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How To Answer Salary Expectations

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Salary is an important part of a job, and it raises based on both the experience of the candidate and the ranking of the job itself.

However, when you apply to a job, the interviewers can often ask what you expect the salary to be.

This can be a difficult question, because money can be a sensitive issue.

You may feel pressure being put on the spot, and worry that if you say a number that’s too high then you may put the employer off. 

Therefore, you need to have an idea of what an accurate salary should be, based on the role and your experience.

But how can you do this?

Well, we have the answers for you.

In our guide below, you’ll find all about how to prepare for an interview question on your salary expectations, along with details of how to determine the best figure in advance.

Read on!

Why Do Employers Ask About Your Salary Expectations?

There can be a few reasons why the interviewer is asking you this seemingly tricky question.

For one, they may be trying to figure out your experience, and whether you’re at the right level that they need for the position that you’re applying for.

If you give an answer that’s in line with what the company expects, you likely have – and understand – the experience required of the role. If you answer too highly, though, the job may be beneath you.

And if you answer too low?

Then you may be used to a lower salary and not have the experience required of the job.

Your answer can also be an indication of how well you evaluate yourself.

A job is a two way experience: the company benefits from having you, and you benefit from having the company.

Your salary expectation can show how much you know you’re worth to a company, and how much you know that your skills are going to help their own income.

Experience factors into this too, as well as how long you’ve been in the industry.

Additionally, an employer may simply be asking because they only have a set amount of money assigned to this particular role.

A new hiring means a new yearly paycheck, and a company only has so much money to spend on its employees. 

The employer has spent time working out how much the role should be worth, and this has been factored into how much money they’ve allotted to the prospective role.

If they’ve got it wrong, they may have to go away and budget some more.

Advice On Your Answers

Before we go into the steps that you should follow to give a thorough and well-prepared answer, here are a few things to keep in mind.

We know that getting asked about money can be awkward, and you may feel pressure to undersell yourself just to keep the company happy.

You and your experience deserve a certain amount of money, and you shouldn’t settle for any less just to improve your chances of getting the job. 

Therefore, you need to give out confidence when you state your salary claim.

If you look doubtful, then the employer might think that you don’t believe in the amount of money that you say you’re worth – whereas if you do it confidently, they’ll believe your worth.

Additionally, you’ll want to ask for a bit more than what the average salary for the role typically offers.

This average will often be the lower end, because employers will usually start low.

If you add a bit more and give a tighter salary range, then you should land with the amount that you think you deserve.

However, make sure that you explain to them why you’re worth this amount.

By describing your work experience and skills, tell them how you arrived at your number, and they should agree.

How To Answer Salary Expectations

So, how should you answer their question?

How To Answer Salary Expectations (1)

Salary Ranges

Firstly, you’ll want to give them a range.

Although you can just give them a straight number, this leaves little room for negotiating and raising it.

As a result, it can be wise to give a salary range instead. 

Some employers will go for the lower end of your salary range, though, and this is an important thing to keep in mind – you can use it to your advantage.

If you’re aiming for a salary of $15,000 then you use that as the lower end, giving a range of $15,000 to $20,000.

By putting it at the bottom of the range, you can come out on top with the salary you wanted in the first place.

This is because the employer may often go for the lower end of a given range, rather than the top. 


There are other areas of compensation besides salary, however.

Some companies can offer extra financial benefits in the form of things like stock options in their business, or certain bonuses.

By taking these into account, you can get an income closer to what you want. 

If the company hasn’t put aside enough money to pay your desired salary, you could ask for things like stock options in order to make up for it.

If they want you and your experience, they will gladly do this, instead of losing you to another company. 


You may not have all the details when they ask you, and as such you may not be able to give a properly researched answer.

If this is the case, and you want them to let you know more about the company, its successes, and the role, then postpone the salary conversation to a later conversation. 

Final Thoughts

If an interviewer asks your salary expectations, you now know how to negotiate and demonstrate your worth.

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