How to Answer Salary Interview Questions

You could be nailing your job interview and you could have the interviewer eating out of the palm of your hand. But when you’re asked a salary question, you suddenly freeze; you start sweating, and you proceed to make unintelligible sounds.

Salary questions are tough because they touch upon sensitive information, and while you wouldn’t want to appear as cocky and ask too much, you definitely don’t want to ask for less than what you believe you deserve.

To help you out, we’ve compiled this how-to guide with the most frequent salary questions and the best ways to answer them.

See Also: Higher Salary

1. What Are Your Salary Expectations?

“I’d be satisfied with anything close to a million if I’m being honest with you.’

No, don’t be honest with them; don’t tell them anything of the sort. We all dream of being millionaires and not having to work another day of our lives, but your future boss does not need to be reminded of that.

If you can, postpone answering this question by asking more information on the position and its responsibilities. However, if the hiring manager keeps pressing you for an answer, make sure that you provide a range rather than an exact number. Make sure that you are comfortable with the numbers in that range because you don’t want to be rewarded for your humility with a salary below your expectations.

Do your research beforehand, and find out what the industry standard is. It’s also a good idea to do a little research on the company itself to see what they usually pay.

2. What Did You Earn at Your Last Job?


Hiring managers tend to offer just a shade higher of your last salary, should you reveal it. So, it’s really best if you keep that private information, well, private. It’s not like they need it to decide what they’re going to offer you, anyway. The budget for the position you’re applying has already been decided.

Avoid answering that question by giving them your range; if they are persistent, tell them that your last position and responsibilities were very different to your potential ones, so there’s really no use in comparing.

Make sure that you remain positive throughout this bit of the conversation because you don’t want to appear to be hostile. Make a joke or two if possible, and keep the tone of conversation friendly.

3. Would You Accept a Position That Paid Less Than What You Used to Make?

American Hustle

You would, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it, right?

There are a lot of reasons why an employee would consider a job that paid less: maybe it’s because it’s their dream job; maybe the rest of the benefits package is better; maybe they’d like to have a more fulfilling role; or maybe it’s to do with the fact that you’ve lost your job and you’ve been unable to find something else that pays what you used to earn. Whatever the case, you shouldn’t feel like you need to apologize for making a downward step on the financial end.

Make sure that you explain to the hiring manager the reasons for wanting to join their company and explain that if your work will be valued, then you wouldn’t mind – too much – making this downward shift.

CV Writing Services
CV Writing Services

See Also: 3 Steps To Check If You Are Being Paid Enough

While we’d all be much happier if we received enough money to satisfy our crazy needs and wants, the truth is that it’s also important to do a job you love and be in an environment where you feel part of the community.

It’s important that you make the hiring manager realize that, although you’d like to be fairly compensated for your work, money is not all that’s on your mind. After all, that’s the way forward if you aim at getting hired.

What about you? What are some answers you’ve given to interview salary questions? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments section below!