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How to Answer: Interview Questions About Salary

job interview questions about salary
By MegaInterview Company Career Coach

Interview questions about salary are commonly brought up during job interviews. This can be a tricky question because you want to negotiate the best deal and highest salary for yourself without hurting your chances of getting the job.


Of course, it’s essential that you prepare for behavioral interview questions and questions about your skills, work experience, and growth potential. However, it’s also smart to prepare for questions about salary expectations that will come up sooner or later during the hiring process.

If you answer questions about salary expectations the wrong way, this can lead to you losing a job offer. Therefore, make sure that you prepare for salary interview questions to make sure you get the best deal without pricing yourself out of a job.

Learn more about salary interview questions and how to answer them.

Examples of questions about salary expectations:

  1. What are your salary expectations for this position?
  2. Can you tell me about your salary levels in previous positions?
  3. What is your current salary?
  4. Would you accept a position for less pay?

In this article, we discuss interview questions about your skills, abilities, and work experience. Also, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.

Why Interviewers Bring Up Your Salary Expectations

The main reason for interviewers to discuss your salary expectations is to assess whether or not they can afford you. They, of course, want to know this before they invest more time and resources in trying to hire you. It’s your job to demonstrate your strengths and sell yourself to convince the hiring manager of your worth to their company.

Basically, the reason for asking about your salary expectations can be broken down into three reasons.

Budget reasons

Every company determines a salary range for a position before they start hiring. During a job interview, interviewers want to ensure that your salary expectations align with the budgets that they calculated for the position. Based on your answers, the interviewer knows if you fit within the set salary range.

Understanding your self-knowledge and worth

Another reason for asking about your salary expectations is to assess if you know how much your skillset is worth and where you place yourself in the market. Market value is usually determined by your level, qualifications, years of work experience, and career accomplishments.

Assessing your professional level and if you’re the right fit for the job

Based on the information you give to the question about your salary expectations, interviewers will try to determine if you’re at the right professional level.

For example, if you ask for a significantly higher salary than other applicants, this could indicate that you’re too senior for the position. The same goes for the other way around, which could indicate that you do not yet have the required experience that the job requires.

How To Determine Your Salary Range

When you prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions, such as those about salary expectations, it’s important that you provide the interviewer with information that you feel comfortable with. This, however, does require doing some research because you should be able to elaborate on your salary expectations.

On popular websites such as Indeed or Glassdoor, you can find a lot of free accessible information that can help you determine a salary range. However, remember that salaries may vary due to different factors, such as geographical location, work experience, and other qualifications.

Learn more about researching job salaries and providing realistic salary ranges.

Tips To Answer Interview Questions About Salary

Below we discuss a couple of tips that you can use to your advantage when you expect salary interview questions at your job interview.

  • Analyze what the position is worth to you

Even though a job might pay well, it’s also important that the position fits into your career goals. Setting certain criteria for yourself can help you make an easier decision further down the line.

If you know for a fact that a job will help you progress in your career, for instance, through training and development opportunities, you might be willing to accept a slightly lower salary in the lower end of a salary range that you have determined.

Learn more about career goal questions and how to answer them.

  • Research the position in the job market

As discussed earlier, your research should help you make a better estimation of a realistic salary range. When determining your salary range, it’s important that you keep your cost of living needs in mind.

For example, will a salary cover your recurring expenses? If this is not the case, you need to have figured out how you will make up the difference. You can weigh the recurring expenses you have against the research you have done about the salary of a particular position. If these numbers don’t match, this could be a sign that the job is not a great match (at the moment).

  • Ask the interviewer questions

If a hiring manager asks you about your salary expectations, you can also ask a direct question back.

For example, you could ask him or her, ‘what’s the salary range determined by the company for this position?‘ or something along the lines like ‘what is the established salary range for someone in a similar position with my background?’.

You can use this information to your advantage when you want to provide them with the salary number that you had in mind.

Learn more about the importance and what specific questions you should ask the interviewer.

  • Be ready to negotiate

Every job offer should be viewed as an opportunity to give your salary a boost. Eventually, you will have to negotiate a salary; make sure you don’t lowball yourself and get the best deal possible without pricing yourself out. Try to be kind but firm during these negotiations. Through your research, you should have gotten an idea of your market value and what’s a reasonable salary range.

Learn more about negotiating salary and how to answer common salary questions.

Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers

Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Adaptability
  3. Admission
  4. Behavioral
  5. Career Change
  6. Career Goals
  7. Communication
  8. Competency
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Creative Thinking
  11. Cultural Fit
  12. Customer Service
  13. Direct
  14. Experience
  15. Government
  16. Graduate
  17. Growth Potential
  18. Honesty & Integrity
  19. Illegal
  20. Inappropriate
  21. Job Satisfaction
  22. Leadership
  23. Management
  24. Entry-Level & No experience
  25. Performance-Based
  26. Personal
  27. Prioritization & Time Management
  28. Problem-solving
  29. Salary
  30. Situational & Scenario-based
  31. Stress Management
  32. Teamwork
  33. Telephone Interview
  34. Tough
  35. Uncomfortable
  36. Work Ethic

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