How to Talk About Salary Expectations in a Job Interview

Posted by Fed Finance Canada in Our employment advice
Posted at 26/06/2023
How to Talk About Salary Expectations in a Job Interview
“What are your salary expectations?”

This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult questions to answer in a job interview. Unfortunately, it can't be avoided, especially if it is the hiring manager who is asking you directly!

It is possible, however, to be prepared with an appropriate answer, and spare yourself the stress of being caught off guard when the subject of desired salary comes up. Here are a few tips from our finance recruitment agency to help you prepare a good response to common interview questions about salary expectations.

Think ahead about salary expectations

To be in the best position to answer a question, you need to prepare yourself in advance. We can't stress this enough in our articles: there are some questions you just need to prepare for, every time!

To be convincing and poised when asked about salary expectations, here are the points you need to have thought about and researched in advance:

  • The position you are applying for and the current market situation
  • Your own skills and level of experience in the field
  • The salary possibilities offered by the company

Let's take a closer look!

Evaluate the job within the current market

Take a look at the job market to determine how saturated it is, and which occupations are most in demand. Your assessment should also consider the company's location, the number of employees working there and whether it's privately or publicly owned.

You should also learn what the current salary range is for the finance job - or any other type of job - that you're applying for. This will give you a better idea of the type of salary you could earn. Browse other companies' job postings and see what salaries are on offer.

There's a lot of information online that can help you compare your application with those of other people with a similar profile, which can also help you get an idea of what type of salary to expect.

Assess your skills to determine your salary expectations

To talk about salary expectations in an interview, you first need to assess your level of education and your accumulated experience and skills. This will also give you a good idea of how to describe yourself in an interview, which is an essential step before discussing your salary expectations.

Be aware of your strengths. Be confident in describing the positive aspects of your career path and the skills you can bring to the company. This will help you justify a request for a higher salary, because if the company sees that you can make a significant contribution to achieving its objectives, it will be more than happy to match your expectations. It's all about adding value, so that everyone benefits.

Consider your financial needs and professional goals

It's also important to think about your own financial needs and short- and long-term career goals. Everyone has unique responsibilities and hopes, which can influence salary expectations. It's crucial to strike a balance between demanding a competitive salary and accepting an acceptable level of pay to achieve your personal goals.

Remember, if you want your future job to be fulfilling, it has to enable you to maintain an acceptable standard of living, otherwise you may well regret your decision.

Examine working conditions and other benefits

When you work for a company, you don't just receive a salary or paycheck. You are also entitled to various benefits, including vacation days and other perks. If you're looking for a full-time job and the salary offered is less than you'd hoped to earn, you can ask for other privileges, like flexible working hours or permission to telecommute from time to time (if this is not already offered).

Consider whether the company offers benefits, opportunities for advancement, and the chance to further your professional training. Does the company promote well-being at work? An attractive total compensation package can make up for a slightly lower base salary. It's important to discuss all these aspects during salary negotiations. Once you've familiarized yourself with a job's extra benefits, you can decide whether these perks compensate for a lower salary.

How to answer "What are your salary expectations?"

Imagine you’re in the middle of an interview with a recruiter. The question of salary comes up and you are asked to talk about a salary range that you'd be happy with.

Make sure that the range is broad enough to allow for negotiation, but precise enough to show that you've made a thorough assessment. Since it’s likely that the employer will offer you the lowest salary you propose, make sure your minimum figure is not too small.

Your lowest amount shouldn't be too high either: coming across as greedy can scare off recruiters. If you state high salary expectations for the job, make sure you justify your request by convincingly presenting your skills and expertise beforehand.

How to broach the subject of salary in an interview

If the recruiter doesn't mention salary during the job interview, you can introduce the subject appropriately. It's entirely legitimate to do so, and it won't make you look petty if you do it at the right time and in the right way. You're not working for free, and if a recruiter reacts badly to a question about salary, that should be a red flag. You might have just saved yourself some time!

Ideally, wait until the recruiter has finished asking questions about your skills, experience and suitability for the job before broaching the subject of salary. This shows that you're interested in the opportunity first, and that you want to make sure you're the right candidate before discussing compensation.

Even if the recruiter has not asked specific questions to this end, make sure you’ve managed to describe the skills, experience and the good qualities you can bring to the company before bringing up the topic of remuneration. Once you've established a good dynamic with the recruiter and you've had a chance to discuss the position, show your interest by asking questions about the company, the team, the company culture, prospects for growth and so on. Now is the time to talk about salary by asking an open-ended question, for example, "Could you give me information on the salary range associated with this position?"

By following these tips, you can broach the subject of salary in a professional and open way during a job interview, even if the recruiter doesn't address it directly.

Fed Finance helps candidates prepare for interviews

The question of how to talk about salary during a job interview will always pose a challenge. If you aren’t ready, it can be difficult to tackle this topic with confidence. If you bet too high, you could find yourself out of the running. If you’re willing to work for too little, you could end up with an unattractive salary. It's important to be well prepared!

The Fed Finance team can offer you sound job search advice so that you are ready to present your best self at interviews. Feel free to contact us and benefit from the knowledge and experience of our specialized consultants.

If you're a candidate for a job in accounting or finance, get in touch! We welcome spontaneous applications! 😊