What Is Your Salary Expectation Interview Question

How to Answer What Is Your Salary Expectation Interview Question


Job seekers are often asked to answer the dreaded question during the hiring process: what is your salary expectation? In many countries and territories, it is actually deemed unethical (or at least frowned upon) to ask this question, but nevertheless, many candidates will get asked this.

Salary questions can feel incredibly intimidating, leaving you feeling unprepared, underqualified, and overwhelmed. You can take charge of the question by understanding what employers are really asking and comparing quotes from multiple sources.

The good news is that with a few tips and tricks, becoming confident in addressing salary expectations doesn’t have to be stressful. Knowing how to answer the age-old question can actually give you an edge over candidates who offer an upfront number or don’t understand what their value is worth.

In this article, we will walk you through exactly how to respond to What is your salary expectations so that you come across as confident and prepared during job interviews! 

Trust us, it is not as hard as it might seem, so let’s get into the nitty-gritty! 

 Why do hiring managers ask about your salary expectation

“They’re the ones offering the job, so why do they want to know what my expectation is for it?” this question sounds familiar. Well, hold that thought because we have the answer! 

Hiring managers ask about your salary expectations for a few reasons. First, to determine whether your salary expectations align with their budget and the role’s requirements.

Second, to assess how realistically you value yourself in terms of worth in the workplace based on your experience, skillset, and more.

They are likely looking for you and the company team to find a mutually beneficial arrangement in terms of what you can bring to the company and the compensation they offer in return.

Salary expectation questions give you the opportunity to showcase why you deserve top dollar while also making sure that the job is a good fit for both employer and employee financially.

So, onto the tips? 

Find a job you want to apply for 

The first step here when you decide to answer the salary expectation question is to find a job you really want to apply for. This will help you figure out what range of salary you are offered before starting any negotiations.

Researching different job postings and understanding which ones best fit your skillset can give you an idea of how much other people working in similar positions get paid.

In addition, by narrowing down even further and becoming familiar with the company’s financials and internal policies, you can make sure that the expected salary is not too far out of line with what they actually offer.

Knowing the company’s overall financial standing will also help inform you on what kind of benefits they might offer — such as extra vacation days or flexible hours — that could be used as part of your negotiation strategy if needed.

Do your research on the market 

“Why is it important to do research on such a minute detail like this? every job is different and I can just whip out a number I like” This might be some of the commentary running through your head right now but, you might want to hold that though because doing your research on the market in relation to your job description is our second tip for you! 

So, why is it important to do your research on the market?

Well to put it in simple words, you don’t want to quote a salary that’s too low. Lowballing yourself at the start will just leave you feeling undervalued and unappreciated, not what you should go for as a first impression! 

That’s on the one hand, on the other hand, asking for an overly high salary can cost you the job. You might end up looking greedy and overqualified for the position, which is also something your hiring manager would not appreciate! 

This is why doing your research allows you to present a reasonable range for the position’s salary before beginning any negotiations. Once you know what’s out there, you can decide on how much you’d like to make for this job realistically and present that number confidently.

With research, you know exactly what is fair in the market when it comes to wages and this gives you access to better negotiations and paths of self-improvement!

 Give a range instead of a number

When a job interviewer asks you the dreaded “What is your salary expectation” question the best thing to do is to give them a range instead of a specific number. By giving a range, you’ll create room for negotiation when it comes time to finalize the deal, because you would know what the average salary is.

Plus, instead of focusing information on what you want, you can focus the conversation on what value you’ll provide and how it aligns with the company’s goals and objectives. You’d be much better off saying something like:

“I’m sure that we can come to terms that are satisfactory for both parties” then “My desired salary is $50,000”. This will assure you get a fair salary! 

Giving a range gives employers more confidence in their decision to hire you and allows them to process all information about their offer holistically. 

It also prevents people from feeling insulted if their offer falls outside of your expectations and preserves an employer’s impression of you as reasonable and eager to work together on mutually beneficial terms should they proceed with offering you a job.

However, it might be best if you did not mention your current salary, you can talk about your compensation expectations instead whether they are financial or not, perhaps a compensation package. 

Turn the question around or rephrase it

When you are asked the salary expectation question during the interview process, you don’t have to answer it directly. Try turning it around or rephrasing the question. Ask yourself questions like “What kind of salary range am I looking at?” or “What salary range would make me competitive?”.

Taking a few moments to think before responding will give you valuable insight that can help inform your response and set expectations for potential employers.

Asking these types of questions will also show hiring managers that you’re confident in what you bring to their table and value your worth. It’s also smart because you won’t be putting yourself at a disadvantage by quoting too low or too high of a number right away. 

Be authentic and stay true to yourself 

Stay confident in yourself, because no one else can adequately assess what you should expect in terms of compensation — that decision is up to you. Be authentic and stay true to yourself when answering this question!

Do not be afraid to negotiate for a higher salary than their initial offer. May companies will extend their offer as “take it or leave it”, but according to our experience, there is wiggle room even in those offers, maybe not always in terms of monthly/yearly salary but in other benefits like stock options.

It’s important that you don’t let someone dictate your worth; what you are truly worth is up to you! Research the market and know your worth based on the skills and experience you bring, as well as what the job requires.

When it’s time to discuss your salary expectations, be honest and open about your desired compensation package. Don’t overstate or understate what you want; simply state why you think these are fair figures given who you are and what the job entails.

 Show that you are flexible 

This allows you to open up room for negotiations without having to completely commit yourself to a specific number. Being willing to be flexible also communicates that you’re motivated by more than just money, which employers value immensely.

Not only that, but it also implies that you recognize that base salary isn’t everything – there are other negotiation-worthy components in the compensation package including bonuses or stock options. Emphasizing those benefits could get you even further than sticking to one number alone.

Showing that you are flexible is essential when answering the daunting salary expectations interview question. You can simply say that you want to be compensated fairly for your skills and experience, but leave it up to the hiring manager to give you a figure.

Highlight your skills in your negotiation 

An effective way to negotiate your salary is to highlight the skills you bring to the employer. Instead of mentioning a firm number, focus on why these skills would add value and make you worth more than the median salary.

Make sure you’ve prepared an answer that demonstrates how your particular experience can benefit their business. Describe how things will improve once you’re on board and how much money it might save or generate for them in the long run.

For instance, highlight any improvement initiatives you have spearheaded in previous roles or discuss how your design thinking approach has been useful for companies you have worked with. Make sure to paint a picture of success with your words!

Not only will this strategy help increase your chances at receiving a higher salary offer, but also a job offer if they’re still evaluating candidates because it clearly communicates that you understand the job requirements and you’ve got what it takes to be successful!

Bottom Line 

When answering the “What is Your Salary Expectation?” interview question, it is very important to take into account your qualifications, experience level, and value you will bring to the position, along with everything else we mentioned in this article!

Make sure to research the market and offer an informed salary range that aligns with your skillset and is in line with what similar positions are paying. Answering this question confidently and appropriately shows that you have done the research and can negotiate properly for fairer wages! 

Good luck! 

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