How to Answer The Interview Question, “What Are Your Salary Expectations”

salary expectation interview questions
Created by CakeResume

Salary negotiation is one of the most crucial yet difficult topics to tackle in an interview. When asked about their salary expectations, the candidate’s answers carry such weight that they can easily determine the result of the interview. In this article, you will find out the best tips for answering interview questions about salary expectations.

Why Does the Interviewer Ask about Your Salary Expectations?

Whether the questions about your salary expectations come up in the initial screening or in the face-to-face interview, the interviewer usually uses them to evaluate the following:

❗️ Budget Evaluation

The main reason why hiring managers ask salary expectation questions is to evaluate whether the company’s budget for the role is in line with the service that you would provide and if that budget needs further adjustment.

❗️ Self-Assessment 

Candidates’ assessment of their professionalism reflects greatly their experiences and understanding of the industry standard, which are important factors hiring managers often take into consideration when they ask candidates salary expectation questions.

❗️ Seniority Check ­

A candidate’s salary expectation serves as an indicator of their seniority. A compensation expectation that is too low, might suggest that your experience is under the required standard, while an expectation that is too high suggests otherwise.

What Makes Salary Expectation Questions Difficult to Answer?

The most obvious factor is the fact that the candidate’s answer will directly affect either their compensation or their chance of moving on to the next stage of the interview. If the expectation is too low, your financial needs might not be met, while a pricey expectation might cost you potential employment. Therefore, strategies are necessary to tackle these questions.

How to Answer “What Is Your Expected Salary”

1. Research the Role and the Market

Before the submission of your application, make sure to research the average salary of the position and the skills that the position entails. Using these references, you will be able to find reasonable compensation expectations.

2. Calculate Your Expenses 

After studying the market standard, it is time to put yourself in the calculation of your salary expectation. Factors, such as relocation costs or other expenses incurred in the acceptance of the job, are parameters that you should consider in the calculation of your salary expectation.

3. Determine a Salary Range 

Instead of giving several set numbers of your compensation expectations, set a tight range where your ideal salary sits in the middle. If you expect to receive 70,000 in your compensation, then your range can be around 68,000 to 75,000.

4. Be Open to Other Kinds of Compensation 

Some positions might fail to meet your salary expectations, but it can turn out to be a better deal for you if you consider other compensation details than just the paycheck. Other benefits, like health care and equity options, should be taken into consideration as well.

5. Explain Your Reasoning 

In addition to your expectation range, back up that number with convincing reasons. By delineating how each of your skills and experience translates to your salary expectation, you show that you are well-informed of the responsibilities required and your expectation can seem more justified.

6. Be Honest

The salary expectation questions usually come with other questions that have to do with your experience and even your previous compensations. Always be truthful in answering these questions, as fabricated responses are extremely detrimental to your own professional career.

7. State That You Are Flexible

Let the hiring manager know that you are flexible on your terms, where such flexibility might save you from pricing yourself out from the initial interview.

Expected Salaries on Application

Candidates might be required to answer the salary expectation question upon the submission of their application. Although candidates can sometimes choose to leave out the answer and delay the discussion to the interview, there are scenarios where it is mandatory to provide such information as it might be part of the standard procedure. 

Therefore, we have included two example answers to help you answer this type of question on your job application. The first answer deflects the question for a later discussion in the interview, while the second salary expectation example answer is more straightforward.

Salary Expectation Answer 1

“With my immense interest in the position, I would love to further discuss the role, its tasks and responsibilities. I am looking forward to continuing our conversation on the position itself and how I would contribute in that role before we can draw a conclusion on what my salary expectation should be in the later interview.”

Salary Expectation Answer 2

“The range of my expected salary would be between [Salary Expectation Range]. The range is determined by the average salary of the position, the cost of living in the city, and the relocation cost that I will have to incur. Given the provided range, I remain flexible on my terms as I would like to discuss further the role and other benefits that your company provides.”

Answer Expected Salary in Email

You might also be asked about your compensation expectations in emails by the HR or hiring manager. In this scenario, a straightforward response would be the best strategy to adapt.

The following email is an example answer which candidates can use as a reference when they find themselves in a situation where they need to write an email response to answer the salary expectation questions.

✉️ Salary Expectations Answer (Email Example)

Jamie Clarkson
[email protected]           

April 1st, 2022

Donna Ferrucci
Human Resource Manager
Daily Mission Inc.
2 East Purple Finch Street
Houston, TX 77065                       

Dear Ms. Ferrucci,

I want to first thank you and Daily Mission for the consideration of my resume and this incredible opportunity to discuss this role offered by your company. With my years of experience in the industry, I believe I will bring a significant contribution to your company.

As to the question regarding my compensation expectation, I believe the compensation range between [Salary Expectation Range] will be a fair one taking into account my portfolio, the median salary of the position, and other costs of living. However, I am flexible and open to discussion since I also take into consideration the growing potential. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me for any questions or further information. I really look forward to hearing from your institution, and, again, thank you very much for the email and this exhilarating news.

Jamie Clarkson

Best Answer for Salary Expectation in an Interview

Despite being one of the most common questions asked in an interview, salary expectation questions might be tricky if the candidates come underprepared. To ensure a successful interview, pre-interview research and preparation should always be done specifically for any potential interview. The following three examples should give you some ideas to work with.

🗣️ Salary Expectations Answer 1

“Although I would like to learn more about the description and the responsibility that the job entails, I do know jobs that are similar to this position, are compensated with the salary range sitting between [Salary Expectation Range].

Therefore, with respect to my experience and skills in the field, I expect to receive compensation ranging from [Salary Expectation Range].”

🗣️ Salary Expectations Answer 2

“My ideal compensation sits between [Salary Expectation Range], and I came to this conclusion after taking into account the industry average and my skills and experience in the field.

However, I am extremely flexible on that number, and I would love to learn more about the company’s expectations for the position as well before I would confirm that price range.”

🗣️ Salary Expectations Answer 3

“My salary expectation is flexible. Although I do take into consideration my experience and the industry standard, I am open to a wide range of compensation plans. Therefore, I look forward to further discussing the specification and description of the job, and we can then draw the conclusion of a fair salary for this position.”

🔑 Key Takeaways

Salary expectation questions can seem tricky, but with the right strategies and practices, you should be able to answer them with confidence. By using the tips and examples above you can now prepare for this type of question with ease. Here is a summary of dos-and-don’ts that we derived from this article.

•   Research Beforehand – Knowing the average of other similar jobs in the industry, gives you an upper hand in the negotiation of your compensation.

•   Offer a Range Instead of a Number – Flexibility is an important factor in play when candidates are answering this type of question. By offering a range of your salary expectation, you are letting the company know that you are open to further negotiation.

•   Be Reasonable – The reason why pre-interview research is important for preparing salary expectation questions, is to avoid pricing yourself out of the position before the interview even ends.

•   Postpone the Conversation –Except for scenarios where candidates are required to provide their salary expectations, candidates can postpone the salary discussion by deflecting the question. This can win you some time if you need to first learn more about the job description and its responsibilities. 

With CakeResume, you can easily create a resume online, free download your resume in PDF, and utilize ATS-compliant templates to create a resume. Build your resume online (free download) now and land your dream job!

--- Originally written by Jim Mao ---

Resume Builder

Build your resume only in minutes!