How to Answer the Salary Question during Job Interviews

Everybody wants as much money as they can get. However employers depending on their financial muscle will always vary in terms of what they can pay to new employees. What to pay or not to pay is always a crucial part of many job interviews.

While the recruiter/employer most times already has an idea of what they wish to pay you they may still want to know from the candidate his/her expected take home pay.
It is better to be prepared to answer salary questions in interviews than be thrown off balance when they come. The tips below will make it easier to navigate the salary issues during your interview;

What Are You Currently Making?

You may be asked this question if the employer is aware you have a current job and they will be looking to draw a comparison between what you currently earn and what they plan to pay you.

You have to answer the question carefully. Point out that whiles the new job (you are being interviewed for) is in line with your skills and aspirations your current job may not be the right one to use in judging what you should earn in the new position. According to career experts answering this question, if you are underpaid in your current job, will undermine you. “What if you work for a nonprofit and your pay is lower than that of another candidate who has the same skills and experience but has a higher pay because he is with a corporation that offers competitive salaries?”

Get the Employer (If possible) to Name a Figure First

Every employer has a salary range in mind that it can most often play with. “They have information you are not privy to,” says a well placed Recruiting Consultant. “When you don’t know what the employer has in mind, you can underbid yourself. Employers will jump on that. Later, you’ll find out that someone two cubicles over from you is making more money for the same work you’re doing.” So find out what the range is before you state any salary requirements.

If the range is below what you want, state that you expect a range closer to XYZ. And make XYZ at least 10 percent to 20 percent higher than what you currently make. If you’re grossly underpaid in your position, hike it even higher.

What If You’re Really Pushed to State a Figure?

State a range that reflects the amount you want to make. And remember: Employers will always look at the low end of your range, so make the low end as high as you are comfortable with. If you make N35,000, state a range of N42,000 to N55,000 or so.

Be Prepared, Do Your Homework

Research what others in the field make. Contact professional organizations and get their annual salary surveys. Read professional publications. Network and look on the Web to find out what others in your field are making. That way you will be armed with enough information to arrive at a reasonable estimate demand when the salary issue comes up. This is especially important if this is your first interview for a job in a field where you haven’t worked before.


  1. Damilola says:

    Nice write up. i have been trying to get this type of information from your site. You are doing great and nice. Please I have a question to ask you Paul, in a situation where you do not have idea of the recruiting company/employer is presently paying on the current job that you applied for, what are the best ways to handle the negotiation?

    Thank you.

    • Paul says:

      Do your background research on that position. Ask colleagues who work in that field. Get in touch with people working with the company if possible to get a fell of what they pay for the sort of job you are to be interviewed for. You mustn’t get the exact amount but getting information on the range will help you better come up with a range for your own demands if they insist that you name your salary expectations

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.