How to Handle the Salary Question on an Application

One of the most difficult questions to answer (especially prior to an interview) is your salary requirement. There has been a significant increase in the number of online applications that are asking for this information. Obviously, if your salary requirement is too high you are screened out because you are over the salary range. If the salary you list is too low, you could be screened out for not being a strong enough contender or it could result in a low ball salary offer.

The question comes up… do you have to answer this question on an online application form? The answer is Yes if you want to be considered (if the field is mandatory not optional). If you do not answer the question, you could be automatically screened out.

There is something else you may consider doing… you could enter $1.00 or $100.00 which will allow you to complete the remainder of the online application. The person who receives this information will realize that this is obviously not want you are requesting, but it will project the fact that you are “negotiable” or “open” since you didn’t list a specific amount. Most employers I’ve quizzed about this possibility agreed that they would want to talk further with this candidate and would not screen them out because the figure listed is not what they would accept.

Nothing works 100% of the time, but at least this will allow you to complete the application form without having to quote an exact number. Most employers have a salary range.  If you ace the interview, they can go toward the top of their range. If they feel you need additional training, they may decide to go to the lower end of their salary range. Offers always depend on your ability to interview. This idea will increase your chances of booking more interviews from online applications.

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