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How to Communicate your Salary Expectations in an Interview?

Posted by Jenna Baskin on 08/03/2021
Jenna Baskin
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 interview tips

Job interviews can be difficult and nerve-wracking. While talking about your skills, experience, and talent is essential, we can all agree the most difficult question to answer is about your salary expectation.

Some fear putting forward a high number that puts them out of consideration for a job. Some fear asking for a bigger paycheque, making them lose out on the money they deserve.

If you have an interview coming up soon, don't worry! You can use strategies to give the right figure and one the employer can also offer. Tact, timing, and research play a significant role when it comes to discussing the money.

First, let's find out why employers really ask this question.

Table of Contents

  1. What Do The Employers Want To Know?
    1. Set Budget
    2. Qualified Candidate
    3. Assess Your Self-Worth
  2. How To Answer Salary Expectation Question?
    1. 1. Research Your Expected Pay
    2. 2. Salary Range
    3. 3. Question Flip
    4. 4. Delay Answering
    5. 5. Consider Your Current Salary
    6. 6. Consider Expenses
    7. 7. Aim High
    8. 8. Justify
    9. 9. Confidence is The Key
  3. Salary Expectation Answer Examples
  4. Key Takeaway


What Do The Employers Want To Know?

It is natural to question the motives of the interviewer when they ask about your salary expectations. They could do it for several reasons.


Set Budget

How to Communicate your Salary Expectations in an InterviewMany companies have a fixed budget for various positions which they can't stray from. By asking you this question, they want to make sure that they can meet the salary you expect and be on the same page.

In rare cases, companies expand their budget to hire someone if they have exceptional talent and can add equal value to the organisation.


Qualified Candidate

If you ask for a really high salary which is more than what other candidates ask for, or the company can give, you might be over-qualified for the position. It's certainly not a bad thing, but the company will probably not be able to pay you what you request and deserve.

On the flip side, if you ask for less than the industry standard, it might indicate to the interviewers that you are less qualified and don't have the necessary experience.


Assess Your Self-Worth

How to Communicate your Salary Expectations in an Interview (3)As we will discuss, self-assurance takes you a long way. Companies prefer those candidates who know their worth and the value they'll add. When you tell them your salary expectation, they use that to gauge if you know your worth.

A salary expectation in an appropriate range in line with your skills and experience shows them that you are not afraid to ask for what you rightfully deserve!


How To Answer Salary Expectation Question?

Now, read our tips as we help you figure out how to answer salary expectations question confidently in an interview.


1. Research Your Expected Pay

It won't do you any good to shoot arrows in the dark. There are plenty of ways to find what your prospective  position is worth in the market. Simply do a Google search!

How to Communicate your Salary Expectations in an Interview (2)When you research ahead of time, you won't go too low and lose the money you deserve, or go too high and lose out on the job opportunity.

Knowing the expected salary will not only help you make an informed decision, but you will also impress the interviewers by showing them how serious you are.

So even if you are not ready to talk numbers, a fair idea about your expected pay will make the interviewers think you know what you're talking about and have done the research.


2. Salary Range

You don't want your salary demand to sound non-negotiable, which is usually the case of a strict number. Instead of that, if you propose a range, there is a better chance of you getting the salary that supports you and doesn't make the demand seem too outrageous either.

A salary range also reflects your flexibility and your willingness to cooperate with your potential employer.


3. Question Flip

How to Communicate your Salary Expectations in an Interview (1)

If you are not sure what to say to the interviewer, you could dodge the question by flipping it. Instead of giving them a number, ask them what the salary range for your prospective job is. Once they answer, they'll want to know if you are okay with it.

Even though you have to do your homework in any case, now you'll be able to alter your response according to the company's budget.

If they give you a range or number near your expectation, that's great! But if it is lower, then you need to negotiate the compensation package tactfully.


4. Delay Answering

If you are not sure about the scope of your role and how beneficial the company will be for you, you can delay answering the question. You can respond by letting them know that while the salary is important, you prefer a well-rounded opportunity, so you'll inform your preference later.

However, be very careful that you use this strategy as the last option and not because you're afraid to lose the job.


5. Consider Your Current Salary

While it is essential to research salaries, you should consider your current salary as well. Of course, you would want to earn more than what you do now. You can use this to decide your starting point if you're going to move up in the same industry.

 If your last company had salaries in line with the market average, it is good to compare your worth in the current job market.



6. Consider Expenses

Sometimes a new job means relocation. If that is the case with you, be sure to include the expenses that come with it in your salary request.

For instance, if the move to the new job's city costs you $2,000, you can ask for this money to be included in your salary or as direct compensation.


7. Aim High

How to Communicate your Salary Expectations in an Interview (4)It is essential to realise that you add value to the company join, so you should get the pay you deserve. Generally, they start you from the lower end, so it's essential to give them a higher range.

For instance, if you want to earn $50,000, give them a range of $50,000 to $60,000, instead of $45,000 to $55,000.


8. Justify

In case the employers are slightly wary of your proposed range and need some justifications as to how you arrived at the number, then explain yourself.

Don't get into extensive details, but highlight your educational level, skills, and experience to justify why you deserve the salary you asked for.

Don't overshoot the range, or you could seem overqualified and lose out on the job!


9. Confidence is The Key

How to Communicate your Salary Expectations in an Interview (5)

While the quality of your answer is essential in an interview, its delivery is equally necessary. All of the tips above will work if you are self-assured and confident. While humility is vital, too much of it can cost you!

Interviewers appreciate those candidates who know their worth and are confident of their abilities. We're not saying be arrogant, but don't sell yourself short either and risk not getting what you deserve! 


Salary Expectation Answer Examples

Having discussed the strategies you can use to communicate your salary expectations, have a look at some of the salary expectation answer examples to determine which one you can use:

  • "Though I am flexible, I am expecting to receive a salary between $60,000 and $70,000 annually because of my experience and skill set."
  • "I am highly grateful for the benefits that this job offers, including paid leaves and health benefits, but I am expecting my salary to be somewhere between $60,000 and $55,000 annually. I'm positive that my rich background in the sales department can contribute towards further strengthening the company."
  • "I believe that a salary between $73,000 and $78,000 annually matches the industry average and goes well with my experience level and skills. However, I am willing to hear what the company expects to give for this position."

Key Takeaway

The salary expectation question is not going anywhere, regardless of the position or field you apply to. It is essential to research and prepare yourself to answer it to make an informed and intelligent decision as to how you want to move forward.

With an informed and honest response, you can better communicate with the employer what you expect from them and land your dream job!

MCI Institute helps you refine your skills and excel in your courses, which makes you a valuable candidate for any job you apply to. After taking our courses, you will be prepared for the job market and ask for the salary you deserve!

Visit our website to learn more about the programs and courses we offer or click below to book a time to speak with us. 

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By Jenna Baskin

Jenna Baskin is the CEO of MCI and has over 11 years’ experience in the training and education space. She was responsible for the creation of the MCI's online consumer division, the MCI Institute, and the transition of the organisation into the digital learning landscape. This includes platform partnerships across North America, unique content development, and the introduction of virtual reality learning methodologies.