How to Answer ‘What Are Your Salary Expectation’ Interview Question?

Interviews can undoubtedly be quite awkward at times. You are trying your best to prove that you are the right candidate for the role, but you can never know what is going on in the interviewer’s mind. During such a session, one of the most commonly asked questions is, ‘What are your salary expectations?’ 

Discussing salary expectations during the interview can be daunting, but it is also an essential part of the entire process. Even if you have a strong sense of your desired expectation, conveying the same to the interviewer can be quite difficult. 

This brings us to the most popular thought among prospective employees- – how to answer the salary expectation question. The article below will provide you with a step-by-step guide on handling such questions confidently. 

Analyse Your Salary Expectations Ahead of Time

The foremost step of how to answer salary expectations is to research the average salary range for the position you are applying for in your industry and location.

For example, the average salary of a software engineer fresher in India is currently estimated at INR 4,50,000 per annum. If you fall under this category, you can easily ask for compensation around this amount. This will give you a realistic baseline to work from. In addition to this, you can also refer to multiple sites that are available online, such as Glassdoor, Payscale, and other industry reports, to gain valuable insights.

Following this, you must also take into account your level of skills, experience, and qualifications, as all these have a direct impact on the salary range. The average salary of an experienced software engineer in India is currently INR 8,48,667 per annum. Therefore, if you have specialized skills or certifications, you can command a higher salary. 

Lastly, remember that salaries can vary significantly based on living costs in different geographic regions. Some states or areas provide higher wages when compared to other regions for jobs in an occupation. Therefore, you must be able to adjust your salary expectations based on the location of the job as well.

Choose Your Strategy for Answering the Question

Navigating questions, such as what are your salary expectations, during a job interview requires finesse and strategic thinking. On that note, mentioned below are a few successful strategies following which you can successfully tackle this question.

Give a Salary Range

Perhaps one of the simplest strategies for how to answer salary expectations is to give a salary range that encompasses your expectations. The range should have a lower and an upper limit that reflects the value you bring to the role. One way to do this is by comparing your experience and qualifications with the job description to determine where in the range you might fit. 

You can also conduct your research on websites such as Glassdoor. In this manner, you can understand what a fair salary might be, and you can also provide a minimum range that you are not willing to go below.

Flip the Question

Another way to approach ‘What are your salary expectations?’ is to flip the question. In most cases, you might not feel comfortable disclosing a salary range to your employers. Instead, you can respond with a question of your own. You can ask your interviewer about the salary range they have budgeted for your job role or if it aligns with the current market rate. 

In this manner, you can accurately determine whether the company’s offer aligns with your expectations.

Delay Answering

You can also politely request to postpone the salary discussion until you have a clearer understanding of the job responsibilities and expectations that you are required to fulfil. This approach will give you more time to gather enough information before responding thoughtfully. 

Discuss total compensation

Lastly, you can discuss the total compensation package instead of focusing solely on the base salary. For example, you can discuss benefits, bonuses, flexible work arrangements, and overall professional development opportunities. By opting for this approach, you can demonstrate that you are considering the overall value of the position.

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Why do employers ask about salary?

One of the main reasons employers ask about salary expectations is to understand whether they can afford your skills. Employers already have budgets allocated for various positions, and by understanding a candidate’s salary expectations, they can ensure that they offer a compensation package that aligns with their financial resources. 

From the candidate’s perspective, answering questions about salary expectations helps to ensure that the opportunity is a good fit for the employee and there is a mutual understanding of the compensation and benefits offered. It furthermore helps to build trust and sets the foundation for future negotiations. 

Example Answers To Salary Questions

If you are still in doubt about how to answer salary expectation questions, don’t worry; we have got you covered! 

Mentioned below are a few examples of sample answers to this question.

What Is Your Salary Expectation Sample Answer For No Experience

“As I am just starting my career, it would be quite difficult for me to give you a particular figure or take-home salary estimation now. My main focus is to gain valuable experience and contribute as much as possible to the team. I am open to discussing competitive and fair compensation for the role and the industry.”

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What Is Your Salary Expectation Sample Answer For Freshers

“As a fresh graduate, my primary focus is to find a position where I can learn and grow within the company. I have done research on the industry standards and average salaries for this position in our area. Based on my research, I am looking for a salary falling within the range of INR X to INR Y. However, with that being said, I am also open to negotiation based on the overall compensation package and opportunities for advancement.”

What Is Your Salary Expectation Sample Answer For Experienced

“Having worked in the industry for (number of years), I am fully aware of the responsibilities and value that come with this role. Based on my experience and the industry standards, I am looking for a competitive salary falling within the range of INR X – INR Y. However, I am also interested in discussing the entire compensation package with you, including the benefits, bonuses, and opportunities for professional growth.”

These are just a few examples of general sample answers. Always ensure to tailor your answers according to your research, industry norms, and personal preferences. It is also advisable to display flexibility and openness to negotiation while highlighting the value you will bring to the role.

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Tips When Negotiating Salary

Mentioned below are some useful tips you can consider as you prepare for a salary negotiation.

  • Know Your Value – Understand the skills, experience, and value that you bring to the table. In that manner, you can then be prepared to articulate how you can contribute to the company’s success. 
  • Research The Market Average – Research the industry standard and average salaries for the role and location.
  • Talk To A Trusted Friend – You can also start rehearsing with a close friend to gain confidence and identify areas of improvement.
  • Express Enthusiasm- Express your genuine interest in the role and the company before you start discussing salary.
  • Ask For More- One of the most important things to remember is always giving your employer a slightly higher number than your desired amount. This will ensure that even when the number goes down during the negotiation process, you will still end up with an amount you are comfortable with.
  • Stay Professional – Keep the whole negotiation process respectful and professional. Avoid making demands or ultimatums.
  • Be Flexible – Try to keep an open mind when negotiating salary. This way, even if your employer is unable to provide you with the desired amount, you can look for other avenues of compensation, such as additional work-from-home days or extra vacation days.

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Summing Up

While discussing salary expectations during the interview process can undoubtedly feel uncomfortable at times, it is a crucial aspect of the hiring process. The key is to have excellent communication abilities so that both parties can make informed decisions and ensure a smoother negotiation and onboarding journey.

It is also important to practice active listening and have a backup plan always ready in case the company fails to meet your salary expectations. 

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How do you justify your expected salary?

To justify your expected salary, you can deploy a number of techniques, such as emphasising your relevant work experience, showcasing your skills, highlighting any specialised training you might have received, quantifying your impact, and researching industry standards.

What factors should I consider before providing my salary expectations?

Your salary can be directly influenced by multiple factors such as the industry and role, your job location, experience and skills, education and certificates, company size, and more. Therefore, before providing an estimate of your salary expectations to your employer, you must be aware of all these criteria.

What strategies can be used to negotiate salary expectations with potential employers?

Negotiating salary expectations with potential employers requires careful planning, effective communication, and a focus on mutual benefit. You must always remember a few crucial points to ensure the negotiation process is smooth and successful– Knowing your worth, starting with a range, active listening, using market data, staying open-minded, and being confident and professional.

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