When, and How, To Bring Up Salary in an Interview



There’s no telling when the salary discussion may come up in an interview, but bringing up your desired salary too soon could be a risky move. It’s important that your are able to present yourself, your abilities, and what you can contribute to the company before your price tag.

Employers want to get a sense of your salary expectations as early in the job interview process as possible. They will often press you to name a specific salary number or salary range. Avoid this for several reasons:

1.If you name a figure in response to a question about your salary expectations, it could be well above what the employer had in mind, and your interviewer’s thoughts will shift to another candidate.
2. If the figure is too low, you’ll be stuck with less than what the employer was planning to pay—and you may even come off as less qualified to boot.
3. The employer knows the responsibilities of the job better than you and therefore is better qualified to assign it a dollar amount. Once that happens, you are in an excellent position to discuss why you could bring more to the position than someone else.
Here is an example of how to avoid naming the salary first—even when explicitly challenged by the employer to do so:
EMPLOYER: Do you have a minimum salary figure in mind?
CANDIDATE: I have several opportunities I’m considering, and each one is a little bit different, so I’m taking all of the circumstances into account. Would you mind giving me some idea of the salary range for this position?

In most cases, a hiring manager isn’t going to drop you from consideration just because you dodge the initial salary question successfully. In fact, you may have a better chance at getting the job offer in the end because you had the opportunity to go through your value-increasing presentation first; other candidates who name a salary early in the interview process may never get the chance to present themselves fully, because the manager may be turned off after hearing their asking price.


  1. Randy Sablich says

    I believe dodging the salary issue is a turnoff in the interview process. Why waste either persons time if its not a financial fit. I would suggest not giving them a specific number but depending on your last job they are going to have a sense of whether you are over or under qualified. If you believe the position is a good fit for you and you are interested, you need to give them a response that helps them justify keeping you in the process.
    One way to do that is to give a range, you can say that range is based on your research of others in the same or similar field. If you are coming off a highly compensated position, they will be concerned about your jumping ship as soon as another one of those come along. Alleviate that concern by explaining why this position plays to your sweetspot, their company has long been a target and again give them a range.
    Just my thoughts. Happy Hunting.

  2. Max says

    While the scenario is very accurate to what I’ve experience over the years, the conversation above has been cut short. In every discussion, the recruiter or hiring manager will continue pushing to get some kind of number from the candidate; even going as far as to inquire what the candidate is currently making.

  3. Dwayne Davis says

    Very good commentary. It still boils down to the first person to specify a dollar is the loser. I’ve seen both sides of it. I was required to give a desired salary and quoted too high and the employer immediately cut the interview off. Also quoted too low and they took it that I was looking for a temporary position until something else came along. I will say that it is VERY HARD to get a company to tell you what the salary range the position has. But, I will always quote high as we can negotiate down, but you’ll NEVER get the opportunity to negotiate up from your original quote

  4. Jason says

    In some cases, it also may save both parties some time by stating a general range (pre-bonus). Often times, I don’t mind ponying up the expected salary range so that I don’t waste time trying for a job that pays way below my necessary salary requirements.

  5. Doug says

    All these pointers are to be combined; just as it is that a prospective employer evaluate your worth as a prospective employee You should also evaluate your worth and price it! Keeping in mind of course as you do your research that the position is already priced in similar market. Remember the only reason you were granted an interview to begin with is because you are worth it. So name your worth (salary) and sell the heck out of that interview

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