What Are Your Salary Expectations?

Job Interview Question & Answer: What Kind of Salary Do You Need?

The Purpose of the Question

Questions like this help interviewers quickly decide which candidates to remove from the recruitment pool. Rate of pay or salary amount typically comes up at some point during the hiring process. Asking about hourly wages gives both parties a chance to learn each other’s needs.

Research and Prepare

While preparing for a job interview, a helpful tip is to research the normal pay for the position. Based on factors like experience and location, salaries fluctuate, so these serve as approximate figures. Though entry-level openings often hire at minimum wage, there could be room to work out a higher starting pay.

How to Answer “What Are Your Salary Expectations?”

It is important to address interview questions naturally and honestly. If a hopeful has previous experience or ideal availability, it may prove fruitful to ask slightly above the average pay rate. Asking for too much or too little sometimes hurts applicants’ chances for employment. It always helps to show flexibility as well.

Potential Answers

“What kind of salary do you need?” might be a scary question to hear at a job interview. The examples below provide some ideas to consider. Be sure to create your own response, though. Lying shows poor character and will likely result in dismissal. Possible answers include:

Sample Answer 1 – New Workers

“For my first job, I am happy to work for minimum wage. I will do my best to prove myself to you, and in time I think my abilities can lead me toward promotions and raises.”

Sample Answer 2 – Seasoned Applicants

“In my last job, I made around $10.00 per hour. I’d like to stay around that hourly wage. I believe it is a realistic number given my experience, but I am flexible.”

Sample Answer 3 – Management Positions

“I would prefer my salary to stay near what it was at my last job. I feel confident that my talents justify the amount. However, depending on benefits and healthcare coverage, I am willing to negotiate.”


Before the interview, look up common pay rates for the job. Use this to get an idea of a number to suggest. It might be worthwhile to ask for a bit more, but avoid going too high or low. Be prepared to defend the request by mentioning knowledge or skills. Keep these things in mind and you’ll be ready when asked “What kind of salary do you expect?”

7 user comments:

  1. JenJen

    I agree with you Lana. It is a tough question. I believe I would simply say “I would really like to make such such a week so I know I am able to pay my bills and not have to worry about not having money to put food on the table, clothes on my (or kids) back, or being late on bills because I do not make enough.”
    would that be good?

  2. Lisa Saffell

    Starting off as minum wage if it is a franchise but would like a raise if I have been there for long enough or if my talents suceed what there expectations are.

  3. Markymark

    I would probably say that; “Based on my experience, training that I have as well as my research based on the industry standards, I would feel comfortable with top 25 percentile of your company’s pay range for the position.”

  4. sharon morales

    when i was being asked salary expectations,i say equal to minimum wage or more

  5. Scott

    ALWAYS defer this question. Say “let’s talk a little more about the position first and then we will discuss salary”. Then hope the interviewer does NOT bring it back up.

  6. angela

    Scott, I would agree with you but so many prospective employers now really push for an answer. Not to sound old (I’m 39) but I remember a time when pay wasn’t even discussed until the job offer was extended. It’s a different market now, that’s for sure. I’m one of the long-term unemployed (laid off from a professional job) and trying to find ANY type of work. I recently interviewed for a position I know wouldn’t pay anywhere what I used to make but I would be happy to have it. The employer kept pushing me for an exact hourly rate I wouldn’t go less than. This was tough for me because 1) I had no experience in this field and 2) I haven’t earned an hourly rate since college.

  7. faby

    This is certainly a very tough question. On one side I wouldn’t want to market myself too high, because it happened to me, and I was not considered anymore for this reason. On the other side if I market myself too low, they’ll take me immediately, so I’ll be the lowest paid for the job, which sucks. Honestly, it’s an unfair question. I remember not long ago when the opening came with the salary from the start, so I would apply knowing the salary from the begining.


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