How to Answer the Salary Question During an Interview

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There is a decent chance that you will be asked about salary during an interview. This can be a bit tricky to navigate.  When you are asked how much you are seeking for the position, you could give a number that is too high and price yourself out of a job, or you could give a number too low and take away your ability to negotiate later. When it comes to answering questions in regards to salary, here are some good things to remember.

If You Can, Deflect

While it is important that you don’t deflect other questions in your job interview, when it comes to questions about salary and compensations, you may not know enough about the position at the interview stage to answer it intelligently. In that case, you can try to use the question to pivot to learning more from them. For example, a good answer may be:

“I’ve done some homework and I have a general market range in mind for the position but I understand you may have other internal factors to consider. What can you tell me about the compensation you are offering for this position?”

Instead of avoiding the question outright, you turned it back on the interviewer. Now, they can give you a salary number, if they choose to, and you can counter it at a later date.

If They Push, Be Ready

Deflection doesn’t always work when it comes to questions about salary, so it’s best to be ready with an answer. This means that before your interview, you should do some research to determine the typical salary for the position in your area. Sites like Salary.com and Glassdoor can help with this. You may also be able to ask your contacts that work in the company or in similar types of companies or industries. This way when you are asked in the meeting you can answer like this:

“From the research that I have done it appears that a position as you have described it would typically pay in the range of $60-70K in this geographic area. It that the range you had in mind?”

By presenting them with this information, it doesn’t just answer the question, but it also shows that you have done your homework.

If You Were Sent By A Staffing Company, Let Them Know

If you were sent by a staffing company, such as AppleOne, refer them to your Hiring Advisor for any question about salary. When asked about salary, you can answer like this:

“AppleOne has asked me to allow them to address any questions related to salary. I can tell you that they know my range and what I am looking for, and I know that they would not have arranged this interview if there were any concerns about that.”

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