How to answer ‘what are your salary expectations’ in an email

by Heat Recruitment

Our top tips for crafting your response when asked about salary expectations

Everyone dreads it. You’ve nailed the interview, had any queries answered and built great rapport with your interviewer. Then you’re abruptly stopped in your tracks. They’ve asked you to state your salary expectations. Whether this happens during or after your interview, it’s a difficult question to answer.

Luckily, answering your salary expectations via email is much easier than in person or over the phone. Most importantly, it gives you time to think and conduct some research – then carefully craft your response, without forgetting any of the key points. But no matter how informal your interview was, you should maintain a relatively formal tone and format your email in the same way you would for any professional business email.

Negotiating the numbers

At first it may seem like you’ve only been asked to consider your annual salary, but actually it’s your chance to negotiate your entire compensation package. While your base salary is the most important part, many companies may also offer a commission structure, annual bonuses and a range of employee benefits. All of these should be weighed up before you reply, as you’ve got an ideal opportunity to swing this in your favour.

Rather than giving a specific figure, research similar roles in the same sector and calculate a salary range that’s typical for the position. If you’re able to be flexible, it’s common for there to be a difference of approximately £10,000 between your highest and lowest figure. But if this will be the deciding factor as to whether you accept the job, there’s no harm in being a little more specific. While you may be tempted to ask for a higher salary, it’s best to avoid pushing the boundaries too much as the employer may favour candidates with lower salary expectations. In some cases, the employer may simply be unable to afford to hire you.

Constructing your response

Keep your subject line simple and easily identifiable. Ideally, include your name or the advertised job title and the phrase ‘salary information’. Make sure to address the employer in the same way you have throughout the entire hiring process – and if in doubt, mirror the employer’s own choice of greeting and sign-off. Write a sentence or two thanking the employer for the opportunity to meet them – if applicable – then swiftly launch into the main body of the email.

In the second paragraph of your email, state your ideal salary expectations and a few words about why you think it’s appropriate. This can either be as simple as ‘based on my six years of experience in…’ or something more specific to the role. There’s no need to add unnecessary information here, so keep it brief. Simply sign off with ‘yours sincerely’ or your preferred closing, then spell-check your email before finally pressing ‘send’.

To benchmark your salary expectations check out the Heat Recruitment Salary Survey.

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