Help! What do I say when asked about salary during an interview?

Dear Aunty,

Could you provide tips on what to say when you are asked about your salary expectations?

Thank you.

Aunty says,

This is a question that many people struggle with during an interview – it is also a very popular interview question. Knowing how to answer this question could be the difference between getting the job and not getting the job. I have therefore provided my 5 top tips on how to answer this question and provide some sample answers for you to examine.

1. Prepare in advance

Is there a salary or salary band mentioned in the job advert? Are there any other benefits included as part of a salary bracket?  If no information is provided, do some research into the marketplace.  Look at other jobs on and find similar jobs in order to compare the salary information provided. You could also ask friends and family who may be able to provide you with information.

2. Know what you want

Are your salary expectations realistic? Being informed and realistic about your salary expectation will enable you to be more confident when discussing salary during the interview. Try and work out in advance what salary you would want if offered the job.  Remember to consider benefits such as medical insurance, life insurance, pension, bonus or incentive schemes etc.

3. Know your own value

What value will you bring to the organisation? Demonstrating the value you can add to an organisation could help a prospective employer determine what salary to offer to you.  For example, you may be able to explain how you generated sales income of x peso or made cost savings of x peso in your previous role(s).  You should also consider how much competition there is for the job. If there is little competition then you will be in a stronger negotiating position.

4. Be honest

When you answer questions about your salary package in previous jobs be honest.  Remember that your salary can be verified through the references you provide to a prospective employer.  This said, do not forget to put a value on the benefits that you received.  For example, you may have received a lower salary in a previous job but it may be that you received additional benefits such as holidays, training and study.

5. Sample answers

Below are a few ways that you could answer questions about salary:

a) Consider turning the emphasis onto the employer by asking a question:

  • “What is the salary range for similar jobs in your company?”

b) Use the research you have done to produce an answer:

  • “Having researched the salary available for similar roles at other organisations and given my skills and experience, I believe that a salary in the region of X would be appropriate. Is that a similar figure to what you might offer.”

c) Use your current salary as a starting point:

  • “Currently I receive a salary in the region of X plus benefits. Given my skills and experience I believe that a salary in the region of X would be appropriate. Would that be appropriate for this role.”

d) With the knowledge of your expectations and the value you can add:

  • “In my previous role I increased sales by X generating income of X. As such, I believe that a salary in the range of X to X would be appropriate. How does this sound to you? 

If you are nervous that this salary range could be too high or low you could always add that this is subject to any additional benefits (i.e. working conditions, incentive payments, holidays, pension, insurance etc.).

I hope that this information will be of assistance to you and wish you all the best with your job search,


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