How to Answer “What Is Your Salary Expectation?” As a Beginner

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Diving into job interviews can be scary, especially when someone asks you about your salary expectations. 

For many of us just starting out, figuring out how much to ask for can feel like a guessing game. 

But don’t worry! 

This post will help you tackle that tricky question with confidence. 

We’ll go over how to do your homework, think about your worth, and talk numbers in a way that leaves room for discussion. Ready? 

Let’s make sure you walk into your next interview ready to nail that salary question.

Research and Preparation


Before the interview, research the average salary for the position you’re applying for in your location. Websites like Glassdoor, PayScale, and LinkedIn Salary can provide you with a range of what others in similar roles and with similar experience are earning. Consider factors such as your level of education, skills, and the cost of living in the area.

Consider Your Needs and Goals

Reflect on your personal financial needs, including your living expenses, and consider your professional worth. However, be realistic about your salary expectations, especially if you’re just starting out.

Provide a range.

Instead of stating a specific number, offer a salary range. This shows that you are flexible and open to negotiation. Make sure the bottom end of the range is a figure you’d be happy with, and the top end is still within reasonable limits for the role and your level of experience.

Focus on Value

When discussing salary, emphasize the value you can bring to the company. Express your enthusiasm for the role and explain how your unique skills and experiences make you a great fit. This can sometimes lead to a better offer, as employers are willing to pay for quality talent that adds value to their team.

Consider the Entire Compensation Package

Remember that your salary is just one part of your compensation. Benefits such as health insurance, retirement contributions, paid time off, flexible working conditions, and opportunities for professional development can also be highly valuable. If the salary offer is lower than you expected, consider negotiating these other aspects.

Practice Your Response

Prepare and practice your response to this question so you can answer confidently during the interview. A well-thought-out answer shows that you are professional and have done your homework.

Use Diplomatic Language

You could say something like, “Based on my research and considering my skill set, I would expect a salary in the range of X to Y. However, I’m more interested in finding a position that is a good fit for my skills and career goals. I am certainly open to discussing what you believe to be a fair salary for this position.”

Be Prepared to Negotiate

If the initial offer is lower than your expectations, don’t be afraid to negotiate. However, do so respectfully, explaining why you believe a higher salary expectations is justified. Be prepared to back up your request with examples of your skills and what you can bring to the team.

Sample Answers 

Sample Answer 1: The Research-Based Approach

“Based on my research, I understand that positions similar to this one in our region typically offer a salary range of $40,000 to $50,000 for beginners. Considering my unique skills in digital marketing and my recent certification in Google Analytics, I feel a salary within this range would reflect both market standards and the value I bring to your team. Of course, I’m open to discussing this further.”

Sample Answer 2: The Flexible Negotiator

“I’m quite flexible regarding my salary expectations. I’m more interested in finding a role that matches my career goals and where I can contribute meaningfully. However, if we’re discussing numbers, based on my understanding of the role and its responsibilities, along with my skills in project management and teamwork, I would anticipate a salary in the vicinity of $45,000 to $55,000.

Sample Answer 3: Focused on What You Bring to the Table

“I’m all for finding a salary that’s good for both of us. I just finished my computer science degree and had a great internship, so I know I have a lot to offer. From what I’ve seen, jobs like this pay about $50,000 to $60,000. I’m hoping for something in that range, but let’s talk about the whole package and what works best.”

Wrapping Up…

Asking for the salary you want doesn’t have to be a headache. With a little prep and a good understanding of what you’re worth, you can handle the salary question like a pro. 

Remember, it’s all about showing what you can offer and being open to finding a number that works for everyone.


  • What if they want just one number?

~ If they really push for one number, aim high within your range, but remind them you’re willing to talk about it, considering the full job package.

  • Can I negotiate their first offer?

~ Yes, you can! If their offer isn’t what you were hoping for, feel free to negotiate. Just be polite and ready to explain why you think you deserve more.

  • What if I’ve never had a job before?

~ That’s okay! Focus on what you can do and what similar jobs pay. You don’t need a past salary to justify asking for a fair wage based on the job and your skills.

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