Remote Skills

How To Answer Salary Expectations Question During An Interview + Examples

Your job interview went well, you presented your background, your experiences, the recruiter described the company, the position, the work environment. Everything is going for the best. We are starting to reach the interview time. And suddenly the question falls: "What are your salary expectations?"

Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy there's vomit on your sweater already,… And you know that your answer is decisive for the rest of the recruitment process.

Why HR Brings Up The Topic Of Salary Expectations

This is a question that we advise you to prepare beforehand since it is very likely to be asked during the recruitment interview. In this question, the recruiter will seek to know what your salary expectations are, in order to determine whether the budget he has provisioned is in line with your expectations. In addition, he seeks to know if you will be fulfilled and motivated, by the remuneration that he will offer you thereafter.

There is also a negotiation dimension, since if you ask for an amount lower than the amount budgeted by the recruiter, he may then make you a lower proposal, aligned with your salary demand. This is a possibility for the recruiter to save money. Be careful, type high enough in your request not to face disappointments. This is what we will see in the next part.

Take the example of Marc, a technician recruited by an SME with less than 50 employees to complete its network maintenance team (non-managerial employee). Marc receives a net salary of € 2,000 each month, his gross salary thus amounting to just over € 2,500. In addition, there are employer contributions owed by the company: with a rate of 32%, they amount to nearly € 3,400 each month for this amount of remuneration. It is therefore easy to understand why any employer remains very vigilant about the remuneration that he pays to his employees. At the slightest whim, he can quickly sink into debt. Hence the importance of the question of wage expectations.

Estimate Your Annual Salary In Advance

It is important to prepare for your job interview by estimating a precise salary range; that matches your skills, the position you are applying for, and your experience. Your former remuneration is also taken into account in this estimate since it determines your salary expectations. If you have followed training in the meantime, this can also enhance the level of remuneration to which you can aspire. All these elements will be your arguments in the event of negotiation.

So find out about the salaries applied to your level of position, in order to have an idea of ​​the gross amount that you can negotiate. This estimate must take into account the sector of activity in which you are applying, since positions with equivalent qualifications may be remunerated differently depending on the branch. It is important to have a clear idea of ​​what you can claim so that you can give an adequate and reasonable response to your recruiter if he asks you for your claims.

To do this, consult salary studies by sector of activity which will most often show salaries by type of position and level of experience. You can also consult online job offers, which give you a fairly precise idea of ​​the intentions of companies. Finally, mobilize your network and your relationships to be aware of practices in this area. Once informed, you can approach the interview with serenity and confidence.

Knowing How To Negotiate Your Salary During An Interview

Salary negotiation is an essential step in any recruitment interview, as is the personality test for example. While you don't want her to frighten you, it is nonetheless necessary to approach her in a professional manner. Thus, to the question " What are your salary expectations?" ", Avoid answering with" How much do you offer me? ".

Salary Negotiation: Speak The Same Language

Any effective negotiation is based on tangible and measurable facts. Instead of passing the buck to the other person, state your salary expectations based on concrete elements, as we saw in the first key tip. In addition, a recruiter usually knows the average salary in your industry.

Moreover, to affirm does not mean to impose. We have also seen it previously, it is important to leave the door open to discussion and to a frank and constructive exchange: for this, the salary range is your best ally.

To speak the same language as the recruiter, also make sure to reason in annual gross salary (not monthly net), which is the norm. Likewise, the fixed salary should be distinguished from the variable part. Indeed, in addition to your salary, performance-related bonuses, annual bonuses or a possible 13th month are the variable part of the salary items. The fixed salary added to the variable is commonly called the remuneration package.

Highlight Your Professional Strengths

When announcing your target salary range, it is a good idea to do a short checklist of the key skills you have. This is all the better if they correspond to those requested for the position in question.

To highlight the suitability of your profile for the position, you can start from the skills required which are listed in the advertisement. You then state your degree of mastery for each of them, based on factual examples. This method will make you score points for sure.

Also, make sure you turn your weaknesses into strengths. For example, you can explain how a particular personal experience has indirectly enabled you to acquire one of the skills sought for the position. Or, you can justify your inexperience with great adaptability and a thirst for learning. The idea is to have arguments to enhance your profile and to prevent your interlocutor from lowering your claims.

Take Into Account The Additional Benefits

Knowing how to negotiate your interview salary also involves negotiating different bonuses. These are possible additions to the basic remuneration. They take the form of bonuses and incentives, but also a participation in the profit made by the company. Also consider evaluating any social benefits, such as a company car, flexible hours, or the ability to work from home. In this category, let us also quote the advantages of a mutual or an exceptional works council or a number of days of RTT beyond the standard of the sector.

All of these elements must be evaluated as part of your decision-making to accept or not a salary proposal. In addition, it is always interesting to recontextualize the position to take into account the professional opportunities it opens up for you. For example :

Is the business sector of the company promising?

What are the prospects for development?

Are there any pieces of training offered?

My future manager will he or will she make me progress?

The atmosphere at work is it good?

If You Are Lost In Formulating An Answer, Here Are Some Examples :

These sample answers can be adapted to suit your own specific situation and should only be used as a guide when formulating your own answer.

During The Interview

• Based on my past experience, qualifications, and market research, I believe a salary of € 4000 to € 4500 would be an appropriate amount for the position.

• I expect to receive an industry-standard salary for a mid-level candidate wishing to join your teams

• Based on my research and the information you provided, a salary of € 5,000 with additional benefits would be acceptable.

• Although my salary scale is flexible, I am confident that I will be compensated fairly for my skills and experience. I am ready to discuss specific numbers once we discuss the details of the position.

By Email

When you need to express your salary claims by email, you need to be extremely specific. Here is an example of an email sent in response to a recruiter.


Dear XXXX,

I am writing to you in response to your previous email asking me for my salary expectations for the position of director of the communication unit within your company. In view of my skills and qualifications, I believe that a gross annual salary of between € 40,000 and € 50,000 would be justified. This amount will obviously depend on working hours and job requirements.



Bad Advice Not To Follow ...

Some will tell you that to answer this question, you have to take your current salary and apply for a 10% increase. So firstly this bad advice can only be followed if you have already had a 1st salary, and secondly, applying a 10% increase is totally absurd. Indeed, if you read the article correctly, companies do not apply the same “compensation package”.

Imagine that you ask 10% to a company that offers you elements that you did not have in your old company (annual premiums, 13th month, company vehicle…), it would be inappropriate to ask for 10%.

What If You Are Not Asked The Question?

If the point of remuneration is not addressed at the end of the first physical or telephone interview, we advise you to address it yourself, especially if you suspect that there may be a gap, between your expectations and what the company would like to pay. This strategy will allow you to avoid going through an interview loop, and ultimately not reaching an agreement with the employer. Knowing that going through an interview loop has constraints: it's preparation upstream, time to get to the interviews, and sometimes money - if you have to take time off, where you physically move to another city, or abroad.