I had to take a 3 year career break to deal with a long running family commitment and I am now returning to my normal career and applying for jobs. How should I answer the usual question of "What salary are you expecting?". It could come up either on application forms or in-person at interview.
I am applying for senior software engineer roles and I am quite rusty after 3 years out of the field. I was very good at what I did previously and I don't doubt my ability to eventually get back up to speed again but I am going to be rusty for a while.
I'm not sure if its wisest for me to:
- Ignore the career gap and just submit the going rate for people with my years of experience as if there was no career gap.
- Propose a lowball number to get my foot in the door, in which case what % below the normal rate should I use? But my experience in the past is whatever salary you start at then limits future pay rises - I can remember managers saying "we are only allowed to give x% increase on your current salary". So once I got up to speed again, I'd have to move on I think.
- Politely refuse to answer and tell the employer to propose a number (I could say that at interview but how to answer the question on an application form?)
Or any other advice?