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In a phone call today with a possible future employer, they asked me what my salary expectations were. I wasn't prepared for this question and didn't have an answer. They offered me a range of 42k-50k and asked me to pick. In the moment I didn't want to sound overly greedy at the higher 50k side, but I didn't want to sound overly humble at 42k so I said 45.5k.

Was this the "correct" response?

What can I do to improve upon this question when or if it ever comes up again?

Do employers take this question and base your actual salary on the response?

marked as duplicate by IDrinkandIKnowThings, gnat, Dukeling, JasonJ, Michael Grubey Aug 2 '17 at 2:31

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    "It depends on the total compensation package, which we can discuss later" – Retired Codger Aug 1 '17 at 20:05
  • What's the job title? – sleddog Aug 1 '17 at 20:10
  • Junior Developer-Support Analyst @sleddog – Bender Bending Aug 1 '17 at 20:11
  • @BenderBending Which country/state? That has a big impact, too. – sleddog Aug 1 '17 at 20:11
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    This should be a question you should always be prepared to respond in a job interview. You even had something in your favor, that is they gave a figure first (as explained in the possible duplicate). Therefore they were willing to give you the 50k. If they didn't gave you a figure what would you have said? As you see, it could have ended way lower if you don't have some figure in mind – DarkCygnus Aug 1 '17 at 20:15
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I wasn't prepared for this question and didn't have an answer.

That was a mistake. You must be prepared for this common question.

They offered me a range of 42k-50k and asked me to pick. In the moment I didn't want to sound overly greedy at the higher 50k side, but I didn't want to sound overly humble at 42k so I said 45.5k.

Was this the "correct" response?

If 45.5k would be a comfortable salary that would make you happy, then it was the "correct" response.

If you will be unhappy accepting 45.5k, then the correct response would have been higher.

What can I do to improve upon this question when or if it ever comes up again?

Practice how you will answer this question in the future. Try to deflect the question, but have a specific number in mind that you would accept if offered in case they require a specific dollar amount.

  • "I'd prefer to put the discussion of salary aside for now - at least until I learn more about the company and the job"
  • "I think I bring a lot of value to this job and I'd like a salary commensurate with that value"
  • "I think I'm worth [whatever the top of the range being offered is] and I know I can show you that I deserve it"

Do employers take this question and base your actual salary on the response?

Yes, many do. Some don't. And in some locales, it's not even a question employers are allowed to ask.

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    As for being prepared for the question: you need to know your make-or-break number. A good measure is how little money could you live on, paying all your bills and having a little money for fun. If your MoB is $45k and they offer you $44, you would flat-out refuse it unless they would be willing to raise their offer. – BryanH Aug 1 '17 at 21:35

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