How To Discuss The Salary Question In An Interview

Answering the salary question in an interview can be tough, but if you answer it right, you can increase your changes of landing the job! Learn how here!
Salary question

It’s guaranteed to happen to all of us at some point in our interviews; we get asked about our salary expectations and if you were not coached on how to answer the question, you can immediately disqualify yourself. The salary question can be very tricky because you don’t want to say something that is too high or too low. So, what do you do? Luckily for you, I’ve put together a few ideas for you.

How To Discuss The Salary Question In An Interview
  1. Don’t Answer It Ah! What do I mean don’t answer the question? It’s exactly just that, talk your way around answering the question. Here is an inside HR trick that happens all the time and I know it happens all the time because I used to do it myself when I was in HR. HR wants you to answer the salary question because it serves two purposes for them; they can either let you undersell yourself and pay you less money than you are worth OR easily disqualify you because you asked for too much.

    The first part is easy. The HR person knows what the job pays, lets say $70-80k. When they ask you the salary question and you say that you would be happy with $60k, inside they are jumping for joy because they will gladly give you $60k and everyone will be happy. In the second part, where you can disqualify yourself, let’s assume the same numbers, but instead this time you asked for $100k. Once again, you are making the decision easy for the HR person because they now know you are $20k over the salary range and thus, you have just easily disqualified yourself. Now, it must be noted that HR people can not disqualify you on salary alone, but it can be used in addition to a number of other things. But that’s not the point… the point is why give them another reason not to hire you?

    So, What Do you Do?
  2. Research!: There are great free tools out there that you can use like and These websites allow you to gather a further understanding of how your profession is paid within your particular industry. When you do your research, you will be able to have a more intelligent discussion on salary and put yourself in a better position to negotiate. Remember, research is not simply salary, but also mobility, job responsibility, perks, bonuses and flexibility.
  3. Know How To Answer The Salary Question: When you are asked the salary question for the first time in the interview, you have one chance to talk your way around it because after that, it is significantly more difficult. Here is an example of what you can say when asked about salary, “Right now, I would like to focus on my skills and expertise and how they relate to the position that I am interviewing for. If after this interview, you believe that I am a strong fit for the role then I would be more than happy to discuss salary.” What you are doing here is answering the question, but you’re not pinning a number on yourself. If the HR person buys it, then great! In some cases, however, they may not buy it and they will ask you again. While it can be very rude, in this instance, you will need to answer because, if you don’t, you could be doing more damage than good. The way you would now respond should look like this, “In my previous position, I was being paid ($_____). I would like to compensated accordingly for my experience and skills.” In this example, you are still not defining a specific number, but you are saying basically I want to be in this range.

    Sometimes negotiating salary is no fun, however, if you position yourself correctly, you can come out on top! You can learn more about interview preparation here.

    Also, we encourage you to check out our Facebook page. If you LIKE us, we will give you free interviewing and job searching guides. Every advantage you can get in your job transition will get you that much closer to your dream job.



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