Job Interview Questions

What salary are you looking for?

How To Answer Interview Questions Series

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I hope that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are never to bring up money in the interview, at any time, until they make you an offer—until they say, “yes, you’re the one, let’s come to terms.”  Curbing your enthusiasm until then will serve you in the end.  Bringing up money too soon is a job interview mistake. You’ll look like the paycheck is all you care about, and that’s a big turnoff for hiring managers, understandably.  And if you wait until they feel like they’ve got to have you, then the money conversation ends up being a lot more in your favor.  People are usually willing to pay a little more for a product they’re already sold on.

However, it’s pretty common for the interviewer to try to pin you down on salary before you get to that point.  They are very interested in how much you’re going to cost by asking about your salary expectations as soon as they can.  It’s only natural for them to want to find out as much as they can, but if you let go of that too soon, it can hurt your salary negotiations later.

As in most job interview situations, you’ve got a couple of good options:

You can try to deflect with some humor by asking:  “Does that mean you’re making me an offer?”

You can turn the question back to them and say:  “What’s the range you have set for this position?”  When they tell you, you can say, “I’m comfortable with that.  If you decide that I’m a good fit for the job and I decide it’s a good fit for me, I will be completely fine with discussing a salary in that range.”

Or you can be more straightforward and say, “I’m really interested in finding out more about the job and telling you more about me so that we can see if we’re a good fit before we start talking about the money.”

If that doesn’t feel comfortable, you can say, “I’m looking for a great opportunity, and I’m sure you’ll offer a salary that’s commensurate with the responsibility of this job.”

What all of these answers do is help you deflect the question.  You want to do overall is to put that discussion off for as long as possible.

You want the focus to be on selling yourself for the job—because if they don’t want to hire you, the money doesn’t matter anyway.  You don’t have anything to talk about, really, until they’re ready to say yes to hiring you.


If you’d like to practice your interview answers with professional feedback, or you need help with specific answers, I’d love to work with you as your interview coach.

Find out more about my special offer for personal 1:1 coaching or my group coaching membership that meets online Thursday evenings at 7:00pm CST!


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