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8 Examples of Salary Expectations

Salary expectations are a common topic of discussion in job interviews and salary negotiations. Employers may ask you for your salary expectations early in the interview process such that it is important to be prepared with an answer from the start. This will typically require research into current salary ranges for a role, firm and industry. The following are common approaches to answering this question.


It is common to offer a range of salary that is fairly tight with the salary you really want at the low end of the range.
A developer wants a salary of $150,000:

My expectation is $150,000 to $170,000 based on my abilities and experience.
You have to be prepared to accept the lowest number of your range. You should also be prepared for the employer to try to negotiate well below your range.


Mentioning your current salary and indicating that the new salary must be higher for you to consider a switch.
My current salary is $70,000 plus incentives and I would require a higher salary to make a change. The low end of my range would be $80,000.
This would tend to work in a hot job market where employers need to pay to attract employees from other firms.

Door in the Face

Door in the face is a negotiation technique that states an outrageous number as a starting point with the expectation that you will settle for a much lower number. This risks being viewed as unrealistic but is a good open if you are dealing with a firm that is likely to negotiate aggressively.
A graphic designer with a current salary of $70,000:

My expectation is for a base salary of $150,000 a year based on my demonstrated ability to pull-in and retain large clients far beyond the results of my peers.
Door in the face is a move of confidence and requires a strong pitch as in the example above. Most employers will not be shy to tell you that your number is out of range. However, they may continue to reference this number such that they may become hesitant to try to low ball you.

Foot in the Door

Foot in the door is a sales technique whereby you offer a low price in order to establish a relationship so that you can sell more later. This would apply to salary negotiations where you really need experience or where a job is a little over your head such that you may want to outbid your competition. For example, a student who needs work experience and isn't overly concerned with the salary for a summer job that is relevant to their career aspirations. In this context, a foot in the door is executed with an indication that you are flexible and more interested in the role than the salary as opposed to a specific number.
I'm extremely interested in this role and your company. I realize that I will have work to do learn about the music industry. I'm a fast learner and hard worker and feel I will excel at this role. I'm completely flexible about salary.

Low Ball

If you believe the employer is unmotivated to hire you and you really need the job you may want to offer a low ball salary whereby you research the salary range for the role and offer the low end of the range. For example, if you need a job and your cousin has introduced you to their employer who seems hesitant to hire you, you could ask your cousin for the typical pay in the job and offer the low end.
I'd be willing to accept as low as $55,000 a year.

Salary History

Use your salary history to show that you've always progressed upwards in your salary. Avoid listing your actual salary history but indicate that you have achieved a good rate of growth and expect this to continue into your new role.
Throughout my career I've always delivered projects on-time and on-budget handling larger and more demanding projects as I have progressed. With these results, I have achieved regular promotions and salary increases. My current salary is $130,000 but I'm seeking continued growth such that $150,000 is the low end of my range.

Avoid the Question

You may want to avoid answering the question, if you believe it's not in your best interests to answer. For example, if the employer asks for your salary expectations in the first interview you may try to defer a real answer to negotiations.
I'm seeking a salary in line with my talents and ability to deliver complex projects on-time and on-budget.

Flipping the Question

In the late states of the interviewing process, avoiding the question isn't a good idea as the employer may be considering how to make an offer such that it is counterproductive to be vague and illusive at this stage. You can however, flip the question if you feel this is to your advantage. For example, if you know that the employer offers high salaries that are far beyond your current salary it may be better to push them on how much your peers would be paid in the same role in the same team.
Well, what is your salary range for this role?
What would the typical salary be in this team at this level?


This is the complete list of articles we have written about interviews.
Cultural Capital
Culture Fit
Ladder Interview
Personal Attributes
Personal Interests
Personal Weaknesses
Problem Solving
Resume Verbs
Resume Words
Salary Expectations
Selection Criteria
Work Values
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The common types of job interview with examples.

Resume Verbs

A vocabulary of action verbs for resumes.

Work Values

A list of common work values.

Personal Interests

A list of common personal interests.

Resume Strengths

A list of professional and personal strengths for resumes.

Resume Words

A list of useful action verbs for your resume.

Educational Background

A list of what can be considered educational background.

Communication Things

A list of things that can be considered communication.

Words To Describe Experience

A vocabulary for describing experience.

Selection Criteria

An overview of job selection criteria with examples.


A list of common negotiation strategies.

Positive Communication

An overview of positive communication with examples.

Low Ball

The definition of low ball in negotiation with examples.

Negotiation Process

An overview of the negotiation process with examples.

Read Between The Lines

The definition of read between the lines with examples.

Social Perception

An overview of social perception.

Effective Communication

An overview of effective communication with examples.

Political Behavior

An overview of political behavior with examples.
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