An interview question about salary is one of the questions employers will ask when you’re being interviewed.
You’ve worked so hard to perfect your CV and Cover letter, now you have been shortlisted to prove your employer that you’re the best candidate for the job.
The fact is; the journey has just begun.
Among the top 60 plus commonly asked interview questions with best answers, I talked about the salary questions as a dangerous zone. If you don’t know how to answer these, it can cost you that job offer.
Also, not knowing how to respond can force you to accept the interviewer’s salary offer at less than desirable pay. After all, you want a job that’s sufficient to support you and your family isn’t it?
So, how do you answer this type of question in a job interview? To answer this question perfectly well, you must know how and when interviewers ask this question.
How the salary question is being asked
It can take any form like:
- What are your salary expectations?
- What kind of salary do you need?
- What salary range would you expect to take this job?
- What are you making now?
When do interviewers ask the salary question?
Questions about your pay for the job can come up very early during the interview or later after you’ve answered some other questions.
The timing of this question will greatly affect how you’ll respond. The very best is if it comes up later in the screening process as it shows there’s some interest in having you work for the company.
How to Answer Interview Questions About Salary
One of the best strategies is to delay answering that question
You might say:
“I’m sure we can come to a good salary agreement if I’m the right person for the job. I think it will be best if we first agree on whether I am”.
The first rule of pay negotiation is to avoid discussing numbers until the company has extended an offer. Here, you have the most power to negotiate.
You could respond with:
“I have some ideas of the market, but for a moment, let’s start with your range. What do you have budgeted for the position?”
Here’ you have confidently asked the recruiters about their intention, making it more open and to your advantage.
You have to do your background research to boost your negotiating power here. Once you’ve done the research, come up with three numbers:
- The ideal amount you want (and still reasonable to your employer)
- What amount (considering the market value) is reasonable to you and will still make you happy
- The lowest you can go for
These three numbers make up the compensation range that is in alignment with the market value for your targeted role, and that would make you happy.
If you’re forced to state your salary requirements upfront, use the researched number you found to be the fair market value.
You might also say:
‘I’m looking for a competitive package that takes into account benefits and other forms of compensation, but I’d like to know a little more about the job requirements first”
This is good if you have the question coming from the interviewer early in the screening process. You’ll successfully delay talking about it until you understand more about the details of the job.
If you’re certain the interview is going your way and there’s a better chance the recruiters will consider you for the job, you can give respond to their salary questions with the range strategy.
You might consider giving a salary range:
“Based on my research, similar positions in this geography and industry are currently paying between N… and N… Is this also what you’ve budgeted for this position?”
This works well. Instead of sharing an exact number, because it can place you above or below the budgeted salary for the position, consider providing a range of what you’ll like to make.
You might also say:
“Based on the job requirements we discussed and my knowledge, skills and experience, I would expect the salary range of the position to be between N… and N….”
Always remember, the most important thing you can do is delay the compensation conversation as long as possible until you’re certain the employer have developed interest in you to work in the organization.
Also, you’ll have time to build rapport with the interviewers and diplomatically respond to get the salary you deserve.
There you have it! My list of 5 effective ways to answer salary questions in a job interview.
How have you handled the salary questions during interviews? Do share your thoughts, ideas and what worked well in the comment box below.
Hey, It took a while to put this together, I’ll appreciate it if you can consider sharing this article