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How to answer the “What is your salary expectation?” Interview question

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 27 Jul 2020

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Some job seekers may worry about answering questions about salary because they feel uncomfortable talking about money. This may be down to the lack of knowledge you have about salary expectations for the job you are applying for. It’s important to expect this question and make sure you are prepared for it. It shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable, you know you should be paid in exchange for your working hours, so it’s good to know how much money you will be earning before you make a commitment. This question is simply for the employer to learn about what they can offer you and how they can help you in this role. We have some tips on how to prepare for and answer this question, hopefully leaving you feeling calmer and ready for it when you are asked about salary.

Do your research

Before any interview you want to make sure you have done the right amount of research to make sure that you are comfortable answering and asking questions. It may seem basic, but when you apply for a role, make sure you are checking if the job spec or application states a salary. You can also check similar job titles in different companies and see how much other individuals are earning. This will help you get an idea of what is a fair salary to ask for, you don’t want to be expecting too much.

You should also look into how much responsibility your job will give you and how many hours a week you will be working. Are you managing a team? Are you working more than the standard 40-hour weeks? There are many factors that can affect salary and it’s important to know these things before going into an interview and asking for a random salary you haven’t put much thought into.

You also need to think about your current or past salary. Is the amount of money going to be able to keep you comfortable? If it’s just not for you, then it may be worth passing up on the job offer. You need to be firm but fair when talking about salary in an interview. You don’t want to ask for too much and come across as unrealistic or even greedy, but you also don’t want the employer to undervalue you and the role. It’s a two-way street.

Give a range

If you feel uncomfortable asking for a set figure, then you might want to give the employer a range when they ask you this question. Keep the numbers at a rate that you feel comfortable with. So, if necessary, don’t ask for anything below what you already earn or what you earnt in your last role.  You don’t want to unknowingly sacrifice salary that you need. So, if you currently earn £30,000, an appropriate range for you to mention might be £35,000 – 40,000. Of course, this will differ person to person. You might be going for a higher-ranking role or have had education between jobs and now be even more qualified and can ask for more money. The point is, make sure you are tailoring it to yourself and your needs. But again, don’t be unrealistic and take your research into consideration!

What else does this employer offer?

Where salary is important, it may not be the only asset that the employer will offer you. Their employment package may offer the ability to work from home, extra holiday, bonuses, insurance or a company car. The list can be endless. If you can’t find details like this about the company online or written in the job spec, then it is definitely worth asking in an interview. It can help you determine whether you are willing to accept a little less salary and take all the other things they may offer you. This will differ between companies but is something to consider when discussing salary.

Be confident in yourself and what you can do

When you go to work you are there to do a job and deserve to be paid a fair amount of money. However, people still hate talking about their salary during interviews. You need to be confident in yourself and your abilities, you have been invited to an interview for a reason and are obviously worth their time and attention. The interview process is all about persuading the interviewer that you are right for the job, giving them proof of your successes and how you will be an asset to their team.

So, after talking about everything you can do and what you have achieved in your career so far, why don’t you want to ask for a fair amount of money? Yes, it can sometimes feel a bit awkward but it’s what you’re there for. As long as you are being fair, taking all factors into consideration and you have actually done some research, then it should all be fine!

If an employer wants to hire you, they should be fair in offering you are good amount of money for your efforts. They should want to. They’re not trying to trick you, simply trying to figure out if they can afford you. This is why it’s so important to do your research and try to figure out what your job is worth to them and if it’s right for you.

Like any other interview question, it can take time to learn and practice. If you don’t succeed the first time, look back at what you can improve and try again. All interviews are good learning experiences, the more your practice, hopefully the more relaxed you will feel.