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What are your salary expectations belongs to one of the most popular interview questions. It is not the most polite question. However, we live in tough economic times. Employers try to save money where they only can.

When thinking about your answer to this question, you should always remember one thing: If the employer really likes your application, he will agree with you on the height of your salary. This is true especially when we talk about qualified positions, where it is difficult to find a replacement or even a single good person for the job.

On the other hand, situation differs if you apply for a manual job, such as assembly line work or possible any work in a small company. Small companies are often tight on budget. They can not afford to pay you high salary. People who never owned a business often struggle to see the real situation on a market. If a company has a nice website and operates in the office in a city center, it does not mean that the company is doing well…

At this point we come to an interesting conclusion: If you analyze what are your salary expectations question well, and prepare for it before an interview, it can often decide the interview for you. Let’s have a look at several case studies, so you can understand this better.


Case study one – job of a receptionist in small family hotel

It is extremely hard to choose the new receptionist even from few applicants, especially for a family hotel. Applicants have similar backgrounds and at the same time – hotel manager is most likely not an expert in recruiting.

That’s why they will put a strong emphasis on your salary expectations (but you must fulfill the basic requirements for the job of course). Taking this into account, it is a good idea to ask for slightly lower salary at the beginning. You should also mention that the salary is not the most important factor for you and that you like the atmosphere of family hotel.

After some time, once the guests are satisfied with you, you can easily ask for a raise.


Case study two – job of a sales representative

Sales recruitment is the most difficult one. To find a good salesman can be compared to finding a needle in haystack. Employers are aware of this fact. Therefor, if your interview goes well and you succeeded to present your sales skills to the employer, you should not be afraid of what are your salary expectations interview question.

In this case, you should ask for better salary, because you simply will get it. Company can not afford to let you go, even if your wish is 1.3 times higher as they expected. It is simply too difficult to find a good salesman to let you go.
As you can see, both scenarios are different. You should always think before the interview about the following questions:

  • How big is this company where I apply for a job?
  • How well are they doing in current economy?
  • Is is easy to find a good person for this position, or are my skills special?
  • You should also analyze the average salary in your region for this position.


Based on this information, you should be able to answer what are your salary expectations question well. However, the employer should never get a feeling that the salary is the most important decision factor for you. That’s not something the employers will appreciate.

You should simply always mention that you are motivated with the job description as well as that you believe that you can be useful in the company. In case that you couple your salary expectations (based on the concrete scenario) with this description, employers will more likely agree and give you a job.


We wish you good luck!

PS: Have a look at salary negotiation section, or why should we hire you interview question, to be ready for these two questions also.

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