Answering the Salary Expectations Question

Every job hunter is familiar with the inevitable interview question about your salary expectations. If you provide a number that’s too low, you could end up earning less than you’re worth. But if you aim too high? Appearing too expensive can end a great opportunity right in its tracks.

So, how can you confidently answer this question during your job search?

Do your research.

While some opportunities provide a salary or hourly rate right within the job listing, this isn’t a common occurrence. That’s why doing research is essential. What’s the average salary of someone in your prospective job title? Remember to consider that salaries differ by experience level and geographical location. Try using tools like Indeed Salaries or during your research, which provide the average salary for different job titles based on location, and can even pull some salary insights from specific companies.

Defer your answer if needed.

It’s hard deeming what pay is appropriate before you fully understand the role. You also don’t want to risk being pulled out of the running before you’ve had a chance to demonstrate your worth to the employer. So, what if you’re already asked this question on the job application? Some job experts recommend omitting a number and writing something along the lines of “negotiable” or “up for discussion.” If you have to provide a number on your application, consider the research you conducted previously and provide an appropriate range.

Provide a range.

Once you’re confident you’ve demonstrated your professional capabilities in the job interview, it’s time to deliver your salary expectation with confidence. Provide a range of numbers to allow for some flexibility. However, make sure you’re comfortable with the number at the bottom of the range, as the hiring manager may just take you up on it. Don’t be afraid to provide reasoning, as well. Refer to your research, your expertise, and let the hiring manager know if you’re willing to negotiate based on other valuable compensation offerings, such as the company’s benefits package.


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