written by | April 29, 2022

How to Answer “What Are Your Salary Expectations?”

One of the most important questions asked during an interview for recruiting an employee is the pay. Whether there is an initial phone screening, remote interview, or physical interview, recruiters initially may discuss this topic to ensure that the candidate is affordable for the company. It is the most common question, "What is your expected compensation?". This question is part of almost every interview, irrespective of the job profile and company. Further, you are required to be very careful while answering this question. When asked about your salary expectations, you have to ensure that you are approachable salary-wise while also not appearing too affordable, as your salary sets your worth to the company. It can be the turning point when the interviewer decides whether you are fit for the job. Sometimes it can be embarrassing, confusing, and stressful to talk about money. The key to acing this topic is preparing for it before an interview.

Did You Know?

Almost 85% of the people lie on their CVs to get the job, and the interview process lasts 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Why Do Employers Ask About Salary Expectations?

There are many reasons for asking specifically what your salary expectations are. 

The basic purpose behind the discussion about money is as follows: 

  • The company has a specific amount calculated for the job profile: The interviewer wants to know about your salary expectations and whether this compensation expected from your side aligns with the amount the company is willing to spend for the job profile.
  • What do you know about your worth: Another main reason for asking this question is to know how well you know your worth based on your skillset. It is also a test to see if you have enough confidence to ask for it during the interview.
  • The interviewer wants to make sure that you are at an appropriate level professionally: Often, the interviewer asks what your salary compensation is? If you are asking for an amount that is significantly higher than the amount expected by other candidates, you may be a senior for the job role. However, if you expect a salary lower than other candidates, you are less experienced than others for the specific job role.

Also Read: Complete Arrears Guide - Arrears Meaning, Calculation, Tax on Arrear Salary

How to Research Job Salaries

While preparing for an interview, one of the most crucial aspects you are required to research is the salaries. Based on the data, it would help if you find a figure that you feel comfortable with. 

You have to make sure that the salary expectations vary depending upon career level, geographical location, experience, and company. While searching for the expected salary range for a specific job profile, don't forget to consider the cost of living in the area where the company is located and the job role. If you are applying for a job role in Los Angeles, it is expected to be higher than India's job role. 

There are many factors responsible for salary expectation; these are: 

  • Seniority
  • Experience Level
  • Your unique skill sets.
  • Educational background 
  • You can research the questions for the best answer for salary negotiation or salary expectation.

Best Answer for Salary Negotiation

What are your salary expectations? The best answer to this question must have a few elements. Here are some suggestions to help you answer this question better than others.

Provide a Range of Expected Salary

If you are the one who feels uncomfortable or unsure about providing a single figure as your salary expectation, then you can provide a range instead. It would help if you made this range, keeping in mind that the interviewer may prefer the lower end. Thus make sure to keep your target at the bottom. For example, if your ideal figure is ₹50,000 per month, the answer must be, "I am seeking a position with a salary ranging between ₹50,000 to ₹60,000 per month."

Include Options for Negotiation

Candidates are also provided other benefits and salaries in forms of compensation that you may consider valuable. Thus you must include these as an available option for negotiation. Sometimes, when recruiters may not have the budget to align with your salary expectations, they may offer equity to make the package seem more attractive to you. For example, "I am looking for a salary ranging between ₹50,000 to ₹60,000 per month"; however, I may negotiate depending upon different opportunities such as benefits and bonuses. 

Deflect the Question at Your Convenience

When asked about salary expectations, you must deliver your answer after analysing certain factors as a fresher. Being a fresher means that you are still learning about the job's specifics, so your answer must be to deflect the conversation. However, keep in mind that you may deflect the topic but cannot skip it, and eventually, you have to discuss the same. For example, "I would like to understand the job profile better so that I can answer this question more efficiently with realistic expectations".

“What Is Your Salary Expectation?” Sample Answers

To help you answer this tricky question efficiently, here are some sample answers for salary expectations so that you can determine a suitable answer.

Example 1

"I would like to examine the job position and the responsibilities before discussing this topic. I would also like to understand what is expected from me while working with the organisation. I have worked in a similar position before; I know that this role has to be played efficiently and I would be expected to complete important tasks. So we can certainly settle down on a number."

Example 2

"My salary requirements are somewhere ranging between ₹80,000 to ₹90,000. I strongly believe that the expertise and value I would be achieving while performing this role will support my expectations."

Example 3

"First of all, thank you for asking me. I strongly feel that a salary between ₹80,000 to ₹90,000 per month is befitting as per the industry average and my skills and experience. However, I am open to knowing about company compensation for the job role."

Also Read: What Is A Salary Slip? Why Is It Important? What Is It's Format?

Tips to Determine and Communicate Salary Expectations

When asked, "what are your salary expectations?" It is quite normal to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed during the interview process, especially when you are a fresher and hesitant about sharing your ideal salary expectation for the first time. To ensure that your conversation goes smoothly and you get your expected salary, here are some tips:

  • Don't forget to aim higher after researching; you'll learn about the average salary for the job profile. While taking an interview, recruiters mostly start with the lowest salary as that is more profitable for the company. You have to tackle this situation smartly by providing your ideal figure at the lowest end. Thus even if the interviewer offers you the lowest end, you get your ideal salary.
  • Confidence is the key. The major aspect you need for acing an interview is confidence. As most recruiters are interested in the way, you deliver your answer. If you are confident enough to show your worthiness by being open to negotiation, you will achieve what you deserve.
  • You must have reasons to explain. You must also have quite obvious and acceptable reasons for how you arrived at the expected figure. Keep in mind not to get too detailed while explaining. Even if you expect a figure higher than the local average, do not quote an amount that is too high. It could result in considering you overqualified by the employer.


Whenever an employer asks you what your salary expectations are, you must be ready with a well-formulated, prepared, and data-backed answer as it ensures you are not below or above the market value. Thus, giving an honest answer would help the recruiter analyse whether you are affordable for the company and, if yes, what would be the expected salary from your end. 

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Q: Stepwise guide on how to choose a salary range?


You are required to follow a few steps to choose a salary range.

Step 1: First, you must research the current salary in the job market as per the role you have applied for.

Step 2: You must relocate expenses in the salary you are requesting.

Step 3: The final step is to choose a salary range as it is better to provide the recruiter with a salary range than providing an arbitrary figure.

Q: What is the best answer for a salary negotiation?


An ideal answer for what is your expected compensation depends completely on you. However, you can frame an answer such as, "I expect a salary in line with my skills and experience. This job is the right fit for me, and I expect a pay that is consistent with the present job market."

Q: What is your salary expectation sample answer for freshers?


Salary expectations for a fresher may differ from an experienced person. If you are a fresher, discussing money may be your weakest point. To tackle this problem, you can frame an answer beforehand - "as I am a fresher, I need a big platform to kickstart my career to improve my knowledge, sharpen my skills, and gain experience. So salary isn't my priority, but I expect at least ₹50,000 monthly to fulfil my economic needs".

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