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  • Writer's pictureLeah Saiful

How to justify your desired salary

We all know the 20% benchmark is old news, but that doesn’t mean hiring managers will always accept your expected salary without questioning you!

When you’re interviewing for a new role, you’ve got to prepare to answer the dreaded question “What is your expected salary?” and while we’ve taught you how much you should ask for, defending your desired figure can be a whole new task!

Especially in Malaysia, people often struggle when it comes to talking about money. You also run the risk of being underpaid, or even disqualified for the role completely depending on your answer.

So when it comes to justifying your expected salary, be prepared with some of the following tips!

Highlight your skills & experience

It’s important to try to move the conversation away from salary and towards your skills instead, and show the hiring manager that they’re gaining much more than they’d lose. In highlighting your skills and past experience, you’ll need to convince your future employer that the skills you bring to the table are well worth the investment! It’s also helpful to mention any additional certifications you may have, as well as any skills outside the job description that may help your cause.

Know your market value

You may have heard us shout about this before! Your market value is the average salary companies are willing to pay you for your current skill set. If you’re actively applying to roles, you can estimate your market value based on the overall range of salary offers that you’ve already received. In having this information, you’ll be more assured in justifying your desired salary because you’re not the only one who believes you’re worth that amount!

While this is a tactic we recruiters use frequently when negotiating salaries, we don’t recommend you come in hard with this argument from the start. This typically works with strong candidates, as companies know just how hard they are to come by! If you’re going to use this tactic, let them know that you’re actively looking out and have been offered a higher range, and would be grateful if they could match it - especially if they’re your most favourable offer otherwise! It’s important to let them know that you’re keen to join them, but need time to consider if they’re unwilling to raise their price.

Only provide a salary figure you’d be happy with!

This is the most important consideration! Think about your family and financial commitments, as well as the benefits you would need such as medical, dental, optical and so on. You’d also have to think about the location of the office and their working arrangements, to take into account things like travel cost and other additional costs that might creep up from switching work! There’s no point bargaining for a salary that you’d be unlikely to accept in the first place, so start in the higher range and bargain downwards instead!

Need some help understanding what salary range you should be looking at? Check out for updated jobs and salaries across the Klang Valley!

Or even better, speak straight to our recruiters through the chat box below!


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