How to Answer Interview Questions about Salary

One of the trickiest interview questions to answer is the one involving salary expectations.

How can you answer this question without making it seem as though you’re expecting too high of a salary and aren’t open to negotiations? Is it possible to respond in a manner that’s polite, yet firm?

How to Answer Interview Questions about Salary

As it turns out, there are a number of effective ways to respond to this question, all of which make you look professional and willing to negotiate. Here are some suggestions, all designed to help you make the most of this tricky inquiry.

Do Your Research

Many job ads include salary information. They’ll state the potential salary as a range, allowing those thinking about applying to use the information to know whether they want the job or not.

In addition to the salary details in the ad, you should also look up salary information for the job in the field. This information is usually available on numerous government websites, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Once you’ve done your research and have a general idea of what the job should pay, you can present the interviewer with a fairly accurate range when answering the salary expectation question.

Keep Your Answer Within a Salary Range

Speaking of salary ranges, if you feel the need to answer the question with any kind of monetary units, keep it in a range. By saying “I’d like between $85,000 and $100,000,” you lessen the risk of shooting too high or too low.

By stating a range instead of a specific amount, you’re letting the interviewer know several important things:

  1. You know what you’re worth.
  2. You’re willing to negotiate.
  3. You’ve done your research.

Be Ready to Negotiate

Another option involves answering the question without providing any type of salary requirements. Simply tell the interviewer that your salary expectations are negotiable. This way, they’ll know that you’re willing to work with them and their budget.

This may backfire, as the company may give you a lower offer than you’d like. Still, you can always counteroffer and go from there, properly negotiating a salary that you believe you deserve that also fits into the company’s budget.

Highlight Your Skillset

In addition to telling the interviewer that your salary expectations are negotiable, you should also point out your skills. If you have several years of experience and skills that align with the job description, make sure to point them out.

This is a subtle way of informing the interviewer that you know what you’re worth, and that on top of being ideal for the job, you’ll want a salary that’s commiserate with your experience. You aren’t outright stating these things, which could put a bad taste in the interviewer’s mouth, but you are doing so in a subtle and professional manner. Don’t worry; they’ll pick up on your cues.

Inform Them of Your Flexibility

On top of being willing to negotiate, inform the interviewer that your salary expectations are flexible. By expecting a salary within a very high range, or even a specific amount, you might be making it tough for them to afford you.

However, if you make it clear that you’ll be willing to negotiate with them in order to find a salary that both parties are happy with, they’ll keep you in mind for the job. If they offer you the job, they’ll know that you’ll be able to stay within their budget constraints. This is something that many companies will find enticing.

Don’t Be Afraid to Give Yourself a Raise

If the position that you’re applying for is a step up the ladder, be prepared to present the interviewer with a salary range that’s a little higher than what you’re currently earning, while still being within the proper range for the job based on your research.

After all, you have valuable skills that your future employer will appreciate and be able to take advantage of, so you should be compensated accordingly. As long as you suggest an amount that’s reasonable and not so high that you price yourself out of the position, then everything just might work out in your favor.