How to Answer the Interview Question: “What are Your Salary Expectations?”

No matter how good a job interview is going, the question regarding one’s salary expectation can make even the most seasoned professionals nervous. “What are your salary expectations?”  This is one interview question capable of raising the heartbeat as salary related questions are one of the most complex interview questions to answer. The major fear professional face is if they quote a salary figure that is “too high”; it might ruin their chances of getting the opportunity, as the interviewer would prefer a candidate with a reasonable minimum salary expectation. On the other hand, quoting a number “too low” undervalues one’s work, potentially adding to their dissatisfaction at the later stage of the employment.

What are Your Salary Expectations

Hiring managers mostly consider asking the salary question as a screening process to find candidates who meet the company’s salary expectations for a particular job role. They want to know if the company can afford to hire you as well as how you measure your worth. It is tricky yet an important question to answer that can ensure a candidate’s final selection. So, how should you answer the salary expectation question and convey the hiring managers your worth?

Your purpose of answering the salary expectation question should be to discuss a reasonable salary range that not only convinces the hiring manager but also ensures fair compensation for you.


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Tips to Answer the Question about Your Salary Expectations

While there cannot be one standard answer, the following points will help you prepare for a smart discussion regarding your salary expectations:

While there is no framed answer, the following points will help you prepare for a smart salary discussion:


1. Set a range

If you have applied for a job for which you hold several years of experience, it becomes easier to negotiate for a higher salary package. Therefore, when asked the question regarding your salary expectations, put yourself in a salary range that is neither below nor above the industry standards. However, make sure that the lower range is something at which you would actually be satisfied to accept the offer.


2. Research before you decide a range

During a job interview, you need to give a thorough thought before giving your answer and it is the same while answering the question regarding your salary expectations too. A salary decision made without any prior market research makes you look unreasonable and might result in losing the opportunity. Hence, to get your actual worth, research the job title and industry to understand how much your skills are in-demand and what would be a satisfactory compensation package look like for your experience in a particular role.


3. Back it with useful data

Merely stating your expected salary to the hiring manager is not enough. To make your expectation sound reasonable and acceptable for the hiring manager, it is imperative that you present it thoughtfully and share the reasons for quoting a specific salary range with the employer. For instance, a fair description of job market analysis for the position, years of experience and location helps you support your facts. Believe it; companies are always open to offer the best packages provided you could prove your worth to them.


4. Remain flexible

Flexibility is one trait that every employer expects in his future potential employee. Money is vital, but do not be adamant while answering the interview question regarding your salary expectation. Remain flexible and focus on other key factors such as flexible work hours, health benefits, performance bonuses, career prospects, and retirement benefits.

Also Read: Mistakes to Avoid While Negotiating a Pay Check


There may occur certain situations where deciding the right salary become a challenge for you. This particularly happens with job seekers who are looking for a career change or switching industry. When you cannot measure your worth in the new role, sharing your salary expectation while answering the interview question in a smart way might do the trick. For those looking for switching their industry or changing their job role, here is how to the interview question regarding salary expectation:


Sample Answers for Salary Expectation Interview Question


Questions 1: What are you looking for in terms of salary?

Sample Answer: Presently I am looking for a position and work exposure that finds a good fit for my interests and skills. I would accept a competitive salary that best fits the industry standards.

This opens an opportunity for you to get a fair offer from the employer and shows that money is not the only concern for you as you value other key factors also such as career advancement and learning.


Here’s another sample interview question on salary expectations:


Questions 2: Mention a salary below which you will not join

In this dreadful situation, giving a salary range is a safe play as this indicates that you are not adamant and remain open for salary negotiation. There are several online salary guides and tools that can help you calculate your worth and check the salary rate for similar job vacancies. So, your answer could be anything like:

Sample Answer: Based on my past experience and market research, I believe that a range of (xxx) per month would be a suitable number for the job role.

These answers are just a guide to prepare for your final conversation with the employer. You must alter these as per your own requirements based on your expectation, qualification, and experience.

Every job seeker aims high to get a fair and competitive compensation package in his/her new job. However, how you answer the salary question is the deciding factor whether you will get the desired salary package or not. At the same time, surely you would also not want to miss the opportunity just because of an unbalanced salary expectation. Hence, know your worth and be confident enough to ace your interview.


Hope this resource will help you prepare well for job interviews. You can find more interview tips as here:

20 Most Common Interview Questions for Freshers

10 Most Popular Interview Questions Asked by Recruiters


Here are some more commonly asked tricky interview questions apart from the salary expectations question:

How to Answer “What has been your biggest achievement?”

How to Answer “What Motivates You?”

How to Answer “Why do you want to leave your job?”


All the best!


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Categories: Interview Tips

About Megha Raizada

Megha Raizada is a professional writer with a keen interest in the global job market. She loves to keep a track of everything interesting happening around the globe. When not writing or browsing the Internet, you will find her creating furniture out of used tires.

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