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How to Answer Salary Expectation Questions in an Interview


You’re in the job Interview and everything is going well as of now and there is a good rapo between you and the interviewer. When the interviewer asks the question “What is your Current Salary “and “How much is your salary expectation” then you’re in the dilemma as it is one of the toughest questions to answer.

So here are the tips to answer these Questions and Crack the interview.

How to answer salary expectation questionThis is a very common question, which is asked in almost all companies. Apart from fixing of salaries, top companies realize this question for other purposes. By realizing the purpose of asking this question, one can remotely identify answers to this question.

Salary Expectation – A test for your mind space and stability:

The question about the salary is often placed by an interviewer to understand the priorities of the applicant. Understanding the trickiness of the question,it gives different interpretations to the interviewers.

This question, benefits the interviewer in two aspects

Fixation of salary:

Just like us, the HR personnel or the interviewer is pretty confused on the salary question. Based on our answers or on the answers of different applicants, the interviewer tries to realize the best salary package for the selected individual. This salary package is viable for the company and satisfactory to the applicant too.

To test your stability and future aspects:

The interviewer also analyzes whether a small break in the salary would make you shift across companies or not.

The answers to this question, signifies the importance or weight age of salary in the mind of the applicant, when considering a job offer. These factors are true indicators for the interview personnel to realize future prospects of the candidate.

Importance of this salary expectation question to the interviewer:

salary question This question is pretty important for the interviewer. Being HR personnel, they know the true value of a candidate.

Setting up salaries and negotiations is an important part of their curriculum. The companies invest a lot of money and time in the training and upbringing of an employee.

If an interviewer selects candidates, who consider salary as the base of decision making, the costs of training, recruitment and concerns related to employee turnover will increase.

Research suggests that employees who tend to put forward a demand for a fixed salary seek increments on a consistent basis, which may or not be viable for the company.

Also, they tend to shift from companies to companies, depending on the salary packages, which make them undesirable for any reputed organization.

Tips to Manage the Salary Expectation Based Question:

There isn’t a particular answer for this question. It varies according to the candidate, who is applying for the job. Based on certain characteristics of the candidate, the salary question can be managed.

1. For a fresher:

A fresher is a person or an applicant, who is seeking a job for the first time. An individual or an applicant, who seeks job for the first time in a new field, can also be termed as a fresher.

For example, if an individual has experience in the software industry and he applies for a finance job, he is considered to be a fresher. The following tips can be used to evade the tricky question-

Since a fresher is new to the job industry; he/she shall prefer not to answer any salary-related questions. It is always better advised to post another question or postpone the reply towards this question.

Some of the best replies are:

  • ‘I would like to consider other job parameters like allowances, job portfolio, etc. before making a decision on salary.’
  • ‘Does it mean I have been selected for the job?’
  • ‘Can I know the other benefits facilitated with my salary?’
  • ‘Please give me more details on the job profile and then we can talk about this.’

These answers would allow an individual to dodge the question with maximum grace. It will give an impression to the interviewer that, the applicant is particularly about other aspects and only money or salary package is not what induces him/her towards the job.

2. For an experienced candidate:

for experience An experienced candidate is the one who has some relevant experience in the same field. The answers are different based on the level of experience you have.

For a candidate, who has an experience of less than a year, the answers given in reference to the fresher candidates would be appropriate. For candidates who have experience in excess of 1 year can consider following replies-

  • ‘I have worked for an ‘x’ amount previously and hence, I look forward for something extra over this ‘x’ amount here.’
  • ‘I think, according to the current industry standards, ‘x’ amount will be appropriate for me.’

3. For desirable and confident candidates:

Certain individuals in today’s job sector are highly talented and versatile in the skills, they possess. They have the ability to be selected in any interview, based on the skills, knowledge, experience and other elements.

These applicants can answer the salary based questions, according to their will, without any fear.

Here, the company needs the applicant, more than the applicant needing the job. Hence, an individual can afford to demand a viable and feasible salary, according to his/her experience.

The mistake such individuals do is to demand some exorbitant and far from reality figures as salaries. This should be avoided, as recruiters tend to cut other allowances and benefits to feature such pay packages, if at all they do.

To make the replies more professional, one should follow a set procedure to ensure his estimated figure is not proved wrong. These procedures include-

Proper research and study:

Real projects

It is extremely important for an individual to conduct proper research and study. Even if you evade the question once, the question might be repeated twice or thrice to expect answers from you, in order to initiate the salary fixation process.

To answer such a question, sufficient research is extremely necessary. A small variation could cost you a very good job opportunity. The following methods can be used to initiate research to gather meaningful information-

1. Talk to experienced candidates/friends/relatives:

We as individuals today have a lot of opportunity for being social and interlinking with individuals across the globe.

The best way to realize an appropriate salary figure is by considering talks with the experienced individuals. These individuals are in the best position to describe or suggest an ideal salary figure, based on their experience.

Making connections with the existing employees of the company, to extract some basic details about the general pay package can also be useful. Also, contacting relatives or friends to enquire general packages according to the industry trend is also a good idea.

2. Company websites and other information sources:

Many reputed companies tend to display some information about openings and similar inputs on their websites. The websites may also sometimes notify the possible pay package bracket for a particular position.

This is the best place to find accurate salary figures in reference to the company. The first source of information might depend on the person transmitting it. But, this source of information is largely true.

3. Interviews with similar firms or salary range in similar firms:

To make research more strong and practical, one can also consider interviews with similar firms.

Firms which are competitors to the firm you are going to apply or budding firms in that particular industry are best to provide a realistic estimate of the current salary packages.

This direct interaction would give an individual the experience and confidence to put forward his/her expectations to the interviewer in the future.

There are many companies, who disclose their salary range when conducting recruitment drives. It is essential to consider details of such companies that offer similar posts to keep an approximate salary figure in mind, when the salary question is repeated twice or thrice.

Conveyance matters:

conveyance mattersMany a times, the way you convey your message is what makes a difference. No matter, if you demand a high salary or a low salary, the way you put across your demands to the interviewer can have a bigger impact.

Sometimes, due to arrogance or overconfidence or the tone we produce, our thoughtful answers also pinch the interviewers. It is extremely important to take special care in these aspects.

Firstly, keep the conversation very formal and don’t induce personal comments. Whatever answer has to be said should be said in a very polite manner, without offending any of the interviewers, may be directly or indirectly. It is important to have a light smile on the face, when responding to the questions of the interviewer.

It is important to convey them your answer with confidence and not with arrogance. Answering questions with believe and trust in self indicates the interviewer that you are a man/woman of substance.

Key Suggestions When Answering Interview Questions about Salary Expectation:

When, the salary based questions are asked, people have a lot of things going on in their mind. It is important to realize these key suggestions to ensure they answer the salary based questions conveniently.

1. Honesty:

Interviewers or recruiters have far more experience than us. They have seen a lot of candidates like us and they know how to extract truth in different situations.

No matter, how many fake documents you produce, taking the help of false facts for a job cannot be productive. Hence, it is important to be honest and present true information, no matter how ordinary or ugly it may be.

People tend to escalate their previous salaries and indicate a better salary demand to the interviewers. Such practices can bring in short-term gains, but it might actually hinder your future prospects in the industry. Speaking truthfully is the best way out of any question.


  • ‘I don’t know what pay I should be getting’ or
  • ‘I don’t have any idea in this regard’ or
  • ‘I had worked in this company for a small pay off ‘x’ amount, but I am looking for better pay here’, etc., can create a sense of believe and trust in your ability in the interviewer’s mind.

And when people lie, they are more nervous and tend to make a complete mess of the interview. Thus, it is essential to keep all things transparent and open to ensure your professional relationship is on a right start.

2. Mock interviews and practice:

Big goals of life can be achieved with better effectiveness in the presence of consistent practice. In order to become perfect, it is essential to practice.

The best way to practice is to interrogate yourself in the mirror. This is the most effective practice tool, as no one else other than you, knows more about your thoughts and weaknesses. In case, this is not working, mock interviews are the best alternatives.

Many training institutes today conduct training for handling such questions. It is important to attend such coaching centers to become capable enough to handle salary related questions with ease.

They create a professional structure and conduct mock interviews like real to train and equip you with some possible scenarios in the interview.

3. Reasoning for your answers:

It is always essential to develop a reason for what you do. Same is the case with what you answer. You should have a practical reasoning for the answers you give.

Providing answers for the salary based questions just like that without any thought could prove dangerous in case the interviewer considers counter questions.

Thus, it is advised to keep in mind a reason for uttering such answers. For example, an interviewer asks you the desired salary and you utter an ‘x’ amount to him.

Now, the interviewer will ask the candidate/you to justify the ‘x’ amount demand. You need to have acceptable justification for your demand of ‘x’ amount salary. Else, your job application will be rejected.

4. Remain focused and grasp clues:

Interviewers are extremely focused and they actually frame questions from our answers. So, to successfully evade the questions of the interviewer, it is important to remain focused to the maximum level possible.

It is important to clear all sorts of thoughts going in the mind and focus on each and every word the interviewer utters.

The interviewer often signifies many clues, which might well be the way out of a question. It is important to grasp the clues and it can only happen, if you concentrate on what the interviewer is trying to ask.

5. Seek for salary breakup and other information before a decision:

Salary Breakup When, in the final stage, the interviewer wants to know your salary expectations, you need to be very careful.

If you ask for a lesser pay package, you are underselling yourself and if you demand a big package, you are giving the interviewer a reason to reject your job application. Hence, finding the balance between high and low salary levels is essential.

In such cases for decision making and estimation purpose, it is always essential to request for salary breakup information (which may be provided in percentages) and other essential details like transport facility, canteen, perks, leaves etc. These valuable details can actually induce a right estimation of the salary.

6. Less priority to salary based questions:

One of the best ways to deal with salary based questions is to give minimal priority to them. If as a fresher, you tend to put in a lot of weight for the salary, the interviewers are bound to get a negative impression.

In general, all candidates should set aside the salary based questions by asking the interviewer to talk about it in the last, when your job application has been finalized.

This not only appropriately evades you from a tough question, but also allows you to manage other questions with maximum comfort and ease.