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Is it okay to ask about salary expectations in an interview?

It is important to discuss the important things when in a job interview so you can ensure you’re the right fit for the business. We can help you navigate the tough questions!

Is it okay to ask about salary expectations in an interview?

Bringing up salary expectations during an interview is one of those awkward conversations you’d rather avoid – but it’s necessary! Many candidates worry they’ll come across as greedy or money-oriented by asking about salary. And while that is possible if you don’t ask in the right way, you’re doing the job in exchange for a salary at the end of the day – so the discussion can’t be avoided.

How to ask about salary expectations in an interview

1. Research competitor salaries

First things first, make sure you research competitor salaries or check the average UK salary for similar roles before going to your interview. You don’t want to price yourself too low or too high, so this will give you a good indication of what the market rate is and will be helpful when justifying your salary expectation to the hiring manager.

2. Leave room for them to bring it up first

In an ideal world, the hiring manager will bring up the topic of salary expectations so you don’t have to. So don’t be so hasty to dive straight in for the jugular. Instead, wait until the end of the interview. If the hiring manager still hasn’t broached the subject, it’s time for you to raise it!

3. Get the timing right 

There’s a time and a place to ask about salary expectations, and it’s not during the telephone interview. Save salary conversations for later in the interview process when things are heating up! Discussing it too early in the process can give hiring managers the wrong impression.

4. Don’t be too specific

Salaries are usually a two-way street and a certain degree of flexibility is needed from both parties. So it’s best to steer clear of naming a specific amount you’d like, but offer a bracket you’d be happy with. If the employer has already stated a potential bracket for your salary, let them know if you’d expect your salary to be in the upper or lower part of that bracket.

5. Be fair 

It’s important to reflect on your worth critically – don’t just go for the maximum amount. Think about your level of experience and whether you’re able to do the entire role or need training in certain areas. Use this reasoning to justify the amount you’re looking for to the hiring manager.

6. Prepare set phrases

Whether the employer asks you about salary expectations or you have to bring it up yourself, it’s a good idea to prepare some set phrases to make sure you don’t get caught out under the pressure. 

How to bring up salary in an interview:

Example 1

“I love the sound of the role and personally feel I’d be able to hit the ground running. I’d be keen to learn a little more about the salary for the role. Do you have a salary bracket in mind?

Example 2

“I’m really excited at the prospect of working for the company. Could you please tell me a little more about the salary. What criteria are you using to determine people’s salary?”

Example 3

“From my point of view, everything about the role sounds like a perfect fit. I would be grateful if we can cover salary expectations to check we’re on a similar page. Would you mind me asking what budget you have allocated to the role?”

How to answer questions about salary in an interview:

Example 1

“I understand the bracket for the role is between £X and £X. Given my level of experience, I would expect to be in the upper/lower bracket.”

Example 2

“I’ve done a little research with competitor salaries and feel somewhere between £X and £X would be a fair reflection of my level of skill.”

Example 3

“I’m really excited by the role and feel confident in my ability to deliver given my past success in similar roles. As such, I would be happy with a salary between £X and £X.”

Know your worth

It’s perfectly okay to discuss salary expectations during the interview process. Just remember to do your research and preparation in advance, and to always put forward a bracket to show you’re willing to be flexible.

If you’re preparing for an interview, be sure to check out our interview tips and most common interview questions.



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