How to Answer Salary Expectations? 3 Useful Tips for Salary Negotiation

how to answer salary expectations

"Salary expectation" is a practical problem that job seekers often encounter in the process of job search. Generally, everyone hopes to get a higher salary. However, in the process of job hunting, salary structure and welfare plans offered by each enterprise varies. As a job seeker, you might get into the bottleneck problem of "not knowing how to negotiate salary with HR" and "not being able to tell which offer is better.”

During interview, how to negotiate a salary offer with HR and answer salary questions without raising antipathy?
What are the important details that should be confirmed to ensure that the job really meets your expectations?
What are the methods to further help you clarify your goals?

1. During interview, it is a good opportunity to communicate.

  • Salary structure
  • During interview with hiring managers, you can inquire in details about salary structure, such as vacation policies, welfare plans, payday, etc. As every job seeker has different priorities, if there is something particular which you concern about regarding salary structure, it is recommended to take this opportunity to clear it up during interview.

    The best time to inquire about or negotiate salary is after sharing your skills and experience. If the interviewer takes the initiative to bring up the topic, then you can further discuss it in details; if the interviewer did not mention salary, but you consider that the interview went well and you have a good chance, you can take the initiative to open the topic.


    When evaluating a salary offer, you should also remember to include external costs you might have to pay, such as transportation and time, so as to fully assess whether the salary offered meets your expectations.

  • Headhunters
  • For job seekers who are uncertain about how to negotiate salary with recruiters, you may as well turn to external assistance during the process of job hunting. For example, headhunters can be a good help. They are likely to help you negotiate for a better salary offer within a reasonable range.  You do not need to worry about leaving bad impression on interviewers as a result of careless mistakes you made during salary negotiation.

    Further reading:  8 Ways to Get a Better Job Fast

    2. Clarifying your thought is crucial.

  • Acceptable range of salary expectations
  • As we all know, for the same job position, salary range offer by each enterprise might vary, and recruiters may not give you a clear amount in the beginning. For such cases, it is better that the job seeker sets an acceptable range of salary expectations at first.

    Having an idea of your acceptable salary range can help you filter out offers with unacceptable terms. Therefore, it can help you accelerate the decision-making process, and select a better offer.

  • Company culture
  • Different companies will have different cultures, such as diverse work environments, peer relationships, decision making process, and etc. If you are unsure about what kind of company culture you are pursuing, or confused about your career path, your past work experience may shed some light in the process of decision.

    If you are deciding between multiple job offers, it is recommended to "jot down" the company culture you care about, for example.


    • Does the company encourage innovation and creativity?
    • Is the work atmosphere vibrant and energetic?

    Besides the cultural aspect, other benefits can also be written down with weighting according to your priority. Compared with thinking and making comparison in mind, writing it down can help job seekers easily see the difference between offers, and thus make judgment more effectively.

  • Advice from others
  • If you met bottleneck when choosing an offer, you can seek relevant advice from reliable relatives, friends and colleagues around you. In addition, your job supervisor and career mentor may also provide you with different perspectives and directions.


    Since anyone can be biased due to their own experience, so these advice can be used as a reference, but not as a guideline.

    3. Not only salary matters, so does company’s potential.

  • Career potential
  • Although salary is an important criterion, companies’ future development potential should also be taken into consideration when choosing an job offer. A company’s development can not only determines your future growth and performance, but also indicate whether the position can have development potential.

    If the salary gap is minor, it is suggested to choose the company or position with better development potential. If you want to make continuous progress in your career, whether the position can help you grow and become more competitive” will be an important aspect for consideration. It may be the company's prospects and goals, or the potential development for the position. Pondering carefully on your future "possibility" within the company can help you make better decisions.

    salary negotiation tips

    At the end of the article, you should pay attention to the following points as a job seeker during salary negotiation with enterprises’ hiring managers:

    1. Do not delay your response carelessly after you make agreements with recruiters on a specific timeline.
    2. During job-offer negotiation process, only give answers that you are certain of; if you are unable to make a decision at the moment, it is recommended not to give hasty answer or promise, which might compromise your credibility.
    3. Take note that how much time it will take to complete the resignation process for your current employment. After that, you can discuss and confirm your work commencement date with recruiters.

    Although these points might seem basic, they might cause big problems when you are not paying close attention.

    Being able to choose among multiple offers indicates that you are qualified and competent. However, choosing the “most suitable” offer is not easy. The suggestions provided above hopefully can do you some help when negotiating a salary offer.

    Further reading:  What to Include in a Portfolio for Interview? 3 Tips to Build a Professional Portfolio Resume

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