I always find the candidates coming for job interview failed to provide a satisfactory answer to justify their expected salary.
The answer they gave often related to their personal needs, such as:
- I come from outstation and need to cover my expenses.
- I have parents, siblings and my own family to take care of.
- I need to repay my car loan, house loan, etc.
- and so on...
Candidates have to bear in mind that the company you are applying for the job is most unlikely a charity organization which give you the job because they want to take care of your personal needs. Normally they give you the job because you are suitable to fill in the job vacancy offerred by them.
It might be a true situation that you need that much money to support for your living, and there is nothing wrong with it. However, you just can't use that as a justification to your expected salary, because your answer doesn't view from the employer's perspective.
Therefore, when you are asked to justify for your expected salary, your line of thinking should go towards what are the values in you that the company is most probably looking for. What are the things that make you outstanding from the other candidates (your competitors)?
The following are points that can be used for your answer:
1. Your education background
- Are you graduate from a renown university well recognised for its academic competency?
- Do you possess a well recognised double major, a master degree, a PhD, etc.?
- Do you score above average in your exams?
- Are you a leader in your school's extra-curricula activities?
- Are you a winner in contests, competitions, sports, etc.?
2. Your job related certifications
- Have you obtained any certifications related to the job that you apply for? Such as CCNP, CISSP, LPI, etc.
3. Your professional membership status
- Do you have any membership in professional bodies? Such as IEEE, BEM, ACCA, etc.
4. Your working experiences
- Have you involved in international projects?
- Have you handled big projects?
- Have you been in a leadership position?
- Have you worked for famous organisation(s)?
- Have you organised major events?
- Do you have vast exposure in multiple disciplines?
- Do you have any achievements that you are always proud of?
5. Your special skillsets that is useful for the job you apply
- Do you master multilingual, including major non-English languages such as Chinese, Japanese, etc.
- Can you speak in dialects that might be in use in the job environment? Especially for customer facing roles such as sales, customer service, marketing, etc.
- Are you good in public speaking?
- Are you good in performing presentation?
- Are you good in problem solving? (Eg. do you have hobby in chess, sudoku, strategic computer games, etc.?)
- Are you well computer literate?
6. Testimonials from others
- What did your professor (especially thesis supervisor) commented about you?
- What did your current and previous bosses commented about you?
- Did you obtain any letter of appreciation from your customers?
- Who are your referees? Are they a famous person in their profession? Are they publicly well-known? Do they have special title such as Datuk, Tan Sri, PJK, AMN, etc.?
7. Other recognations
- Have you written book(s)?
- Did you contribute articles to publications and/or journals?
- Have you been invited to give talks in seminars or events?
- Have you obtained recognition status such as "employee of the year", "top sales", etc. from your previous/current company?
- Have you been positively reported in the newspaper, magazine, etc.
So, during a salary negotiation, you should show your worthiness based on your values which you think are likely to be appreciated by the company, especially those that have direct positive impacts to the job vacancy you applied for. You should try to convince the employer why they have to employ you and pay you the amount you ask for, despite there might be other candidates (your competitors) asking for less.
A good employer will most probably give you what you asked for, as long as you can justify it, and the amount is within their budget. Sometimes, they will possibly frankly tell you that they cannot affort your expected salary, and you should not feel disappointed about that. What you should do is to look for employer with better financial strength, and more willing to pay for good employee like you.