Answering the Expected Salary Question

Rule of ethics states that it is quite out of the ordinary and  polite scheme of things to ask a person how much he or she is earning from his or her job monthly. But what if you are a serious job hunter who is absolutely clueless on how to answer the interviewer’s question about your expected salary? Do you take the rude and crude way or the questionable and polite way? Letting the company decide on what to give you financially is a little bad because they will most likely be inclined to lean to their benefit than yours.

Fortunately for you, job hunter, there is already a middle way  (sounds like Buddha’s middle way, but not quite!)  that will help you answer this question. It’s sad that I only learned about it after I got hired. But I’m not complaining because I came for fulfillment in my job and not really how fat it will make my wallet.

You can check out Pay Scale’s website. They will require you to answer a series of questions about your job if you are a present employee who wants to know how other people in our country with the same position are faring in terms of compensation. This will help you gauge if you are underpaid, average or overpaid. If I surfed the page correctly, it will also show you compensations for different job descriptions in other countries, not just the Philippines.

If you are a job hunter, you can still get a profile of people who are employed in your dream job and you will see how much they are making. It does not just give you a single statistic; it will also let you know if that employee has achieve a certain extra Master’s degree or what-not that upped his or her salary a bit. That’s cool right? You’ll know your path right away and how much is objectively reasonable for a person of your level of skill.

Pay Scale is not a perfect system. There will be some job descriptions which are not filled with the right data. For that, I just give you the rule of thumb when I have job interviews: GO HIGH. And don’t be afraid to go high especially if you think your skills are commensurate to what you are expecting from the company.

In my case, the company gave me lower than my expected salary but there were a lot of non-monetary benefits that I will not be able to find anywhere else. So I am happy here. But for those who have many mouths to feed, that might just not quite cut it. This new app I discovered might just help.

(Open to comments of people who have been helped by this, if any.  My experience with Payscale is quite positive but I am quite curious how others will find it.)