What Are Your Salary Expectations? | Important Interview Questions

What are your salary expectations

How do you answer, “What are your salary expectations?” A question you are going to be asked for sure, it’s necessary not to undersell yourself in the name of negotiation.

TRAP: “What are your salary expectations” may also be paraphrased as, “What salary are you worth,” or, “How much are you making now?” You could be undervaluing yourself even after asking for a 100% increment from your existing salary. The interviewer may lure you in the name of the learning curve or intangible perks and bring down the compensation being offered. Don’t blindly trust any verbal commitments.

There is a difference between the overall compensation and base pay. Base your decision after considering both. So when you are asked, “how much salary do you expect,” answer appropriately.


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ACCEPTABLE ANSWER: For maximum salary negotiation leverage, remember these five guidelines:

Must Read:  Why should we hire you-Interview Question

  1. Never bring up salary. Let the interviewer do it first. Good salespeople sell their products thoroughly before talking about the price. So should you.  Make the interviewer want you first, and your bargaining position will be much stronger.
  2. If your interviewer raises the salary question way before you’ve had a chance to create a desire for your qualifications, postpone the question by saying something like, “Money is important to me, but is not my main concern. Opportunity and growth are far more important. What I’d rather do, if you don’t mind, is explore if I’m right for the position, and then talk about money. Would that be okay?”
  3. The #1 rule of negotiation is: the side with more information wins.  After you’ve done a thorough job of selling the interviewer and once it’s time to talk about salary, the secret is to get the employer talking about what he’s willing to pay before you reveal what you’re willing to accept. So, when asked about salary, respond by asking, “I’m sure the company has already established a salary range for this position.  Could you tell me what that is?” Or, “I want an income commensurate with my ability and qualifications. I trust you’ll be fair with me. What does the position pay?” To put it more aptly, “What does this position pay?”
  4. Know beforehand what you’d accept. To know what’s reasonable, research the job market and the position (you have applied to) for any relevant salary information. Most executives look for a 20-25% pay hike when they switch jobs. If you’re grossly underpaid, you may want more.
  5. Never lie about what you currently make, but feel free to include the estimated cost of all your fringes which could well tack on 25-50% more to your present “cash-only” salary.

This awesome Glassdoor post provides more information on how to deal with salary negotiation. One aspect job candidates often overlook is knowing what is the industry pay scale for the opening. Being aware of this pay scale gives the candidate a concrete gauge to base the discussion around.

At the end of the day, you cannot get emotional while handling this question. Your expectations and self-assessment may prompt you to ask for a 100% increment or even more. If your work experience and expertise justify the hike you are expecting, go ahead and let the interviewer know about the same. But if your resume doesn’t speak for your expectations, the interviewer gets to call the shots. 

Must Read: Why should we hire you-Interview Question

How much salary do you expect? How would you answer, “What are your salary requirements?” Are there other interview questions and answers that are commonly asked in interviews (irrespective of the domain)? We’d love to know in the comments.

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