How to Answer the Salary Question

20 March 2018 Virginia Brookes


Are you a great salary negotiator? Are you able to answer the question: What are your salary expectations?

When considering responses in preparation for an interview, this question is not always at the top of our minds, in fact many of us haven’t even given it much thought on how to answer this question.

Your well thought out response can make the difference to landing the job or not, an if you do are you going to be paid what you are worth in the market place.

Pitch yourself too high and there is a good chance you won’t secure the position, too low and you will give the impression that you don’t really value your own worth.

It is normal to feel somewhat awkward and uncomfortable when fronted with the question “What are your salary expectations?” It’s a common interview question, and a very important one to be able to answer, so here’s some tips on how to overcome the fear of the question.

Do your research – Don’t go in unprepared, sure you want a specific salary, but have you done your research to evaluate what you are worth in the market? If you have done the right research you will have the facts and figures to be confident in telling your prospective employer what you are worth. Searching on places like SEEK is a great place to start, not every job will advertise a salary range but there will be many that will give you an idea.

Ask the interviewer their thoughts  – If you are interviewing directly with the client ask them the question “what is the salary range for the successful person” this will give you an understanding if they are paying in the ball park of what you are looking for and what the role is worth – this will give you some insight into the company and whether you want to proceed further with the recruitment process.

Trust your recruiter – Any good recruiter will ensure that they have discussed with both you and the employer in advance to exchange expectations on salary. It’s important that you are open and honest with your recruiter on your expectations from the beginning so they can put you forward to the appropriate roles, when working with a recruiter don’t discuss salary expectations in your interview, this is part of a recruiters job to handle salary negotiations on your behalf.