Recently I received several applications for an administrative assistant position and the applicants indicated their desired salary was $10 an hour.  Even our lower level administrative assistant positions pay more than that.  I know salary can be a touchy subject and right now good jobs are difficult to come by.  However, when I receive an application that asks for $10 an hour for a position that carries significant responsibility within the hospital, I question if the person is serious about the job, if they don't know what an administrative assistant position pays, or if they lack so much confidence in their ability that they hope we will hire them at that rate.  The bottom line is that you should ask for a salary that is commensurate with your experience and that is within the range of what that kind of job is paying in the area. 

There are several excellent websites which can tell you what various jobs pay.  The United State Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (http://www.bls.gov/) give detailed descriptions and wage estimates for numerous jobs.  You can also try Salary.com (http://www.salary.com/), Jobnob.com (http://www.jobnot.com/), or Payscale.com (http://www.payscale.com/). 

When I interview a candidate for a position, one of the last things I ask is what kind of salary they want.  This is the time for the candidate to tell me what salary it will take if we make an offer.  It is a good final opportunity for them to sell me on their skills and abilities.  Even though the candidate has noted it on their application, I want them to give me a figure during the interview.  If they are hesitant to mention a figure, I give them a range.  This way we are all on the same page as we work through the interview process.  Above all, be honest when talking about salary.  No one is happy if an offer is made and ultimately turned down because of money or worse yet, a new employee is unhappy with their salary and is constantly looking for new opportunities. 

If an offer is is made, and you are disappointed in the offer, it is certainly appropriate for you to counter offer.  We take very seriously the offers we make to candidates and give internal equity and your experience a great deal of thought.  However, you can make a counter offer if you believe that the compensation we are offering is too low.  Keep in mind that the counter might be rejected, and you will have to make a decision to accept or not accept at the orginally offered salary.