How to answer Salary Expectations the interview question?

How to answer Salary Expectations the interview question

Summary: How to answer salary expectation interview questions? While this question is quite common and tricky to navigate during a job interview with a recruiter which requires careful preparation and negotiation.


When you are applying for a job, one of the questions that you may encounter is “What are your salary expectations?” Navigating this question can be challenging since you aim to highlight your value and potential while also avoiding overpricing or undervaluing yourself in the job market. How can you prepare for this question and give a confident and reasonable answer? In this article, we will provide some tips and strategies on how to answer salary expectations in a job interview.


Why do employers ask about the salary expectation?

Employers often ask about your salary expectations to know the following things:


Budget Compatibility:

Employers often enquire about your salary expectations to gauge if your compensation requirements align with their budget for the position. By asking this question, they aim to avoid wasting time and resources on candidates who are too expensive or too cheap for their needs. Therefore, it is important to do some research on the market rate for your role and industry and give a realistic and reasonable range that reflects your skills and experience.


Why do employers ask about the salary expectation


Salary Expectations and Self-Worth

Employers enquire about your salary expectations not only to assess their budget but also to gauge your understanding of your value in the job market. Demonstrating clarity and confidence in what you believe you deserve and what you can bring to the company is essential. If you provide a figure that is too low or too high, it might suggest that you are undervaluing or overvaluing your worth, potentially impacting your negotiation power and overall credibility. Offering a well-researched and reasonable salary range can enhance your standing as a candidate and positively influence the negotiation process.


Qualification Level & skill Match

Employers ask about salary expectations to assess if you are overqualified. Proposing a much higher salary may raise concerns about job satisfaction. Explain your genuine interest, aligning with career goals, and show flexibility to address these concerns and improve your chances of getting the job.


How to negotiate in different situations with Examples

There are different ways to answer the salary expectations question, depending on your situation and preference. Here are some examples:


Situation 1: If you want to deflect the question until you learn more about the position, you could say:


Example: "Before I provide my answer, I'd like to enquire about additional details regarding the role. Understanding the position better will enable me to offer a more informed and appropriate salary expectation."


How to negotiate in different situations with Examples


Situation 2: If you want to discuss your total compensation, including benefits and rewards, you could say:


Example: "My ideal package would encompass a competitive salary, along with comprehensive benefits such as health insurance, a retirement plan, and paid time off. From my research, I've found that the market range for this position falls between $50,000 and $60,000 per year."


Situation 3: If you want to provide a salary range instead of a specific number, you could say:


Example: I am adaptable and open to discussing the details, but considering my skills and experience, I am aiming for a salary ranging from $55,000 to $65,000 per year.


Tips on How to respond to salary requirements questions

When applying for a job, you may be asked to provide your salary expectations either before or after the interview. This is a common but tricky question that you need to prepare and negotiate well. Here are some tips on how to answer the expected salary question.


Tips on How to respond to salary requirements questions


  • Research the market and salary trends: Before you write your cover letter, you should do some research on the average salary range for the position and the location you are applying for. You can use online tools such as Glassdoor or PayScale to get an idea of what other people in similar roles are earning.
  • Delay discussing numbers: Unless the employer specifically asks for your salary requirements in the cover letter, it is better to avoid mentioning any numbers until you get an interview, or a job offer. This way, you can focus on highlighting your skills and qualifications, and avoid limiting your negotiation options.
  • Offer a salary range: If you must state your salary expectations in the cover letter, you should provide a realistic and flexible range based on your research and your current or previous salary. You should also indicate that you are open to discussing the compensation package in more detail later.
  • Make it negotiable: Candidates should avoid stating a specific number in your resume unless the employer requires it. Instead, you can use words such as “negotiable” or “competitive” to show that you are open to discussion.
  • Emphasise your flexibility: Another way to express your salary expectations in your resume is to emphasise that you are flexible and adaptable to different situations. You can also mention other factors that influence your decision, such as benefits, work environment, or growth opportunities.


How to answer salary requirements in email


Write a brief and clear subject line.

The subject line should be concise and relevant. You should use some identifier so that the person can easily locate the email when they search for it.


For example, the subject line could be something like, “Garrett Anthony - Salary expectations.


Mention your salary expectations and why you deserve it.

The second paragraph should state your salary expectations. Make sure to support the number with a few sentences emphasising your education or experience. This will increase the chances of you getting the salary that you want. In the second paragraph, you can express, "Considering my 5 years of experience, I find a fair range for compensation would be between $50,000 to $65,000."


Examples on How to respond to salary requirements questions


Example 1: Expected salary in online application or a cover letter

“Based on my research and experience, I am looking for a salary range of $50,000 to $60,000 for this position. However, I am open to discussing the details of the compensation package with you.”


Example 2: Expected salary asked in an initial phone screening or email

“I appreciate your interest in my qualifications. I would prefer to learn more about the role and the company before discussing salary expectations. Could we revisit this question later in the process?”


Example 3: Expected salary asked in a face-to-face interview or a final offer stage

"Thank you for considering me for this opportunity. I am enthusiastic about the possibility of working together. Based on the information I have gathered; I believe a fair and competitive salary range for this role is $70,000 to $80,000. However, I am willing to negotiate depending on the overall compensation package and the scope of the responsibilities.”



Addressing salary expectations requires preparation and negotiation. Research the market, delay specific numbers until interviews, and provide a flexible range. Use terms like "negotiable" in emails. Tailor responses based on the application stage, emphasising qualifications and openness to discussion. Balance confidence and flexibility for a satisfactory compensation package aligned with your goals.

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