How To Respond To Interview Questions: “How Much Do You Want”?

Interviews are one of the scariest episodes in the life of a job seeker. They have a way of making a smart and intelligent individual appear foolish and incompetent. At Ngcareers, it is our goal to make you the best candidate at any interview, so we are going to take you through a series captioned ‘How to Respond to Interview Questions’. We would handle one interview question per week.

Enjoy the ride!

Let’s be sincere here: salary is one of the first things we consider when applying for a job. First thing is making sure that there actually is a salary and it is not either a scam or an unpaid internship pretending to be a real job. Next is the need to make sure the salary stated is reasonable that is if the organization bothered to mention one at all.

You see, it’s all a part of the mind game called ‘So You’re Looking For a Job’

First you are sucked in and enticed in by an advertisement that probably doesn’t offer that much information, oh and then they avoid mentioning the salary you can expect. So during the interview they ask you “how much do you want”? You see, they ask because they want you to say your number: never mind that they have the number they paid your predecessor, or a certain budget regarding how much they can offer you, they would instead like you to state the starting number. Why? Because if you say a number way less than what they were planning to offer, they’ll see that as an opportunity to take advantage and save themselves some money.

So, I mentioned what might happen if you go too low. Now on the other hand, if you state a price too high, you either come across as someone who likes to think far too much of him or herself or you price yourself out the job because its way more than they were thinking.

Quite a dilemma, right? Let’s consider certain ways you should answer:

Know Your Number
Or put simply, know your range. If for instance, you offer a specific number, then there is a probability that the negotiations will be limited, or they might simply accept whatever you say and not increase it – only that, you’re likely to find out later that you could be making far more. But if you are smart enough to answer with a salary range, both parties will have something to work with while they try to get you to go down and you try to get them to go up.

know your numbers

Your range should consist of three parts namely XYZ:
1. X: Your absolute minimum. Now this is the lowest salary you can accept. Ask yourself ‘what is the minimum salary you need in order to pay rent, feed, travel and cover other expenses? It would be good if you keep your qualifications and experience in mind when deciding this, as you don’t want to undervalue yourself.
2. Y: The fair salary. You apparently have done your research and you’ve learnt what other people with the same job and the same amount of experience are making in your region. If you are pushed to the wall to give a specific number as an answer, use this number or go a little higher.
3. Z: Your dream salary. Keep it realistic, but what is the number they could offer that would make you accept it on the spot and then never have to worry about money again?
When giving a salary range, give Y as the minimum and Z as the maximum; Z should be the absolute highest you could hope to get, and giving Y instead of X gives some leeway to negotiate down. Giving a range not only neatly starts off negotiations, but it gives you a better chance of including a number that overlaps with the number they’re thinking.

Remember to Negotiate
Always remember something; You have a voice! Please, use it! They’re focusing on the lowest salary they can get you to agree to, while you should be thinking about benefits too: if they’re sticking to the lower end of your salary range, can you talk them to make up for it with the benefits on offer? While salary is important, it’s only a part of the full compensation package, which includes benefits such as a company car, Medical insurance and other benefits applicable in your region.


Yes it’s true, job interviews are nerve-wracking enough without having to be worried about being cheated out of the salary you deserve. Unfortunately, it’s all a part of the game, and the same way you didn’t get the interview by sitting back and waiting for them to come to you and offer you a chance, you can’t just sit back now and wait for them to give you the salary you’re looking for. Consider it an early start on the confidence and persuasion skills you’re going to need later on when you have the job and you’re jumping the next hurdles: promotion and raise.

How did you handle this question in your last interview? As an employer, what answers do you look for? Let us know in the comments section below.

About Stellamaris Obomanu

Loves to read, loves to write, loves to laugh, loves life and yeah, she's as real as they come.


  1. ola@last says:

    Be very wise when you are answering any interview questions. Aprreciate you alot.

  2. I am applying for the post of Asst.Store Manager/Material Controller.

  3. Igbokwe benedicta says:

    wow tnx a lot I found the info useful cos my last interview was a bluff



    You are highly appreciated for the write up. But what about if one gives the answer “please pay me the range of salary that persons with the same certificate/qualification as I have are paid in your company”?

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