Interview Questions and Answers: What are your salary expectations?

Many interviewees don't handle the salary expectations interview question at all well. Never be scared off by this interview question. Stay focused. A good interview answer is the result of knowledge, in this case.

Your Interview Answer

There are several factors to be considered in response to this interview question:

  • your salary needs
  • the market rate for the work
  • the total value of the package including non wage benefits

Your Salary Needs

This is your budget. You need a clear idea of the right figure. Check your expenses, and use those as your benchmark for your interview answer.

The Market Rate for the Work

Research this rate by comparing similar jobs. There is a salary bandwidth, whatever your job. That's your starting point for giving a figure in response to the interview question. Your interview answer should show knowledge of rates.

The Total Value of the Package Including non Wage Benefits

To give a good interview answer, bear in mind that the package value is the employer's benchmark figure. Many employment packages give a lot of non wage benefits. Those should be considered as dollar values, and you can balance these with your budget accordingly.

Quality Control for Your Interview Answer

Your interview answer has to be workable. Don't talk yourself out of the job. You're being asked for a figure for the employer can consider fair.

You can use the market rate as your working figure for this interview question. That's reasonable, and will fit the basic budget figure for the employer. You're giving a general range, without making a definite dollar value commitment.

If the overall package is valuable, don't ignore it when defining your salary expectations. Acknowledge the value of the package in your interview answer.

Be clearly flexible in terms of salary expectations. Leave the door open for some haggling. Remember, other people want this job. They may quote highly competitive rates. Your interview answer has to be based on both a realistic salary and the quality of your application.

Example

The question is: 'What are your salary expectations?'

'The overall package looks good. I can be flexible to a point on salary, to a point. I'm basing my expectations on market rate bandwidth. I have ten years experience, so I'd fit the middle to upper range of the bandwidth.'

Analysis

This interview answer demonstrates:

  • knowledge of the market rate
  • reasonable expectations
  • appreciates package values
  • prepared to negotiate within bandwidth
  • experience levels justify salary expectations

The interview answer is a clear basis for further discussion with the interviewee.