilities.

Then, determine the new salary based on current abilities and achievements, possibly an increase of 10%, 20%, or 30% compared to the old salary depending on the situation. In particular, don't forget to express to the employer that you are looking for opportunities to develop yourself and are willing to commit long-term to that desired salary.

Suggested answer:

As mentioned in my CV, I worked at AB company with position A for 2 years. During that time, I contributed to the unit's revenue growth of 20% compared to the previous year. The salary I receive at AB company is VND 20 million per month. With experience and achievements accumulated during my work, I believe I can bring more revenue growth opportunities to your business. Therefore, I hope to achieve a salary increase of 20% compared to the previous salary I received.

Suggested answers to question about desired salary

3. Mistakes need to be overcomed when answering "What is your expected salary?"

What is your expected salary?" is a dreaded question for candidates. During the answering process, candidates should:

Don't be passive with the question of "What is your expected salary?"

During the interview, many candidates answer in a question-and-answer style and forget that it is a negotiation and two-way communication. Remember that participating in an interview is similar to being in sales.

In this case, you are selling your abilities. One of the crucial principles in sales is to create a positive experience for customers. Likewise, a positive experience often results in the price you desire. And in this case, that is the salary. Therefore, the important thing when participating in an interview is not to put yourself in a passive position to respond well to the question "What is your expected salary?".

Be confident and professional throughout the interview process

To have a successful interview, candidates must maintain eye contact and a comfortable sitting posture, especially to show a confident attitude throughout the interview. A candidate who displays composure in the face of difficult questions and the ability to handle situations confidently will leave a positive impression on the employer.

Don't argue fiercely about desired salary

The answer "What is your expected salary?" will mark the beginning of the salary negotiation process. Avoid turning the interview into a debate that only revolves around salary. This will create a stressful atmosphere and you will not be appreciated by the employer.

Try to control your emotions. Do not show dissatisfaction or disappointment when the employer offers a salary lower than your expectations. Because they may be evaluating your ability to work in solving difficult situations.

If the employer offers you a salary that is much lower than your expectations, stay calm and continue negotiating. You should ask yourself questions to understand the employer's perspective or ask for more time to consider the salary they have proposed. Do not rush to make a decision when you are not sure. And if there is no agreement, you can politely refuse.

Some things to pay attention to when answering about salary

Don't worry if you still don't have a good answer to the question of "What is your expected salary?". Navigos Search's recruitment experts are your companion on the job search path, during the interview, probationary and post-trial process.

Right now, you can search for another suitable job at Navigossearch.com's job directory. We regularly update middle and senior-level job positions with a variety of occupations such as Sales, Information Technology Software, Finance/Investment, Banking, Human Resources Management, Insurance, and Architecture/interior design for you to choose from.

You can also send us your CV for the opportunity to become a potential candidate in our candidate data source.

Our consultants are all experienced recruitment experts who are knowledgeable about each industry and labor market. Based on a scientific recruitment process, our experts will proactively contact, advise candidates on recruitment requirements, and reveal ways to negotiate attractive salaries to help candidates win employers' hearts.

Every month, our consultants interview many high-level candidates, bringing quality job opportunities to job seekers across Vietnam.

Find your dream job at Navigos Search

With over 20 years of experience in recruitment, Navigos Search is proud to bring quality middle and high-level job opportunities at large enterprises and multinational corporations to job seekers across Vietnam. 

We always try our best to help potential candidates reach their dreams through Vietnam's leading professional recruitment service!

Don't hesitate to contact us if you are looking for a way to negotiate salary and search for answer to the question "What is your expected salary?" and looking for any middle or high-level job:

  • Ho Chi Minh Head Office: 20th Floor, e.town Central Building, 11 Doan Van Bo Street, Ward 13, District 4, HCMC.

  • Hanoi Office: V. Building - 125 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung District

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  • Email: contact@navigossearch.com

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