It’s vital to your facility to employ the best and brightest nurses. This adds to the quality of care you’re able to provide patients, and boosts your facility’s reputation. The interview process is your time to get to know the employees you may be spending 40-plus hours per week with better. So you’ll want to be choosy — and you can uncover nurses you may wish to eliminate from the candidate pool with one key question.
“What is your desired salary?”
Employers commonly ask this question during the interview process to help assess budgetary needs: Will this nurse fit onto the payroll or not? Also, asking about desired salary can help an interviewer determine more than just dollars. After all, different people work for very different reasons, and placing dollar amounts on duties can help you form a clearer picture of a nurse’s motivation and work ethic.
To help give you context for salary requests, you’ll first want to research what nurses typically make in your area for the same position. This will help you get a ballpark estimate: You’ll want to know the low and high ranges, as well as the average. Then, based on a nurse’s answer to “What is your desired salary?” consider the following:
Unrealistic expectations. When you have a clear idea in your mind of what other nurses make for this position, an expected salary that is inexplicably high will let you know this nurse may expect too much, due to ego or even greed. A nurse with an attitude could be a source of conflict and tension within your team, and may be a hire who is best avoided.
All about the money. A high salary request could also point to a nurse who is in the business for the wrong reasons. The best nursing candidates are passionate about what they do, and want to help others through their care and treatment. But a nurse who is only in it for the money could lack these qualities — caring not for the overall mission of the facility, but only about their own wallet. And hiring this type of candidate could spell trouble in terms of the quality of care your facility is known for.
Desperate for employment. On the other end of the salary spectrum is a nurse who is willing to work for too little compensation. This can be a red flag all its own. An employer must question why the nurse undervalues their skills, or what has happened in the past to make the nurse feel the need to accept anything. It could simply be a lack of confidence, which could be an issue in an occupation that works to instill patients’ hope and trust. Or the nurse may have been let go from past positions. Further interview questions can help you understand a nurse’s motivation for a low salary request.
The answer you’re looking for
The best answer to a question about desired salary level is a reasonable one: I would like to make roughly $X annually, which is slightly more than I currently make. This shows that a nursing candidate desires to advance in their career, but is reasonable about salary expectations.