How To Answer “What Are Your Salary Expectations?” in an Interview

Image of a woman with long dark hair and wearing a white blouse smiling and reaching across a table to shake hands with another person to symbolize answering what are your salary expectations in an interview

During job interviews, discussing salary can be one of the most crucial yet nerve-wracking aspects.

According to a survey by Glassdoor, nearly 60% of job seekers avoid discussing salary altogether, which can lead to misunderstandings and unmet expectations.

Effectively discussing your salary expectations ensures mutual agreement and satisfaction, paving the way for a smoother hiring process.

Why do employers ask the salary expectation question?

Employers ask about salary expectations to determine whether they can afford you and whether your expectations align with their budget.

It also helps them gauge whether you value your skills and experience appropriately and if there’s a potential fit regarding compensation.

Preparing to answer “What are your salary expectations?” for an interview

Preparing to answer “What are your salary expectations?” for an interview involves research, knowing your worth, practice, and knowing when to bring it up.

Research salary ranges

Before you attend any interview, it’s essential to research industry standards, company salary ranges, and the geographic cost of living.

This research will give you a solid understanding of the typical salary ranges for your job title and experience level.

Utilize reputable sources such as Glassdoor, Payscale, and LinkedIn Salary Insights to gather accurate information.

Know your worth

Understanding your value based on your skills, experience, and qualifications is crucial in setting salary expectations.

Reflect on your previous salary, taking into account any unique skills you bring to the table and your track record of success in your field.

Armed with this knowledge, you will be better equipped to establish a realistic and fair salary range that aligns with your worth.

Practice how to answer “What are your salary expecations?”

Discussing salary expectations can significantly boost your confidence and mitigate anxiety.

By role-playing various scenarios with a friend, career coach, or mentor, you can become more comfortable navigating these conversations.

This thorough preparation will enable you to handle awkward questions adeptly and confidently present your salary figure.

Know when to bring it up salary expectations

Timing is key when discussing salary. Ideally, wait until the second interview or when the hiring manager brings it up.

Bringing up salary too early in the interview process can be off-putting and may give the impression that you are more interested in the pay than the role itself.

Ensure you have established your value before discussing compensation expectations.

How to answer “What are your salary expectations?” in an interview

How to answer “What are your salary expectations?” in an interview includes being direct but tactful, using a salary range, justifying your range, and communicating beyond salary.

Be direct but tactful about salary expectations

When asked about your salary expectations, be clear and direct while maintaining a respectful tone.

Avoid being vague, but also ensure your response is professional and considerate of the company’s budget constraints.

Use a salary range for salary expectations

Providing a salary range rather than a specific number allows for negotiation flexibility.

For example, you might say, “Based on my research and experience, I am looking for a competitive salary in the range of $70,000 to $80,000.”

Justify your salary expectations

Justify your salary expectations with a blend of thorough research, unique skills, and extensive experience.

Elaborate on how your level of experience and notable past accomplishments substantiate the salary range you are requesting.

This detailed justification demonstrates that your salary figure is not arbitrary but carefully considered and well-founded.

Communicate beyond salary expectation

Remember to consider and communicate other aspects of the compensation package.

Benefits and perks like health insurance, vacation days, and stock options can significantly impact your overall satisfaction.

Additionally, professional development opportunities such as training programs, conferences, tuition reimbursement, work-life balance options like flexible working hours, remote work options, and growth opportunities are essential components to address.

Responding to employer offers and counteroffers

Responding to employer offers and counteroffers involves evaluating the offer, negotiation techniques, handling counter offers and low offers, and dealing with rejection.

Evaluating the offer

When you receive an offer, evaluate it by considering the base salary, benefits, bonuses, and other forms of compensation.

A thorough evaluation ensures that you understand the entire compensation package.

Negotiation techniques

Use effective negotiation techniques to advocate for a higher salary or better terms. Highlight your value, be prepared to compromise, and maintain a professional demeanor.

Successful salary negotiations often involve finding a balance between your expectations and the company’s budget.

Handling counteroffers and low offers

If you receive a counteroffer or a low offer, respond respectfully and constructively.

Explain why you believe your requested range is justified and be open to further negotiation.

Sometimes, accepting a lower offer may be appropriate if it includes significant growth opportunities or other valuable perks.

Dealing with rejection

If your salary expectations cannot be met, handle the situation gracefully.

Thank the employer for their time and consider whether the role aligns with your long-term goals and career growth.

Sometimes, it might be best to move on and find a position that meets your needs.

Sample answers for “What are your salary expectations?” in an interview

Sample Answer 1

“Based on my research and experience in this industry, I am seeking a competitive salary in the range of $80,000 to $90,000. I believe this range reflects my skills and the value I can bring to your team.”

Sample Answer 2

“Given the responsibilities of this role and my background in similar positions, I am looking for a salary range of $60,000 to $70,000. This range is in line with industry standards and my level of experience.”

Sample Answer 3

“My expected salary is in the range of $75,000 to $85,000, based on my expertise and the research I have conducted on average salaries for this position in our region.”

Interview answer template for “What are your salary expectations?”

“Based on my research and experience in [relevant industry/field], I am seeking a competitive salary in the range of [$X,000] to [$Y,000].

I believe this range reflects my skills, particularly in [specific skill or qualification], and the value I can bring to your team.

Additionally, my background in [past roles or experiences] supports this range, aligning with industry standards and the responsibilities of this role.”

Answering “What are your salary expectations?” in an interview

In conclusion, defining your salary expectations is crucial in ensuring you and your potential employer are on the same page.

Preparing thoroughly and approaching salary discussions confidently and professionally can make a significant difference.

Remember, fair compensation is key to job satisfaction and career growth.

Share your experiences or definitions of success in the comments or engage with us on social media to continue the conversation.

Looking for your next gig? Let us help. 

Every year, Mondo helps over 2,000 candidates find jobs they love.

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