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By Audrey Korir

For many candidates, this is one of the most dreaded questions, with good reason. It could go two ways; based on your answer, the employer may give you the job but with a low salary, or you could lose the opportunity altogether if the salary quoted is too high or too low.

Why do employers want to know your salary expectations?  Employers ask this to get a sense of whether they can afford you. They also ask this to gauge whether you value yourself and the work you do.

I remember attending an interview where the employer posed this question to me. It caught me off-guard because I had no direct answer to give.  After fumbling with my answer, the employer was greatly disappointed. I know this because he termed it as unrealistic. I left there knowing that I had completely ruined my chances of getting the job.

Just like me, I know you have likely found yourself in a similar situation.  Worry not; this article will give you expert advice to help you have the right answer for your upcoming job interview.

1. Do your research

Not every employer is going to include the associated salary in the job description. Rather than guessing, do your research before the interview. Look at what the market rate is for a person in that position. Also consider the size of the organization.

Even while researching the salary trends, it is crucial to evaluate your education, skills, and experience to ensure that you match up to what is being offered in that job industry.

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2. Give a range

Carolyne Kariuki, a Senior Recruiter from Cooperate Staffing Services, a leading HR consultancy firm in Nairobi, advises candidates to give a salary range because it shows flexibility.

“Giving a range is the best option. Quoting a figure does not show flexibility, which is a key thing that an employer is looking out to see when they put this question across”, she says.

3. Be realistic

Above everything, you have to show the employer that you are a reasonable person.  Do not quote an amount that can easily disqualify you during the interview.

“Do not bargain for an exaggerated amount, you cannot expect an employer to give you a salary of sh 350,000 when you have been earning sh 50,000. Use your experience and skills to help you determine the salary range”, adds Carolyne.

4. Highlight your skills

In your answer, emphasize why you are a perfect fit for that position. For example, you could say; “In my 6 years of experience in this field, I would expect a salary range of 60k-80k”.

Cynthia Wangechi, an expert from Corporate Staffing’s recruitment department urges candidates to remind the interviewer why he or she deserves the salary.

“Before mentioning any figures, it is advisable to subtly remind the employer why they should offer you that salary in the first place”, she adds.

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5. Look at the Job Description

The job description will act as your guide as some employers are sure to include it there. If not, look at the details and see what kind of roles you will be expected to undertake.  If the details match your qualifications use that information to conduct your market research, to see how much a person in that position earns.

Bottom line, 

Before your job interview, take the time to research on the salary, so you’re prepared to answer the question.

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