Career Center

How to Discuss Your Salary Expectations in a Job Interview

A potential employer will ask about your desired salary during an interview because they want to know if it fits within the budget they have set for the role. In other words, they are deciding whether to spend more time with you or move on to a different - and potentially cheaper - candidate before they begin the hiring process.


In addition, this question is a great way for the hiring manager to learn how much you value yourself in this position. You may be asked to provide a low number without researching what someone in your field with your level of experience actually earns.


While on the job search, you may make the mistake of believing you make the average salary for someone like you when it is possible that you make a much higher or lower salary than the rest of the market. A business may offer you a lower salary if you go into the interview without doing the necessary research, which means you may get a job offer, but you won't earn as much money as you could otherwise.

It is necessary to conduct some research in order to determine a competitive salary range for a given job. There are a few ways to pinpoint a salary range:


  • You can find a number of websites and other online tools that offer pay scales for various jobs on the web. If you live in the city where you work, you can do an online search for jobs with similar titles. The low end and the high end of your market value can be determined as a good way to determine what you should earn.

  • Utilize professional networking sites to connect with people. Find people with titles similar to your potential role who work at the company you are interviewing with. In order to get an idea of how much the role pays, you can ask them nicely. Then everyone likes to talk about their salary information or salary history, but some might be honest about it.

  • Interviewers are the best people to ask questions to. In addition to asking the interviewer about the salary scale, you can also ask about the salary range. If you're concerned asking questions during the interview may seem rude, you can ask them before the interview. If you ask politely, they should give you an answer as long as you ask nicely. After all, their motivations are the same as yours: They don't want to waste their time if the number will make them or the other party uncomfortable.

  1. Don't be vague about what you want. Prepare yourself for the interview process by knowing your minimum - the lowest compensation you will accept. Now you have your baseline response, but in an ideal world you would give the questioner a range of answers. If you want to make $65,000 a year, for instance. Your salary goals are $65,000 to $75,000 per year. If they can go as low as you want anyway, then you get what you want.

  2. Choose numbers that are satisfying to you. No matter if you went to the interview at the behest of a recruiter or if you were desperate to leave your current job, there has to be a specific number that would prompt you to take the leap. For example, let's say you love your current job and make $35,000 per year. If you were to take a new position, you would be paying $55,000 per year for the same basic things you do now. To determine whether you would leave a job you love for a pay increase of $20,000, you would have to decide whether the money is worth leaving.

  3. It is important that you know what you are doing. The experience you have makes a big difference, particularly in your annual salary, no matter whether you are switching careers or have been in the game for 20 years. An organization is willing to pay more for someone who knows their industry well or is particularly good at what they do.

  4. Compensation should be considered in all forms. Depending on the role, the base salary may not be the only determining factor. If you need to relocate, the cost of living may be different and should be considered. An entrepreneur may have stock options in a startup company. You may be able to purchase shares from an established public company. It is possible for smaller companies to offer very attractive health insurance plans. Consider your total compensation package and the perks it offers instead of just looking at your salary requirements. It's true that some things are more intangible than others, but look at the total value in your eyes. In exchange for a perk you find satisfying, you might be willing to reduce your base salary.

  5. Let's put it off. If you do not wish to answer questions about your salary, you can choose not to. You shouldn't be rude, but explain your motivations: if working at the right company is more important to you than the salary, you can say so. If the healthcare plan, stock options, or other benefits outweigh the base compensation, explain that as well. In that case, you can use positive phrasing and state that moving forward is more important than the numbers to explain why you're looking for a new job.