Interview Question: Discussing Salary and Salary Expectations


If the interviewer asks you this question, it is a good sign.   The interviewer is trying to gauge whether the salary for the position that you are interviewing for will be in line with your expectations.  The interviewer may also be trying to gauge how realistic you are in your expectations.  If you set out unrealistic goals or salary that is not in line with the position, you may be weeded out very quickly.

Getting the right salary is key since it is the starting point for all future raises and the salary at your next job.    The employers’ job is to get you at the lowest price possible and your job is to get the fairest price.   So make sure that you are well prepared to answer this question.   Be realistic and do your homework so that you are familiar with industry and regional trends.  This will also insure that you do not undersell yourself.

Interview Question:   

What is your current salary?  What are your salary expectations?

How to answer this Interview Question?

Current Salary discussion in an Interview

In terms of answering the question regarding your current salary, be honest as your salary will most likely be verified.   Also present your total compensation to the employer which would include any bonuses and fringe benefits.


Discussing Salary Expectations in an Interview –

The second part of the interview question regarding your salary expectations is a bit tricky.  If you cite a salary too low, you may seem desperate and if you quote a salary that is too high you may be eliminated from further consideration.

Some options to tackle this situation are:

  1. Mention that salary is not your primary concern.  You are more interested in the job profile and feel that it is a type of position that you are looking for.   And then ask the recruiter what is the salary range for the position.
  2. Mention that you expecting a fair compensation that is comparable to the market for a similar positions and similar experience levels.

Try not to throw out a figure.  But if you are pushed in a corner, give a realistic figure that is slightly higher than the salary that you would be willing to accept.  This also leaves room for negotiation at your end.