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10 minutes reading time (1919 words)

What should we pay you? Here’s the best way to answer this.

job-applicant-shaking-hands-picture-id490213806
This question has been known to be used by many employers of labour since the beginning of industrialization and believe me, it's a very tricky question.

A question that has no definite and qualified answer. A question that could cost you…your dream job.
A question that simplifies your worth, or at least what you think you are worth. Believe it or not, most recruiters asking this question already have an amount in mind to pay you.

Though in some cases, they may genuinely ask this in a bid to see if they can afford you, especially if they know you are very qualified for a better position or job.

Other times, it's just a test to see how ambitious you are. This is a very important question that you should deliberate on before giving out any definite answer since your well-being depends on it.



The good news?
They have probably already considered giving you the job and there's a higher chance you will get it if only you give a fair price.

Most times, this could be just like every other negotiation you do when trying to strike a deal.
However, if your answer should trigger any sign of pride or they should sense that you could be ungrateful, you could lose the job.

As a matter of fact, to make things easier, you should already have an answer to this before coming for the interview
but you should also be able to read the body language of your recruiter and together with the nature of your interview,

you should be able to analyse and figure out the kind of answer they expect from you. Meanwhile, are you living your dream? Here's how to choose the right career path.



What does it really mean?
It could mean a lot of things including the fact that they may be trying to see how greedy you are.
It means you should tell them your worth. You should give them a reason to work with you. Are your services affordable?

I once had a friend who fell into this trap. The moment he was asked this question, he was convinced that he's gotten the job.

He was convinced that they actually wanted him to choose his own salary package. Well, do I still need to say what happened next?

The greedy side of him came to play. I mean, who would demand a smaller amount if given the chance of a better pay? 

He had to request as much as he could and actually had himself convinced that it was a good idea. Well, he got fired even before he could get the job.

Do not be too sure that you will get the job because they may actually still have a list of candidates to choose from.
Perhaps, who gets the job will depend on the answer you give to this question.

Sometimes, even if you are worth it, the company may still reject your services if your pay scares them.
At the same time, giving them a small figure wouldn't be a good idea either since this will make your services seem less valuable.


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The best way to be prepared for it.
Have you held the same job position before? If yes, what was the salary structure of the company?

Was the company larger or smaller compared to the one you currently applying for? A larger company will likely pay more compared to a small company.

How about the industry? Companies in oil and gas will pay more than financial institutions.

If your former employer was a billionaire in the oil and gas industry, please do not expect a product distribution company to pay you the same amount.

Also, what position are you applying for? Is it a better position compared to your former workplace? If so, request a higher pay.

Overall, you should be prepared for this by doing the necessary research about the company and making comparisons with your former employer.

Simply finding out the salary structure of the company will go a long way in getting you through this simple but tricky question.

Then again, you shouldn't forget to take your worth into consideration. Depending on your skills, professionalism,

experience and educational qualifications, you should consider saying the amount people like you should earn.



When I ask this question, I expect you to give me an estimate of what people of your skill-set are being paid in the industry.

I probably already know this but would love to give you a say in your paycheck. This is because employees who chose their salary structure are less likely to revolt or request a raise anytime soon.

People want to be heard or at least think they are in control. This could also be the reason you are being asked this question.

If you had a previous job, simply stating the amount you were paid would do. Otherwise, you could just raise the pay a bit by adding your expenses

(e.g transportation if you live far compared to your previous job) but whatever you add, you should be able to defend it with quality reasons and understand that the company has the final say. 
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What not to say.
Do not say you will be okay with whatever the company decides to pay you. People do this and though you may get the job,

you are most likely going to be paid lesser than your actual worth. Who would want to spend $5,000 when they can pay $2,000 for the same service?

Moreover, if you say this, some established corporations may still not employ you because that could make you look like a push-over or someone who cannot make up his own mind.

It shows that you don't even know your worth and that you don't trust your abilities. Employers want people who would get the job done.

They want people with a lot of zeal and motivation in life. They want people who are an added advantage to their team.

If you don't even value yourself enough to negotiate a good pay, how then do you expect your employers to return take you seriously?

People who accept anything that comes their way in life usually tend to sleep-walk through their duties.

Employers wouldn't want you to neglect your duties because you feel underpaid. Sometimes you may just make a guess on the amount you think you should be paid

and end up requesting a lower pay compared to what the employer had in mind and this can cost you more.

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If you want to request for a pay below the salary structure of the company for your position,
you should state that your pay will be subjected to an increase as you are only trying to show them how valuable you are before demanding the industry standard pay.
Let them know you love challenges and don't mind starting small.

However, they will have to give you a raise after a few months. You need to project some confidence when saying any of these.

Let them know you aren't cheap but please, ensure you aren't. It will be completely ridiculous to request a huge pay for a small job especially if you are less qualified for the position or lack the proper skill-set.

If you are moving from a big company to a smaller institution, requesting a bigger pay would be justifiable since they know you could be valuable to them.

But it could be very risky to request a bigger pay when moving to a big corporation from a smaller company.

It could be realistic since they can afford it but please do not expect a bigger pay just because of the size of a company.

If anything, you may be seen as an opportunist and that is not a good omen in a work environment.

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What is the best answer?
What then should you say? You should first of all, figure out the monthly expenses that this job will cost you (assuming it doesn't come with allowances for such),

review your experience and level of qualification for the job (do you have a good track record of successful wins in your previous jobs?),

consider the size of the company (can they afford your services?), also take note of how impressed your interviewer is with you (do they feel lucky to have you?).

With these, you should be able to give a good range of what you expect to be paid depending on the proposed salary structure of the company.

That is why you should always research each company you apply to work with.
Knowing some insider things about them could literally prove how committed you are on being a part of their team.

And knowing how much previous staffs in the position you are applying for were paid, is a good step to negotiating your pay depending on your level of experience.


Reply them with full confidence on your recommended pay rate. And during the course of your negotiations,

if asked why you think you deserve such a paycheck, you should be able to sell yourself completely on how valuable you will be to their team.

This will work best if you have some experience in such a job or if you have an outstanding track record and a great success rate in completing astonishing projects.


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Just don't demand an outrageous some or a low pay. Ensure your paycheck request is within the industry standard or a bit above it.

If I was being paid $6,000 in my previous workplace, I have a good track record and this is a better job,

I would request to be paid up to $8,000 while being open to further negotiations. I recommend you follow my 101 financial education series. 

Overall, people with a broad level of experience and qualification are in a better position to demand a higher pay compared to fresh graduates with no experience.

However, do not go short-charging yourself. If possible, demand for the industry standard salary of people of your profession within your location.

This doesn't mean you could go demanding for an unrealistic pay. Doctors in America could earn more compared to doctors in Nigeria.

Give your figure based on your profession, location, company size, previous pay, experience, qualification, expenses and the salary structure of the company.

Nevertheless, the job you apply for, shouldn't necessarily depend on the pay. There are several other ways to make the money you need while doing what you love.
Just make sure you have the passion for the job since your productivity depends on it.

This is to say, you should go for the work you actually enjoy doing regardless of the pay and if the pay is less, simply create another income stream.

With the above tips, I believe I have outlined the major points you need to consider when choosing an answer to this question during your next employment opportunity.
However, your inputs are highly welcomed here.

  Did you find this helpful? Then, don't hesitate to share it with your friends.

  Feel free to link to it or use it as a point of reference during your conversations.

  You are also encouraged to share your views or ask your questions right away.

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Thursday, 22 October 2020

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