How to answer “Salary Expectation” questions

How to answer "Salary Expectation" Questions

Why are recruiters asking this?

In an interview it might seem like a casual request, but it’s one of the most important questions to be prepared for!

First you should do your research to understand a typical salary for the role, company, and market. If you decide to give a number, provide a range and be flexible. Salary is usually negotiable. 

So, we advise delaying providing an amount, or requesting the company to provide an amount first. (“Well, I’ve done my research, but I could use some insight from you. What salary range does this position and seniority usually offer in this city?”)

Salary depends on a lot of variables, including the location and the person. In some places it’s illegal to ask about salary history (California) so find a way to tactfully reply if asked in this circumstance. 

Once the offer is made, you can (and really should) consider asking for more. According to MIT, there’s a racial bias in salary offers, and according to staffing firm Randstad, 60% of women have never negotiated their salary. Don’t leave money on the table! 

Checklist for a great answer

  • Do your research to be prepared 
  • Try to avoid giving a specific amount if possible
  • Don’t be afraid to be too high (but be flexible)
  • Once the offer is given you can (and should!) always negotiate

Examples

I’d like to hear what salary range you have for this position. I’m open to discuss so we can find something that works for both of us.
Based on my previous salary, my knowledge of the industry, and my experience in this market, I would imagine a range of $65,000 to 75,000, depending on the package and benefits available.

Other similar questions

  • What are your salary requirements? 
  • Can you discuss your salary history?
  • What are your salary expectations?
Category: Q&A

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