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How To Approach The Dreaded “Salary Expectations” Question

By Lauren @BubbleJobs

No one likes talking about money, least of all with a prospective employer. Unfortunately, it’s a key element of the hiring process and one that tends to make interviewees feel incredibly awkward.

However, if you don’t tackle the question head on and be prepared, you may find yourself either selling yourself short, or even discouraging a company from hiring you because of your high standards.

With all of this in mind, I’ve come up with a couple of tips for you on how you can answer the dreaded salary question!

1) Do Your Research

What will really back up your salary expectations is research into typical salaries for your role at the level you’re applying for, as well as the location in which you’ll be working. For example, there is always London weighting for jobs in the capital, so this must be taken into consideration.

It’s also worth looking into the company itself and how strict they are with their pay scales. Sites like Glass Door are really useful for this.

However you approach it, make sure you plan your answer to this question in advance to avoid being caught off-guard.

2) Consider The Stage Of Interview Process

What sort of answer you give to a salary expectation question will always depend on the stage of the hiring process you’re currently in.

If you’re being asked how much you expect to get paid during a phone interview, or even in an application form, you don’t have to be too specific. Give yourself some wiggle room and go for a broader salary bracket.

You don’t want to price yourself out of a job, but you also don’t want to undersell yourself.

3) Be Flexible

Even though you’ve decided what salary you want and expect to get, it’s worth preparing to be flexible if the job is one that you want and has scope for progression.

If it doesn’t seem like the interviewer is going to give you what you want, weigh up the pros and cons of the role, and stick to a ballpark figure rather than a strict amount.

4) Flip The Question Round

If you’re not 100% sure about the salary you want, consider flipping this round on the employer to get a proper idea of what they can offer.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a salary bracket or rough idea of what they might pay someone in this role if it wasn’t already specified in the job description.

However, make sure you remain respectful and professional when doing this, and don’t push for an answer if you’re not offered one.

5) Justify Your Expectations

Sometimes, regardless of the answer you give, the interviewer will tend to suggest that your salary expectations are too high.

If you’re sure you really deserve the salary you expect, challenge any doubts from the interviewer with skills, experience and achievements as reasons why you deserve to be paid that much.

People like facts, and will find it hard to say no if they have the budget and you really do deserve it!

6) Consider Other Options

Sometimes companies simply can’t afford to pay you the salary you want, but if you really want the job, consider other ways you can work around this but still get some of the money you initially wanted.

Suggest coming up with a system whereby you get bonuses for hitting KPIs, or have a salary review based on performance every few months or even based on successful lead generation.

This will be more appealing to a company without a huge budget as they will be guaranteed to get something in return for the money they give to you.


So there we go, a few hints and tips on how to tackle the dreaded salary expectations question!

Do you agree with this advice or have any of your own? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @BubbleJobs! 🙂



  1. Ritesh Sharma

    Amazing article !! i specially like the research about the company because that exactly gives you the valid range when you answer “what are your salary expectation?” so thanks a lot for helping us by giving us such a informative post and i am sure i am going to bookmark this.Thank You.

  2. deepika

    Earlier, I found this question to be tricky to answer. However, after reading this blog, I came to know as to what exactly is expected as an answer. Now, I am able to answer this question with ease. Thanks for the tips shared by you.

  3. kiran sahu

    Hey Great article..
    relay good for all the freshers who are starting there corporate life.
    Thank You.!!

  4. kiran sahu

    Great article helped me to know my salary expectation I was confused that how to convey my expectation in interview thank you for your article very helpful..
    Thanks a lot…do keep posting..!!!

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