Career Corner: How to the Salary You Want and Deserve

Categories: Professional Development

This post is part of a new blog series focused on professional development, networking and career tips by Najat Mahammed. If you’ve got questions you’d like answered in an upcoming post, leave a comment or email us!

How To Tactfully Negotiate Salary Expectations During The Interview

salary-expecationsInterviewing for a job is grueling as it is. The anxiety of getting to the interview on time, carefully answering all the questions to your best ability and the stress waiting for a call back afterwards are all hard to deal with.

An interview question that used to worry me was ‘what are your salary expectations?’. Wondering, what if I aim too high and deter the employer or aim too low and shoot myself in the foot? This was especially daunting when I was first starting off in my career. I had no previous salary to base my expectation on hadn’t done my research.

But as my career has grown and morphed into different phases, I’ve learned how to tactfully respond to the salary question during interviews. Here are some tips that have helped me –


No Comment Is Never An Answer

Refusing to answer this question flat out will come across as negative to the interviewer and your potential employer. Whether it is because you don’t know the answer or because you don’t want to low ball yourself, choosing to not provide any salary number is never a good idea. Even if you explain your reasons, you may just come across as unprepared which is not a good look.


Put In Some Work

Go a step further than just researching the company and look deeply into your industry. Try to see what the average salary range is for someone at your job level and even one level up. It’s always good to know what you want to aspire to. This will give you a good number to work with when you do answer the question.


Come At It Sideways

Once you’ve got the desired salary in your head, you can now assertively present it. By proudly stating you’ve done your research on the average salary in this industry and your desired role, you feel that $X is in accordance to what is appropriate but you are open to discuss it further. You want to come across confident with your value to their organization but flexible enough to discuss any room to compromise.

You’re not taking a loss by allowing yourself to discuss a salary lower than the number you originally thought. Look at other areas such as quarterly/yearly bonuses, vacation time, flexible hours, health benefit packages, etc. Consider all variables, not just the salary.


As long as you’re clear, up front and open to negotiating there is no reason why you can’t find the job you want with the right salary!