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Best answers to “What are your salary expectations?”

salary expectations

Everyone should be honest during a job interview, but it seems hard to do so when you are asked about salary expectations. It’s a tricky question and it’s important to prepare a good and professional answer, that won’t prevent you from earning what you expect/are supposed to. Companies usually tend to ask that question to understand if they can afford you, how you value your work and if you have negotiation skills, which is very important in some fields, such as Sales. You need to know what to say when you’ll be asked “What are your salary expectations?”. The key point is to make them want you before talking about expected salary. Let’s find out how to handle this delicate situation. It’s better to avoid this question in the first stages of the interview process. However, give a range according to the market’s average if you have to tell a number or write it in a job application. Here’s how to answer the salary question:

  1. Don’t answer it during the first or second job interview; it can be bad for you and affect the rest of the conversation. Don’t let it label you and give a generic answer, like “At the moment I am more interested in the role, my tasks and responsibilities. I would like to understand if this is a good fit for my skills, rather than focus on a number. I am sure you will offer a competitive salary compared to what’s offering the market right now”. This way, they will understand that you do value your abilities and don’t want to sell yourself short. You won’t look desperate and they will probably offer you a good salary. You’ll also have more time to impress them and convince them you are the right candidate.
  2. Do your research. Look up for average salaries for your profession and experience, so that you are prepared if you have to give a number. If that’s the case, don’t go too high or too low and include “according to my knowledge” so that your answer doesn’t sound like “this is what I want”. So when you are asked “What are your salary expectations?” you can say something like “From my researches and knowledge of the market, I believe that 50-70k per year is the medium salary for this role and years of experience.
  3. Avoid comparison to your current or previous job. Hiring managers will offer you around 10% more than your actual salary in order to be appealing. However, it’s possible you are underpaid or overpaid (and I think you are aware of it). If your current salary is low, they might think you don’t deserve any better. Therefore, I suggest to avoid answering directly to this question and go for something like “I would like to determine with you a fair salary for this position, since my current role is pretty different and I wouldn’t compare them”.

When considering a job offer, don’t focus solely on the salary. There are many other factors to keep in mind, such as bonuses, benefits, flexible working hours, etc. Remember that the “what are your salary expectations” question can cost you a job or a lot of money, make sure you know how to handle it.

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