How to Tactfully Answer ‘What are Your Salary Expectations'

July 24, 2023
what are your salary expectations

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One of the most crucial questions during any job interview is “What are your salary expectations?” This question can be a tricky one, often leaving job seekers uncertain about how to respond. However, answering this question correctly is crucial to securing the compensation package you desire. 

In a recent study, it was found that almost 60% of job seekers consider salary and compensation to be the most critical factors. This happens when they are evaluating a job offer. Additionally, the study found that 45% of job seekers believe they are underpaid in their current position. 

Your response to this question can influence the outcome of the interview and impact your potential earning potential. Hence, it is essential to do your research, understand your value, and know your desired compensation expectations. 

In this blog, we will discuss the best strategies for answering the question, “What are your compensation expectations?” without disclosing your current salary, including expert tips and real-world examples. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to the job market, we’ve got you covered.  

Should Desired Salary be Disclosed? 

When it comes to discussing compensation expectations in job interviews, there are two schools of thought. Some experts suggest being upfront about your desired salary. Others recommend avoiding the topic altogether. However, you should exercise caution before disclosing your expected salary. Here are a few reasons why. Additionally, here are some tips on how to navigate the conversation with finesse. 

1. Avoid Being the First to Mention Salary Expectations 

One of the cardinal rules of salary negotiations is to avoid being the first to mention a specific number. This is important because mentioning a number may limit your earning potential. This can happen if the employer was actually willing to offer more than what you stated.  

Therefore, it is best to steer the conversation toward the employer’s budget for the role. You can also ask about the range they have in mind for the position. This way, you can have a better understanding of their expectations and negotiate accordingly. 

2. Don’t Disclose Salary Expectations Unless Necessary 

Another reason to be cautious about disclosing your salary expectations is that it could potentially work against you. When asked about your salary expectations, it’s important to be strategic. Revealing a number that’s too high may make you seem overqualified or unrealistic. On the other hand, stating a number that’s too low may undervalue you and lead to missed negotiation opportunities. 

It’s advisable to delay answering the question. You should wait until you have a better understanding of the employer’s expectations. You should also wait until you have a better understanding of the compensation package they are offering. 

3. Be Flexible, but Don’t Undersell Yourself 

While it is important to avoid being too resistant when asked about salary expectations. It is equally important not to undersell yourself. If you are too quick to accept a lowball offer, you could be leaving money on the table and undervaluing your worth. Therefore, it is essential to do your research and have a clear understanding of the market rate for the role you are applying for. 

4. Remember the Big Picture 

Compensation is only one part of a job offer. Being fairly compensated for your skills and experience is important. However, there are other factors to consider as well. For example, company culture, work-life balance, and growth opportunities are also significant. To make the best decision, it’s important to look at the job offer as a whole. Consider all aspects of the opportunity before making a final decision. 

Also Read: Salary Breakup Structure

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Strategies to Answer “What are Your Salary Expectations” 

Talking about compensation expectations can be a tricky subject in job interviews. It is essential to strike a balance between asking for what you deserve and being flexible enough to negotiate. To help you answer the question of salary expectations with confidence, here are some expert strategies to keep in mind: 

what are your salary expectations

1. Give a Range Instead of a Number 

One effective way to answer the question of salary expectations is to provide a range instead of a specific number. This approach demonstrates that you are flexible and willing to negotiate while also providing the employer with an idea of your salary expectations. For example: 

Sample Answer: “Based on my experience and the responsibilities of the role, I’m looking for a salary in the range of $60,000-$70,000 per year.” 

2. Ask About Their Budget First 

Another effective strategy for answering salary expectations is to ask the employer about their budget for the position. This approach can give you a sense of what they’re willing to pay. It also provides an opportunity to steer the conversation towards the employer’s expectations. 

Sample Answer: “I’m open to discussing salary expectations, but first, I’d like to get a better understanding of the budget for the position. What is the salary range you have in mind for this role?” 

3. Understand the Roles & Responsibilities First 

Before talking about salary expectations, you need to understand the roles and responsibilities of the position. This helps you evaluate the required level of expertise and experience. It also helps you give a better answer to the question about salary expectations. 

Sample Answer: “Before discussing salary expectations, I’d like to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the position. Can you provide more information on what the job entails, and what skills and experience are required?” 

4. Assure Them That You’re Willing to Negotiate 

When discussing salary expectations, it is crucial to demonstrate your willingness to negotiate. This approach conveys that you are open to finding a mutually beneficial solution and are not rigid in your expectations. 

Sample Answer: “While I have a salary range in mind, I’m willing to be flexible and negotiate based on the specific details of the job offer.” 

5. Back Your Answer with Research 

Finally, it is important to back up your answer to the question of salary expectations with research. This approach demonstrates that you have a clear understanding of the market rate for the position and are not simply pulling numbers out of thin air. 

Sample Answer: “Based on my research of the industry and similar job postings, a salary range of ₹600,000-₹700,000 per year is in line with the market rate for this role.” 

When Is the Right Time to Disclose Your Salary? 

When it comes to job interviews, the question of salary expectations is a tricky one. While you want to make sure that you’re getting paid what you’re worth, you also don’t want to come off as too demanding or unrealistic. One of the biggest dilemmas is deciding when to disclose your current or desired salary. 

The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It largely depends on the situation and your personal preferences. However, there are a few things to consider that can help you determine when the right time is to disclose your salary. 

First and foremost, it’s important to understand the company’s hiring process. If the company has a set compensation range for the position, it may be best to wait until you receive an offer before disclosing your salary expectations. This allows you to negotiate from a position of strength and ensures that you’re not lowballing yourself. 

On the other hand, if the company has already disclosed the compensation range or if you’re working with a recruiter who has asked for your desired compensation, it may be necessary to disclose your salary expectations earlier in the process. Be transparent about your current or desired salary. Also, be clear about what other factors are important to you, such as benefits or work-life balance. 

Ultimately, the key is to strike a balance between being open and honest about your compensation expectations. It’s also important to demonstrate your value and negotiating power. Remember that the salary question is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to landing your dream job. You can navigate the salary question with confidence by doing your research, understanding your worth, and presenting yourself in the best light possible. By following these steps, you can come out on top. 

How Does this Question Benefit Hiring Managers? 

Asking about your expected salary is crucial during the hiring process. It gives HR professionals insight into your compensation expectations. This information is valuable for several reasons. Firstly, it helps them determine if you’re a good fit for the position. If your salary expectations are too high or too low, they may consider other candidates who fit their budget better. 

Secondly, knowing your desired salary is important. It allows employers to design a competitive compensation package. This will help them attract and retain top talent. They can understand the compensation expectations of candidates in their industry and market. Then, they can design a package that meets their needs and expectations. It will also be competitive with other companies in the industry. 

Overall, the question about salary expectations benefits hiring managers. It provides them with important information that can help them make informed decisions. It also ensures that both parties are on the same page when it comes to salary. This can help to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications down the line. Additionally, it allows hiring managers to design competitive compensation packages. 

Related Read: Understanding the Salary Slip

Wrapping Up  

The question “What are your salary expectations?” is a common one in job interviews, but it can be a tricky one to answer. Candidates may be hesitant to disclose their salary expectations early in the hiring process. This could be due to discomfort or concern about undervaluing themselves.

Giving a salary number too soon may also be a worry for candidates. To answer this question well, choose the right approach. Giving a range instead of a specific number can avoid lowballing yourself while still giving the interviewer an idea of what you want.

Ultimately, by choosing the right approach and doing your research, you can confidently answer the question “What are your salary expectations?” and negotiate a fair salary package.

Frequently Asked Questions

Give an example of answering what are your salary expectations. 

Example of answering “what are your salary expectations”: “I am looking for a salary in the range of ₹600,000 to ₹700,000, depending on the specific responsibilities of the position and the benefits package offered.” 

How should freshers answer their salary expectations in an interview?  

Freshers should conduct research on the industry and job market rates for the position. They should also take into account their education and experience. This will help them provide a more realistic salary expectation. They can also provide a range instead of a specific number to avoid lowballing themselves or pricing themselves out of the position. 

What is the best answer to what are your salary expectations? 

The best answer to “what are your salary expectations?” is one that is honest and realistic, yet flexible. Providing a range, backed by research, can show professionalism and negotiation skills.

How to avoid answering exact salary expectations? 

Candidates can avoid answering exact salary expectations by asking questions. They can ask about the employer’s budget. They can also ask about the roles and responsibilities of the position. These questions can be asked before discussing salary. They can also provide a range instead of a specific number, and emphasize their willingness to negotiate. 

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