How much salary do you expect?

This is a standard question that is bound to be asked at every interview. Or they may even ask something along the lines of “how much you expect to earn” or “how much do you expect to make” or “how much do you expect to get paid.” The basic premise is the same. The interview wants to know how much you are going to cost the company.

There are two sides to this question, one is that the interviewer wants to know whether or not they can afford you, and the other is that they want to see whether or not you value yourself and your skills.

There is no trick to answering this question; just be honest. However, also be reasonable. Know what the market rates are at the moment, but also know your own value. If you ask too little, then they may think that you are not that talented or have limited skills, hence you are willing to settle for less than market value; however, if you ask for too much, then they may think you greedy.

Think of yourself as a commodity. If the cost of the product (you) is too high, the buyer (the company) may think that it is not worth it, or that they can’t afford it at the moment. However, if it is too low, then the buyer may suspect shoddy workmanship or cheap quality products.

But also keep in mind that this is a negotiation, so it is often better to start just a little higher than your perfect figure, i.e. the salary that you will settle for. However, the start figure should not be to higher which may make the company run. It is also better to give a range, rather than a fixed figure. The lower end of the range should be the salary that you really want, as most companies are inclined to lean towards that side. You can draw attention to your skills and experiences to justify your demands.

Alternately, instead of answering this question, you can also turn in around and ask them how much they expect to pay someone in your position with your skills. See what they suggest, and whether or not that works for you. Use that as a starting point for your negotiations. However, keep in mind that some employers may frown upon this inquiry, so gauge the interviewer before going down this path.

Or if you are unsure, you may also be able to delay the question by claiming that you would like to know more about the job and its requirements, role, and responsibilities, as you do not feel that you have the information to make an informed decision yet.

Also, if they offer a salary below your expectation, don’t disregard it completely. Inquire about the company’s other benefits such as incentives, paid & unpaid leaves, and numbers of holidays, etc. You might find that they may compensate for the different. You may also be able to re-negotiate the salary by convincing them of why you deserve more.

Sample Answer:

According to my research the current expected salary for this field is from $1 to $3. As I have an advanced degree as well as x years of experience in this field, I would expect a salary between $2 and $3.  

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