How Much Are You Worth?

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Other than not getting selected as a possible candidate, nothing's more painful than the feeling that you've left money on the table. If you've been lucky enough to get a job offer, or if you're one of the ones in the final running, it's probably time for your prospective employer to turn the tables on you. It's the question you know they're going to ask. What salary and take are you expecting? It's probably one of the toughest questions you have to answer during the interview process and financial firms are notorious for trying to get this information out of you.

So, what to do? Avoidance is sometimes the best policy, but don't be too obvious about it. Try your best to keep the conversation focused on your attributes, and the more you can engage the human resource person or group leader, the more likely you will avoid this touchy subject. One recent hire says that the interview he had went so well that they never got back to the subject. End run-charm the pants off them and dazzle them with your skills.

You'd much rather be in the place to hear the salary range. When you're presented with a number, it's easier to say 'yes' or 'no' or give a counter. But if you're boxed into quoting a figure cold, it's painful to come on board and later find out someone in the company in a similar post is getting much more for the same job. It's also worrisome to think you may have killed your job chances by quoting a figure that's too high.

Before you spout off a number, make sure you've come to the table with some knowledge in hand. If they're playing candidates against one another, then you may find the question one that they are not likely to forget. DO your best to do your research. If you have access to an associate or friend at the firm, ask them as much about salaries as you can. If you know someone in a similar position at a different firm, pick their brain about their job responsibilities and their pay, if they will share it.

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