The Very Best Way To Answer The Question… “What’s Your Salary Expectation?” In Hospitality Interviews

I know it’s tough to answer the question… “What’s Your Salary Expectation?” it’s a question we deal with every day of every week. It can be a frustrating one, many prefer not to commit to a figure at the start of the process. It can make many of you nervous. Many are worried about actually giving a number and rightly so. So I’m going to outline a text that you can use when asked so you can worry no more.

Aim high or low?

Many of you don’t wish to provide an exact salary outline because you are looking to avoid either shooting too low, whereby you’re setting the employers expectations that your salary requirements are on the lower end or you are concerned that you might put yourself out of the running because you aimed too high.

Often times you won’t ever wish to actually give a figure.

Why? First of all it’s an uneducated standpoint. You don’t have a full understanding of what it’s like to work at the establishment, what will you need to do, who will you get to work alongside, what the training and development opportunities are, and vacation and benefits. Therefore, it’s quite hard for you to get it precisely right by giving them a figure so early on in the process.

Secondly there’s need to worry. It’s important to appreciate that there isn’t a headhunter ever who decides whether you get the role or what you get paid. HR managers handle this responsibility. So there’s no need for concern. Honestly, they aren’t going to be the one who decides what you’ll be paid. Even if you do provide an outline about the your salary expectations up front.

The area in which the recruiter does have a huge impact is at the outset of proceedings. Here’s where they could exclude you from the process if they know that your salary requirement is above their outline. As they may have a request from their client not to put candidates forwards above a certain salary level. 

However the recruiter mightn’t exclude you from the process if they feel you have an exceptional background and experience. Even if you don’t provide an exact salary expectation. This will usually apply more to more junior positions where a fixed salary is in place. Here the recruiter will tell you the salarys fixed, that you won’t get a higher salary than outlined. in such a situation you will need to decide from there if you would like to apply.

What happens when you provide a salary range?

You may think when answering the question “What’s Your Salary Expectation?” “I should give a salary range?” Well, that’d be ok. But if I’m a HR manager and you say, “I’d like to earn between 80,000 and 100,000”. What do you suppose I would hear? I heard 80,000, when you were thinking something more like 100,000, correct? So, you’ll end up in a situation where you are providing a salary lower than you’d really be comfortable accepting. Providing salary ranges aren’t great, they are still not educated.They tie you to your lower figure when you are thinking about your higher number. Far better is that you gain a clearer understanding of the role, provide a number based on that further understanding.

What you should say instead

When you asked to answer the question… “What’s Your Salary expectation?”. I’d propose you to say something like the following…

“While compensation is an important factor, I would really like to look at the entire value of working at your organisation. What I get to do, the people I get to do it with, the opportunities related to training and career progression, benefits, vacation and all of the other elements that are part of working at your company. I’m excited to understand about these throughout the interview process and upon this understanding I would be in a position to provide you with a much clearer idea of what I would expect in terms of salary related to all of these factors, however at this stage to give you any kind of approximation would be uneducated on my part. So, I look forward to gaining a further understanding of these areas and I look forward to starting the interview process”.

You could be well be thinking… “That sounds evasive, the Hiring Manager is going to be put off if I don’t give figure”?

What is going to unfold is you don’t give them a salary expectation? You’ll be positioning yourself to gain lots of points during the interview process whilst coming to a more educated understanding.

What’s going to transactionally happen at that moment? The thing that most don’t understand is if you’ve got the correct experience and training, your CV is in good order and you‘re a fit for this position in terms of character, they are going to be highly likely to want to hire you.

Why it works

When asked to answer the question… “What’s Your Salary expectation?” if you don’t provide a salary expectation and the recruiter really believes you are right for the role, the recruiter is going to go to the hiring manager and say something along the lines of…

I really like this person’s experience, but they didn’t want to advise on what it was that they were expecting in terms of compensation”. If you look right for the role, the hiring manager is going to say..

“OK let’s arrange an interview so we can understand her/him more and take it from there”.

I hope you found this helpful, if so keep an eye out for further tips over the coming days.