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

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

An interview is a nerve-wracking time as we sit there trying to answer questions in a way that will get us that job offer. It seems like the wrong word or gesture could get you out of the running. One of the biggest hurdles is how to answer, “What are your salary expectations?” You want to answer this the right way to solidify your candidacy.


We pay a lot of focus on interview preparation for our career accelerator program at HiCounselor. If you’re nervous about how to answer, “What are your salary expectations?”, read on to find the solutions. If you’d like expert help in preparing for interviews (and finding that right job), contact us and speak to one of our friendly experts.


Research Beforehand

If you don’t research the salary before the interview, you will most likely be confused about how to answer, “What are your salary expectations?” Check sites like Glassdoor and Fishbowl to see what the company pays its employees. Ask people in your work network to tell you what they’re making at that level. Find out as much as you can because that will ultimately help you pick the right number.  


Think of Your Needs and Wants

Most of us pick up jobs because we need the money to pay for things. You’ll have expenses to cover, so start listing them. Rent, utilities, car payments, work commute, etc. are all common expenses. Knowing what you need will help you avoid low-balling yourself when you answer, “What are your salary expectations?” Figure out what you need and want, and see what you can realistically expect.


Include the Extras

Most of us only think of the base pay when we’re considering how to answer, “What are your salary expectations?” However, we shouldn’t stop there. You can include paid time off, bonus, benefits, stock options, etc. when you want to negotiate for a better pay package. For example, having childcare benefits included might save you some expenses so it’s worth considering if it’s offered or available. 


Quote a Range

Even if you have a number in mind, it’s best to be vague when you’re asked, “What are your salary expectations?” A fixed number can make it seem like you might not be ready for negotiations. Quoting a salary range gives recruiters some space to work with. It also shows your prospective employer that you’ve done your homework and have a working knowledge of the industry as well as your own worth. 


Return to Sender

If you’re unsure how to answer, “What are your salary expectations?”, you can simply flip the script. Say something along the lines of, “I’d appreciate it if you could tell me what’s the range for such a role.” Often, recruiters also respond with a range rather than a number. If you think they’re quoting way less, you can ask them if they’re excluding benefits, bonuses, etc. to show what you think of the sum.


Buy Some Time

If you haven’t had the time to figure out how to answer, “What are your salary expectations?”, you can simply delay answering. You can tell the recruiter that while salary is important, you want to focus on the job prospects, company culture, career growth/path for now. This is better employed for the first round of the interview process. If you’re close to the end, you should be ready to quote something.


We hope these tips on how to answer, “What are your salary expectations?” will help you get the best pay package! If you need expert help in getting a well-paying job and acing interviews, get in touch with us at HiCounselor and let us work our magic for you! Read our reviews to know what clients have to say about us! 



HiCounselor has forged technical advances to transform the hiring landscape for job seekers and recruiters alike. Our career accelerator program provides job seekers with coaching and mentorship from industry leaders employed at FAANG companies while recruiters ally with HiCounselor to empower their hiring strategy and hone in on the best candidates. Learn more about HiCounselor here and reach out to us on LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.