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How to Answer “What Are Your Salary Expectations?”

The topic of pay may be the most delicate question, but it is also the most looked forward to. Hiring managers will bring up the topic of pay scale definitely at some point of time in the interview process. The question “what are your salary expectations?” is a direct question which is asked and can generally put the candidate under stress. But, fret not! You can manage this by preparing answers to this question.

Why Do Employers Ask About Your Salary Expectations?

The hiring managers usually ask this question for the below reasons.

Budget Constraints- They have a particular amount of budget allocated for each job profile. They want to align your expectations with it, and if not, then they will request for a higher budget.

Gauging Your Worth- They usually put forth this question to see how much value you give yourself and your skills along with your experience and other achievements.

Professional Level- If you quote a figure towards the lower end it could indicate you’re a candidate with a lower experience level than is required and vice-versa when you quote a higher figure, you may come across as someone senior.

This is where the salary negotiation process starts.

How To Answer “What Is Your Salary Expectation” Question?

Offer a range. If you aren’t comfortable in quoting an exact figure, the safer way to approach this will be to offer a range instead. The range will have a lower and ceiling amount and you’ve to make sure the lower amount is close to what you need, because recruiters may opt for the lower value of your range. Also, don’t keep your range values very wide but keep them within a difference of INR 5000 t0 INR 10,000.

Ask for fringe benefits. In addition to what you’re getting paid, there may be benefits, perks and other forms of compensation that the organization may provide you with. These fringe benefits and perks are just as worthy and the recruiter may add these in order to make the pay package up to your expectations and make it more appealing for you.

Choose not to answer it. It may so happen that you’re still early on in the hiring process and still waiting to get to know more about the job role specifics and so you can deflect the question stating the same. But keep in mind, you’ll have to discuss this eventually down the line. So it’s always better, that you research the position well and have a figure in mind from the beginning itself.

Be confident and aim high. Always pad your expectations with a buffer amount and make that as your lower amount in the range you quote. Remember to also sound confident when you quote your figure so that the recruiter knows you’re not settling for something really low.



Board Infinity is an online peer to peer career coaching platform for higher education students.

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