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Interview Question – How to Answer “What are your salary expectations?”

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salary expectation

You are all set to attend your first job interview. Good. But are you geared up with a solid answer to the most dreaded question of all HR interview questions – the ‘Salary Expectation’ question? Instead of blurting out a random figure as your answer to the HR, we would like you to do your homework well. The figure you propose should be backed with a strong logic and clean calculations.

Remember, a ‘wrong’ answer might cost you the job, for you may come off as a very low-priced or as an expensive hire. By the way, did you know your salary is only a single part of your overall compensation? So, play smart.

In this article, you will find some well-researched professionally crafted answers. Tweak and use them to tackle your salary expectation HR interview question with ease.

Sample Answer 1: When you are filling out an online application.

“My salary expectation for this job role or position in particular, is negotiable. I would prefer to discuss the exact number some time later, preferably during a face-to-face interaction. But before that, I would like to have a brief idea about your budget for the job role.”

Sample Answer 2: During your initial interview round(s).

“I did come up with a number, after skimming through the job description you shared with me earlier. I am hoping that this number will establish a baseline for the final negotiation towards the end of our discussion. As a result, I would like to reveal that number later. As of now, I would want to keep my options open and hear you out first.”

Be prepared to tackle the very next HR interview question – Why should we hire you?

Sample Answer 3: Initial response during an HR interview round.

“I am particularly curious about the salary grade for this position. Would it be possible for you to help me understand how you compensate your present employees? It would be really helpful if you could tell me how much you used to pay my predecessor, who was in this role or a present employee in a similar position. This data will allow me to know how well my job role fits into your compensation structure.”

Sample Answer 4: A direct response during an HR interview

“What is the salary range you are planning to stick with. Is there a fixed midpoint for that grade? How well does this grade fit into your compensation system? Once I have all this data, I will have a better idea of how well this position fits into your structure. Only then I will get some assurance about my career plans.”

Sample Answer 5: An indirect and safe response during an HR interview

“I cannot reveal any numbers right now. Reason being, I am keen to know more about your company, the culture here, the work environment, detailed requirements of this job, and other such important considerations. I basically want to assess what kind of opportunity for growth I will get. Only then I will get a better idea about what my appropriate salary should look like.”

Sample Answer 6: A direct response that is followed by a number

“Could you please help me understand the total compensation package? I would like to evaluate the same before I give you a salary number. Also, what are your standard benefits like?”

Once you have their number:

“Well, I did carry out some research on my end as well. Based on it and also on the information you just gave me, I believe my salary should lie in the range of Rs. 5 lakhs per annum to Rs. 6 lakhs per annum. This should ideally be coupled with 21 days of paid leave as all other benefits you are offering, seem appropriate.”

Apply these salary negotiation tips to increase your first salary like a professional!

Apart from the salary structure, you will get more points to negotiate, depending on the other parts of total compensation given by your future employer. These parts are otherwise called benefits (for you) and they are a part of your overall CTC (cost to company), another expense, for your employer. You can prioritize your benefits to raise your compensation level above your expectations. Playing on points, such as these, can increase your salary and boost the value of doing your job for your to-be-employer.

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