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Pay & Salary

How to Appropriately Answer a Desired Salary Question

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Why employers ask about your desired salaryHow to answer a desired salary questionExample answers for a desired salary question

Guide Overview

Answering a desired salary question

In the final stages of a job interview, an employer may ask you about your desired salary. This is the amount of money you would hope to make in this position. When determining what a fair salary is for a position you apply to, there are a few factors you need to consider. Here we explore how you can successfully answer a desired salary question and provide example answers you can use as inspiration.

Why employers ask about your desired salary

Employers ask about your desired salary to learn what kind of salary you’re anticipating. If they feel that what you are asking for is too high, they may try to negotiate a lower number. That’s why it’s important to know what your salary range is. You should start off with your desired salary and then mentally set a minimum salary. During this negotiation, you should be polite but also firm if you truly cannot accept a lower offer.

How to answer a desired salary question

Follow these steps to answer a desired salary question in an interview:

1. Research the position

Prior to your interview, learn as much as you can about the position and the company. Get to know your responsibilities, job requirements, and if they provide any information about the salary or benefits they may offer. Also, look up how much other professionals with the same job title are making. You can use Glassdoor’s salary and compensation search to learn what an average salary is in your area. Keep in mind that a salary for a specific job title can vary by geographical location, industry, and company.

2. Consider your lifestyle and expenses

When deciding what a fair salary is for yourself, think about what you can afford to live on. If one of your goals in finding a new job is to be paid more, also make that a part of your decision. Along with paying your monthly bills and other expenses, it’s best to have enough money to put into your savings account and hopefully have some left over for leisure and entertainment purposes.

3. Include your level of education and qualifications

The more education and experience you have, the more leverage you may have for negotiating a higher salary. When applying to jobs, make sure to look for ones that you are qualified for. If you apply for an entry-level job but have a master’s degree and five years of experience, you can’t expect an employer to be able to pay you a fair salary. Try to set your sights high rather than underestimating your value.

4. Create a salary range

Choose your desired salary and then create a range of salaries that you would accept. Remember, if an employer can’t meet your minimum salary requirement, then you may need to walk away. When creating this range, also consider the benefits the company offers. For example, you may be willing to accept a lower offer if they have outstanding healthcare coverage.

5. Negotiate their offer

When it’s time to finally answer the question, use all of your research and personal reflection as talking points. Explain why you deserve the salary you are asking for. If you feel that the job application didn’t give you enough information to determine your ideal salary, politely let the employer know. They will likely be open to answering more questions about the position. It’s okay if you let them know you need to think this information over and get back to them.

If you’re ready to give them a number, you can begin to negotiate. They may accept this number or they may shoot for a lower one. You need to decide what is best for yourself before accepting an offer. Too low of a salary may make it challenging to support your current lifestyle.

Example answers for a desired salary question

Use these example answers as inspiration when answering a desired salary question in an interview:

Example 1

In my current role, my salary is $45,000. Since starting this position, I have earned my master’s degree and developed my skill set. With these additional qualifications in mind, along with the more advanced responsibilities of this new position, I am asking for $60,000. I feel that this is an appropriate salary for someone with my credentials in a mid-level management position.

Example 2

As you know, I would have to move from San Antonio to Dallas for this position. Between the higher living expenses and moving expenses, along with my credentials, my ideal salary is $55,000. While researching salaries for this job title in the Dallas area, I found this to be a reasonable figure for someone with my experience and situation. The average range I found was $53,000 to $63,000, which makes my number feel fair to me.

Example 3

When applying for this role, I selected the salary range of $50,000 to $60,000. Upon learning more about this role and its requirements, I believe that $58,000 is an appropriate salary to ask for. I have the skills and qualifications for this role, I know that once I got acclimated to the company, I have even more room to grow. Along with this, I see that your application mentioned a potential sign-on bonus for employees willing to go on an annual company retreat. I would be quite interested in such an opportunity.

Example 4

My ideal salary is $60,000. I think this is fair compensation for the work I will be doing and for the experience I have. I am aware that this number is a bit steeper than the range you listed, which is why I am open to negotiation. Having a lot of flexibility is important to me as a parent, which is why I would possibly take a lower salary for additional paid time off. Feel free to think this request over, and we can discuss more of the details.

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