Two women sitting at a table across from each other as if in an interview. Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

The conversation with the interviewer is going well.

You're telling her stories of how you once taught your stuffed animals how to read, and she's encouraging you with laughter and questions.

You think, "I got this!"

Then she asks the question, "What salary are you seeking?"

You don't want to offer a number too low and set yourself up for a low salary which could cost you thousands over the course of your career.

How should you respond?


Hands typing at a computer keyboard. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Prepare before the interview.

Know the average salary range for your position in your area.

Salary ranges can change drastically according to the area of the country you live in and years of experience.

Online resources you can use:

  • Glassdoor

  • Indeed

  • LinkedIn

  • CareerBliss

You can also ask! Schedule informational interviews with people who hold the position you are interviewing for.

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You can ask for a salary range and other forms of compensation like:

  • bonuses

  • retirement contributions

  • professional development/conference stipends

  • student loan payments

  • vacation time

The Ask

A young man smiling with arms crossed and looking into the camera. Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

Don't be the first to say a number!

Counter with a question, "What is the salary range for this position?" Once you hear the response, you can use your research to make a decision. You can:

  • Ask, "Is the salary negotiable?"

  • Ask, "Are there other forms of compensation such as bonuses?"

  • Offer your expected salary range.

Scenario #1

If you are applying for an instructional designer position, you can say:

"You said the salary range for the role is $65,000-75,000 depending on skills and experience. $75,000 is a fair salary given my design experience and certifications."

Scenario #2

If you are applying for a position as a call center representative, you can say:

"Company X is offering $15.00 an hour and full benefits for this position, a dollar more than your company. Is the hourly wage negotiable?"

Take Action

A woman pointing at the camera with the words

Your dream job is on the other side of your ask. Prepare before your interview! Start researching salary ranges for the types of roles/positions you're interested in, and don't be afraid to ask!


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