How to Answer “What Are Your Salary Expectations?”
Hcareers / MAY 26 2021

What salary are you expecting? It’s a question that as a job seeker you can expect to answer during a job interview. It gives you the opportunity to ask for what you deserve and negotiate with the company if you don’t think they are offering a realistic salary.

Here are some things to keep in mind when answering this question so you are not losing out on what you. should be getting paid. 

What employers are looking for with this question

Depending on the answer you give, they will be able to tell if you really understand the value you bring to the organization through your experiences and skills. It shows you took the time to research and put thought into your job search. 

They also want to make sure that your expectations match what they are able and willing to pay. If their budgeted salary is $55,000 but you tell them you are expecting $100,000, you are either overqualified for the position or unrealistic in what you can bring to the table or what that position salary should be. 

Before the interview 

As mentioned in previous articles, always go into a job interview having done your research on what salary range makes the most sense for that position, company, and your experience and skill level. 

Figure out what your living expenses are, then research what the salary average for the position is. Make sure to take into the years of experience and skills you have. 

If you can, find salaries for that specific company as well to give you a sense of if they generally pay under, above, or equal to average salaries.

Have a range in mind heading into the interview that you would be comfortable with. Keep your range within $5,000-$10,000. If your ideal salary is $45,000, then tell the employer you’d like $45,000-$55,000. 

If you are also open to the option of negotiating benefits and perks instead of salary, prepare those as well. If they are not going to pay your ideal salary, ask them to add in additional paid time off or better benefits.

During the interview

Don’t be the one to bring up salary, especially during the first interview. If you ask about it too early, it will send the wrong message about your priorities for your job search. Salary is extremely important for job seekers, but they also want to see you want more from a position and company than money and you likely won’t stay with a company for long. 

When they ask you what you are looking for in a salary, flip the question on them before answering. Simply ask, “what is your budgeted salary for this position.” This way, you will know where to start your range and you will avoid giving a number that is lower than what they were willing to pay. For example, if your range is $45,000-$55,000 but they say they are offering $55,000 you can say that is great or choose to say $55,000-$60,000. 

Always be confident when answering this question. Show them that you know your worth and although you are open to negotiation you won’t accept less than what you’re worth. Back up your numbers with a short explanation. Tell them what you will bring to the table and how you can add value to the organization.

Example answers to give

“I am looking to receive between $45,000 and $55,000 annually. With my extensive experience and skill set in this department, I feel that this is an appropriate range.” 

“My baseline salary requirement is $55,000. I feel that my experience and skillset can bring a lot to this role and organization. Is this in line with your budget?”

“Thank you for asking. I am wondering what your budget for this position is?” 

“I would like to be between $45,000 and $55,000 annually based on my industry experience and skill set. I am, however, flexible and open to hearing about the company’s budget for this position.”

Remember you can always negotiate a raise if you did not get your ideal starting salary.

Our Personal Fit survey can match you with opportunities that align with your salary requirements as well as your skillset and ideal company culture.