3 Tips to Help You Answer Salary Expectations Question During an Interview

Women showing money to the camera

While a question about your salary expectations is one of the most common things employers ask during a job interview, it can be stressful to talk about money.

Healthcare workers have sacrificed their time, money, and energy to earn a degree or build up their experience to serve others in the healthcare field. It doesn’t stop there, though. Showing up for work means being alert and “on” for the entire duration of the shift. This work isn’t easy, therefore, it pays to know how to manage to answer the ultimate interview question – “what are your salary expectations?

Check out these tips before your interview in order to answer this question confidently and clearly:

1. Know Your Worth, Then Ask for A Little More

Healthcare workers have sacrificed a lot. This includes their time, money, and energy to earn a degree or build up their experience in order to serve others in the healthcare field. It doesn’t stop there, though. Showing up for work means being alert and “on” for the entire duration of the shift. This work isn’t easy, therefore, it pays to do research as to what is the standard of pay for your type of work. If you have limited experience in the field, you might be wondering, how do I figure out what the standard pay is? To answer that question, you need to connect with people who can answer that question for you. Here is what you should do:

  1. At first you might think that you don’t know anyone who can give you a direct answer. However, you may know someone who has connections to a healthcare professional who can help. Reach out to your contacts and express what information you’re looking for. Someone in your network may be able to connect you with the right person.
  2. Talk to your professors. They may be familiar with the standard pay rate where you live or connect you to the people who know.
  3. You can also ask people online on job forums and through social media. For instance, there are countless Facebook groups dedicated to healthcare professionals all across the country. Quite often, the people who follow these groups are looking for straightforward answers to common questions like salary, negotiations, etc.

Once you have asked a few people on what the standard of pay is, you should have a general number. During the interview, ask for a little more than the standard rate. They may agree to this number, or they may negotiate with you. If you do have to negotiate, you’re at least negotiating from a high number, therefore there is a chance you might still earn more than the average.

2. Prepare Negotiation Points

One reason why people are uncomfortable discussing their salary expectations is because they are worried about having to justify why they should be paid the amount they desire. One way to overcome this feeling is to be prepared with negotiation points. A negotiation point is anything that helps you justify why you should be paid a certain amount of money. Here are some negotiation points:

  1. Consider how many years of experience you have. If you have experience in this role you might be able to justify your salary expectations by describing how you are able to ‘jump right in’ as a seasoned professional.
  2. Do you have any qualifications that set you apart? If you have any certifications, special training, or something unique to offer to this setting. Demonstrate how you can use your advanced education to benefit the company.
  3. Does the role come with any benefits? If the company doesn’t have benefits, or what they offer is minimal, you can point this out when justifying what salary you’re seeking. Limited benefits means that you will have to pay out of pocket for various things and therefore it makes sense that your salary reflects that.

3. Practice In Order to Build Confidence

Employers and recruiters want to hire excellent workers who are qualified, but they also want to save money, too. It is up to you to advocate for yourself by being prepared with research and negotiation points. The next step is to practice out loud what you’re going to say when the question comes up. Here are some examples:

  1. Based on the industry average and my experience, a salary in the range of $65,00-$70,000 annually seems appropriate. However, I am open to negotiation depending on the benefits, tuition reimbursement, and professional development opportunities available.
  2. Thank you for asking. As I do have experience in this area and have completed various advanced trainings, an annual salary of $75,000 is appropriate.
  3. I am looking to receive an annual salary of $55,000 – $65,000 which I believe reflects the average salary for professionals with my skill level. However, I am flexible and interested in hearing about the company’s salary expectations for this role.

Are you feeling prepared, yet? If you are still uneasy about your upcoming interview, there are a few more articles that can help. If you are curious as to what other questions you might get asked, check out this article. Or, perhaps, your interview is taking place over video and you need some tips. If you’re also realizing that you need to build up your resume in order to justify more pay, this article can point you in the right direction.

If you have any advice on how to answer this question or ways to negotiate for more money, please comment below as we would love to hear from you!


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About the author

Kristie Cabrera

Kristie is an occupational therapist, mental health advocate, and amateur urban farmer. Her experience with taking care of others in the healthcare setting and taking care of the land are both important pieces that make up who she is. As a life-long learner and creative, she hopes to create content that is centered around wellness and healing.

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