I need some assistance with how to approach the salary discussion in a new job application for a permanent role. Note, this is a direct application and there is no recruiter in the middle.
Background: I applied for this role, and one of the first questions they asked is for me to "provide an idea of salary expectations." To answer that question, I mentioned my last salary for a perm position and told them that my current salary as a contractor is not a valid comparison because it's a day rate. I did not specify an expectation per se.
The application process proceeded with 2 interviews, and I have been told there will be no more interviews.
I have just received an email that specifies the need to clarify my salary expectation. The employer has made reference to the fact they are not in a specific industry (which is the industry I've been working in), perhaps suggesting that it pays better, but they might not be able to.
I am now being asked about my expectations in terms of an overall package for a perm role.
This is frustrating. I can see what they are doing: asking me to quote a number, while at the same time mentally challenging me to not be too high.
Frankly, I am annoyed - even though I am assuming this kind of tactic is normal. I don't want to play their game and quote a lower number because if I do, that is what I will get. Frankly, one of the reasons I proceeded with the interview was because they didn't seem to flinch at my last salary. If they figured they couldn't match it they should have been honest then. Nobody wants to take a pay cut.
I want my response to be a polite version of "I'm not sure." I want to basically say "make me an offer". They have interviewed me and should be able to place a value on my skills, quote me that value and I will tell them if it's too low.
If I knew they weren't going to be able to at least match my last salary then I wouldn't have proceeded with the interview.
Any feedback would be great, thanks.