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"what Are Your Salary Expectations?"how Do I Handle The Interview Question?

By Author: Sophie Kaul
Total Articles: 24

Who does not like more money? All of us do.But remember that this is one of the most critical questions and needs to be handled with kid gloves because the response to this Q can, at times, be a ‘deal breaker’. Please bear in mind that the situation is similar to you, liking a product in a shop but it’s ‘price’ does remain a ‘deciding factor’ in your purchase.

The following are some ‘factors’ which need to be taken into account while devising your response to this Question. If anyone or multiple of these factors hold true, your salary expectations will have to be worked around accordingly.

• Is the offer your ‘dream job’?
• Is the ‘job profile’ very exciting and does it meet your career goals?
• Does it offer ‘career prospects’ which your current job does not?
• Do you bring some ‘unique’ capability, skill and/or experience to the job which other candidates would not possess?
• Are you getting back to a corporate job after a ‘career break’?
• Are you currently ‘jobless’?
• Have you made ‘too frequent job changes’ and is this an opportunity for a ‘course correction’?
• Are you ‘shifting to a different domain’, say from Sales to marketing or from HR to BD and so on?
• Are you ‘relocating’ to another city due to personal reasons?

Once you have accounted for the above, then there are certain DO’s and DON’Ts which can be used as ‘guidelines’ to negotiate better.


1] ‘Make the first move’ by mentioning your expectations at the ‘first instance’ when the Q is asked (you will set a benchmark in the mind of the interviewer which might become a barrier for further negotiation).
2] ‘Undersell’ yourself by saying that whatever the employer finds appropriate, it will be OK with you (they might offer you compensation lower than your current).
3] ‘Share anything without documents’ about your current compensation. You need to produce proper paper work as a ‘back up’ (it can become an integrity issue and by perception may close the door).
4] ‘Assume’ that because there is a budget available with the company, you can ask for the lowest side of the budget taking it to a 50 to 60 % hike (you will be pricing yourself out of the job ).
5] ‘Penalize’ the prospective employer by asking for an ‘unrealistic’ increase just because you did not get a raise in your current company for the past 2 years. (one needs to be realistic).


1] ‘First focus’ on ‘selling your candidature’ as the most suitable candidate before entering into a discussion on salary expectation ( once the full value of the product is appreciated by the buyer, only the pricing needs to be discussed).
2] ‘Homework’ through the respective Recruitment Agency to find out what is the ‘pay scale or budget’ to get an idea so that you do not over quote when required.
3] ‘Throw the ball in employer’s court’ .......Tactfully let the prospective employer make the ‘first move’ of sharing an indicative range of offer (you can then use it as a base for negotiation ).
4] ‘Play hard’......In case the interviewer is very insistent on knowing your expectation, then you may mention something like “You have evaluated me in terms of fitment and am sure the company has a budget. Besides the excitement which role offers, I would need motivation in terms of compensation too. You know my current compensation and it would be mutually beneficial if you can share with me at what scale do you think I fit in? “
] ‘One in a million’.....In case you bring ‘unique’ expertise to the job either in terms of experience or skill sets and are able to assess/ establish the aspect during the interview process, you may ask for a compensation which can be higher than market standards.

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