Interview Questions

7 best ways to answer about your salary expectations in an interview?

If you have ever been a part of a hiring process, you’d know that employers will always try to negotiate the salary terms at each step.

A big part of that, is played out by asking the dreaded question, “What is your salary expectation?”

Now, a lot can go wrong here.

You might state too much, get a negative response, then rush back to lowering your ask, thus, losing credibility.

On the other hand, if you state too less, then you risk losing a higher initial pay and negotiating capacity.

This is one of THE MOST important parts of the interview when you can be asked by the employer about your salary expectation either in the early stage or later stage. And you must be prepared for this and maximize your negotiating power. So that you can get the best in the industry. 

Here are a few tips you can better prepare your answer. 

Also read, how you can crack a telephonic interview.

How to prepare the best answer about the expected CTC?

First, you need to research such things as Organization’s structure, Vision, Mission, and products and services. Check the organization’s budget whether they can expand or not, whether they are open for salary, or if they are looking for candidates on budget only. You must be prepared for technical and general aspects both. Here are a few tips which you can take help with. 

Understanding What is CTC (Cost to company) 

Cost to the company is the company’s total expense on the employee. It is breakable into other components like – basic allowance, travel allowance, and house allowance. Others can be 

  • Dearness allowance
  • Entertainment allowance
  • Provident fund contributions
  • Professional tax 
  • Income tax 
  • Medical allowance etc. 

Market mapping 

You should check salary trends according to experience and skill set. You will have an idea of how much you can be paid for a specific role? It depends on many factors like 

  • Skill sets 
  • Risks involved 
  • Travel requirements 
  • Benefits
  • Other Perks included. 

There are many salary surveys and research in the market that you can go through. You can have an idea to project your expected salary in front of the employer. 

Specifying Salary Range

After interviewing If the employer calls you for one final round. Then it is usually with HR for salary negotiation. You should always mention your expectations in a range or mention a % of the hike on your current salary. If you are doing exceptionally good in your current company and your appraisal is awaited, you can ask for a 40-50% Hike. ‘

In other cases, a 30 to 35 % hike is standard. So, you can go as per industry standards. So, It all depends on the current market situation and your salary components. 

Be Ready with a well-researched answer

Do not ask about salary without calculation or very high expectations. Communicate what is feasible and worth according to your skill set and experience level. 

Do not drop down on your expectations either. Be firm, confident, yet humble while undergoing the negotiation process.

Don’t answer in the early stage of the interview

Try to deflect the question if asked initially. Say you want to understand complete roles and responsibilities and then you will be answering about this. Understand the scope of work and complete the job role. Research it and put your worth and expectations. 

Disclose your CTC during the formal HR Round  

Always answer about your expectations in the final round of salary negotiation and always be open to negotiations. This is the best way to negotiate and crack the best deal. Usually, there are three rounds in the interview – Executive level, Middle Level, and HR round for salary and documents submission.

Open for negotiation

Always understand your basic salary structure and be open to negotiation on different salary variables. Always be genuine in your demands and expectations. 

Best examples of how you can answer salary expectations

Here are some potential answers you can give when you are asked about your salary expectations,

“I am open to salary negotiation. I am looking to get a salary between 10 lakhs to 12 lakhs annually. As per my experience and skill set, this is the best range of salary.“

“My Salary baseline is 10 lakhs. This is best suitable as per the job roles desired and the expertise I possess. Is this in line with your thoughts?”

“I am seeking this role which pays something between 15 to 17 LPA and it is a suitable salary range as per market standards. I possess the desired skill set and bring invaluable experience to the company”. 

“Thank you for asking about my salary expectations. I think the salary range of 5 lakhs to 6.5 lakhs is in line with my experience, skill set, and job role requirement. I am open to negotiating this. What are your views on this?”

I hope the above article has given you insights about how to answer and best negotiate with the employer about salary expectations.

Thanks for Reading! 

Also, if you are looking for better job opportunities (where you might gain an even better negotiation capacity), then check out our job portal at

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