How to Answer “How Much Salary Do You Expect?” for Freshers

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Photo by Alex Green

Imagine you are interviewing for a position in a company, being grilled by the recruiter, and they lob you the million-dollar question. “How much salary do you expect?”

Fun’s just began. It’s the most exciting question because you get to know about yourself as well the company. Hence, take a deep breath!

Some candidates prefer keeping their salary expectations right at the start of the interview process, and that is all right too. Experienced candidates prefer to know if their expectations will be met, beforehand. It is an important question but it does not guarantee a job.

Every person, fresher or experienced, gets asked in their interview. And if you find yourself on the less prepared side of things, you might end up in an undesirable scenario. It could mean getting less than what you deserve. As such, it’s essential to keep your wits about you, especially if you’re a fresher. The way you answer this one question decides what dishes you are eating at the end of the month.

So, how does a fresher answer questions about their salary expectations in a convincing manner to look like a valuable candidate for hire? Well, don’t you worry, we have you covered.

In this blog, we’ll look at how to answer the much-dreaded question about your salary expectations. 

Let’s get started.

Understand the Why behind the question

Before going forward, you need to understand why the recruiter wants to know what your expectation is in the first place. 

It is easier to answer the ‘how’ when you understand why you’re being asked the question. 

So, when the recruiter asks you about your salary expectations, they wish to learn a few things.

  1. In case our salary expectations are in-line with the company’s allocated budget for that position. They are trying to find if they can afford you, provided you are the right fit for the role.
  2. By asking the question, the interviewer wishes to learn how much you value yourself? This is where they learn if you understand your self-worth. Since the interviewer doesn’t know you personally, they can deduce your personality from this one question. This is where you don’t sell yourself short nor aim for the skies by being realistic about your expectations.
  3. As the adage goes, ‘If you fail to prepare, you are prepared to fail.’ One of the best possible ways to answer the question “how much salary do you expect” is by thoroughly researching the role you’re interviewing for. And so, when an interviewer asks this question, they wish to gain an insight into your research skills which highlights your work ethic.
  4. The interviewer learns about your temperament. It is essential to be ready for when an interviewer asks these questions without giving any pre-warning. Suppose you’re asked this question, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting the job. That would be a rookie mistake. So, it’s important to be calm and keep your emotions in check and act professionally.

After understanding why you’re being asked the question, you can communicate effectively. So, let’s look at some ways to best answer the question about your salary expectations.

Also Read: Smart Questions to ask in an interview

Ways to answer about Salary Expectation

1. Flip the Question to the Interviewer

When asked the question about your salary expectations, if you find yourself answering with phrases like ‘anything is good’ or ‘I’ll take whatever you’re offering,’ just stop. This makes you look tacky. Saying that you have no idea about the salary expectations might rub the interviewer the wrong way.

Avoid using quantifiers (words like many, a lot, etc.) to answer the question, and don’t be too frank. If you have no idea what to answer, the easiest thing to do is flip the question to the recruiter. Let them answer the range the company is offering to freshers for your job profile. Just ask them to share the estimate.

When you get the numbers, you can make a decision. And if you’re interested in the prospect of working with the brand, mention how you are excited by the prospect of working with them.

2. The Diplomatic Approach

Another way to answer the question about your expectations is by following a diplomatic approach. As Freshers, you can say that even though the salary is a priority, but not as much as finding if you are a right fit for working with the company. You can mention that you are seeking valuable experience and exposure at your job.

This way, you make them sell to you.

Again, you have to show that you’re a good fit for both and that your addition adds value to all parties.

3. Share a Salary Range

When talking about salary expectations, it is indeed a good idea to give a range rather than a fixed number. This ensures both parties find flexibility in negotiations.

A pro-tip would be to mention the lower end of the salary range on a higher side than what you think the company will offer. This lowest number you share should make you excited. It ensures a win for you even if you are offered a salary on the lower end of the range.

Now, the next question is how does one know what the salary range to offer.

This is where your research skills come to play. You’ll learn how much you’re worth in the job market. The better you research, the higher the chances that you’re not taken for a ride during the negotiations.

In this digital age, you can learn everything about everything. Use tools like Glassdoor and LinkedIn to learn about the salary ranges.

You can look at the following parameters to come to a result.

  • Industry Standards

    Look at the average competitive salaries for your industry and the position you are applying for.
  • Educational Qualification

    Depending on your educational qualifications, skills, and knowledge, you can find the average salary of someone with similar capabilities. In case you wish to negotiate for a higher salary than the average, you need to showcase why you are an excellent fit for the company.

    As a fresher, you can take advantage of this by showcasing the certifications of different programs, internships, or events you’ve been a part of, highlighting some skills that the company is looking for. The idea is to make yourself an asset to the buyer.
  • Company standards

    Looking at the company’s remuneration standards, you will get an idea of the expected salary range. This information will provide the most accurate numbers compared to the other parameters.

    As the adage goes, ‘Ask and you shall receive.’ You can get in touch with people working there in the same role to get a better idea. This is not where you shy away. People love helping other people.
  • Locations

    Location is one of the parameters which has to be considered. There is no doubt that the living expenses in top-tier cities will be higher than those in other tiers. Depending on the city where you are posted, you can look at the average salary for your position there.

4. Negotiations

In all these cases, you might find yourself in a position to negotiate. Negotiation is an underrated skill. What’s important is that you don’t shy away. 

It might seem a bit daunting as a fresher, but you’re discussing how you value yourself. If you don’t ask, you’ll get nothing. But if you do, there’s still a chance. 

It’s essential to have open communication regarding your expectations. When you show the value you can bring to the table, the conversation becomes easier, and you might get what you’re asking for. Sell yourself first before answering.

Having said that, don’t mention your expenses or complain about how you’d survive in a big city with that salary. 

Be professional and believe that you deserve what you’re asking. 


In this blog, you learned about the various practices on how to answer the question about your salary expectations. You can follow these practices to ensure a win-win-win scenario for all parties involved; you, the recruiter, and the company. Always remember not to undersell yourself. You have to back yourself the right way and all the way.

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