How to Answer, “What Are Your Salary Expectations?”

What Are Your Salary Expectations?

At some point during your interview, the recruiter is likely to ask you, “What are your salary expectations?” This question is tricky, and preparing an answer that won’t put your candidacy in danger takes time. You don’t want to aim too high, but you also want to avoid selling yourself short and end up not getting paid as much as you could or should be making. However, being prepared is essential to success, and by following the tips below, you can quickly create a compelling answer.

This question may also be stated as: What do you expect to be paid? What are your salary requirements? or What are your salary expectations for this role?

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Why do employers ask about salary expectations?

Employers have various reasons for asking about your salary expectations. First, they want to see whether your expectations fall within the budget. This may seem harsh, but it saves both sides precious time. If you state a number or a range that’s out of their budget, they will be able to move on to the next candidate. Similarly, you can continue your search for a job with your desired salary.

Recruiters might also ask this question to gauge whether you have done your research and know your value.

Either way, your answer gives away a lot more than your desired salary. It also helps the recruiter see if you’re a good fit, as salaries usually align with experience and skill.

How to answer “What are your salary expectations?”

You have a few strategies to choose from when preparing your response to this interview question. A good answer doesn’t threaten your chances of getting the job but still gives the employer a clear idea of your expectations. Here are some tips on how to effectively present your salary expectations during an interview:

1. Do your research

To make sure that your answer is not out of bounds, research the salaries for the position you are applying to. Because many employers don’t publish any salary information, you may need to dig deeper than their website. Thankfully, countless sites offer salary information based on seniority and location. For instance, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, or PayScale all provide salary estimates for thousands of positions. Consider these averages a starting point for your answer. Remember to not only look at the national but also the local average salary if this information is available. Also, factor in your experience, education, and unique skills, as these could all bump up your expected salary range.

2. Ask for more details and benefits

The number on your payslip isn’t the only thing you should care about when thinking about your salary expectations. If you want to make a well-informed decision, don’t be afraid to ask about the details and perks of the position. For example, if you prefer working from home, you might be willing to accept a lower salary if you can work remotely. Think about the benefits you would appreciate in a job and how much they are worth. Then, craft your answer based on these extra details.

3. Choose a salary range

Without a doubt, providing a salary range is the best way to answer this daunting question. This shows that you’re flexible and willing to work towards an answer that will suit both you and your future employer. Additionally, giving a range that is relevant for the position and your experience proves that you did your research. When setting your expected salary range, aim for the mid-to-high point of the amount you’re looking for. That way, even if you receive a salary that’s on the lower end of your range, you won’t feel disappointed.

Example answers for “What are your salary expectations?”

Here are some example answers to help you get started while you research and decide on your salary expectations.

Example 1: How to answer "What are your salary expectations" at entry-level positions?

Firstly, let me say again how much I appreciate the benefits of this job and the flexibility. With that said, I would expect my salary in this position to be between $30,000 and $35,000 per year. I believe this reflects my education in and understanding of the field. However, I am flexible and open to learning about the company's compensation expectations.
Example 2: How to answer "What are your salary expectations" at senior-level positions?

Thank you for asking. My baseline annual salary expectation is $89,000. I feel that this aligns with the industry average in this area and matches my skill set, experience, and the value I can bring to the company.

What should you avoid when talking about salary expectations?

Don’give a set amount.

You should never give a set amount without any room for negotiation. Not only does this make you look uncooperative, but it also leaves no room for you to negotiate the salary in your favor.

Don’t aim too high.

Avoid asking for a salary that is entirely out of the relevant range. You can easily price yourself out of a job by doing this and appear like you did little to no research. Also, avoid being rude or negative if you’re offered a salary that seems too low. Instead, stay positive and professional and do your best to negotiate.

Having a data-backed, well-prepared answer is the best way to ensure you’re not undercutting yourself or aiming too high. Remember that your answer reveals if your expectations align with the company’s budget and how much you value your skills and expertise. So, make sure to prepare ahead of time and give an informed, honest answer and reflect your value as an employee.

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