How to Set Your Salary Expectations and Get What You Deserve


Talking about salary can be a tricky subject when you’re interviewing for a new role. You’ve attended a couple of interviews, you love the sound or the role and the company and you’re pretty sure they like you too. What’s next? A potential job offer, but how do you make sure that you’re offered the salary you deserve?

Discussing your salary doesn’t have to be awkward. If you’re well-prepared and realistic, your salary negotiations should run smoothly and everyone can come out happy.

What’s crucial is that you don’t price yourself out of a job offer by asking for too much and just as importantly, you don’t want to sell yourself short.

So, how should you set your salary expectations and prepare for that all important discussion?

Decide early

The ‘what are your salary expectations?’ question could come up at any stage in the recruitment process. You may be asked when you apply, in an initial phone interview, or at the final stages. Before you apply for any roles, you need to know what you want from your next opportunity.

Don’t mention it

Asking about salary in the early stages of the recruitment process is not a good idea, just ask this woman who had her interview cancelled. While obviously we all go to work to earn money, you don’t want employers to think that you are only interested in their roles for the money. They want to hear that you are passionate about your profession and that you specifically want to work for them.

The employer will always bring salary up at some stage, so just wait until they do.

Know what you’re worth

What is a competitive salary for professionals in your role or the role you are applying for? It’s important to do your homework and find out what’s standard within your industry. You can’t just pluck a figure out of thin air.

Use sites like and to find out more about salaries in your industry.

Set your limit

Having conducted plenty of research, you should have a pretty good idea at the top and bottom ends of salaries in your area. So, what do you want to work with? Settle on a salary range in your mind that you would be happy with. You may have to negotiate with your future employer so leave yourself some wiggle room.

Set yourself a reasonable lower limit, what’s the lowest salary you will accept? You need to be able to live comfortably or maintain your current lifestyle so bear this in mind when choosing a figure.

Remember it’s not all about the money

When looking for a new opportunity it’s important to remember that money really is not everything! It’s important to weigh up everything that the role has to offer you. Having the opportunity to work from home, receive fantastic training, or have flexible hours may be more important for you.

Prepare to sell yourself

Employers are willing to offer more money if they believe that you are going to be a valuable asset to their team. It’s down to you to give them a reason to pay you more. What unique skills or experiences will you bring to the role and the company?

Don’t be afraid to turn down an offer

If a job offer is not in-line with what you want, then have the confidence to turn it down. This may open up negotiations, or you may need to focus on a different opportunity.


Don’t get stressed thinking and having conversations about your salary. It’s just another part of the hiring process and in most instances, you’ll be able to negotiate your way to a good offer. If you are feeling nervous about discussing salary, practice what you want to say beforehand and follow these tips for calming your nerves.


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