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How to Talk about Your Salary

by | Mar 31, 2021 | Recruiting

Every worker has a minimum compensation requirement. This is someone’s lowest salary required in order to perform a job. 

Basics of Salary Requirements

A woman spreading out multiple hundred dollar bills.
Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

When searching for a job, it is important to know the minimum salary that you would take for a job. Everyone has their own salary expectations and be ready to answer when it is asked. 

It depends on the company when they ask. Some recruiters ask in a job application, others ask in the cover letter, but some will put you on the spot during a phone screening or job interview.

What to Consider

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Photo by Javier Sierra on Unsplash

It is very important to do your research, and you have the internet at your fingertips, so it should not be too difficult. Here are things to consider when finding the perfect salary range for a job offer.


This is a great place to begin. Each industry and experience level in the industries will have a different salary range. Then, see how your job title would fit in within the industry. 

Cost of Living

This is very important because $50,000 a year can be very different in New York City and a city in the state of Wyoming. Fully understand the areas rent prices, average meal price, etc. It is helpful to use a salary calculator. 

Your Education and Experience

This is something that should be mentioned when speaking about salary negotiations. If you have an education that makes you a more competitive job applicant, this can be leveraged in your favor when discussing a compensation package. A potential employer will appreciate the justification and can see the value brought to the company. 

If you have many years of experience, this should be noted in your negotiations as well. Emphasize your hands-on experience in the field while negotiating but also throughout the interview process and in interview questions. 

The Benefits Package

Do not forget about the benefits package and the importance it has in your life. If a new job pays $2,000 more but has no benefits available. Then that is something to consider because it will add additional costs and hassle with figuring out insurance, retirement, and time off. 

The Job Posting

For some jobs, it says an expected salary range or a starting salary in the job posting. This should be noted before applying. It can lead to a waste of time on both ends if a specific number cannot be agreed upon far into the hiring process.

Your Salary History

Some prospective employers will ask about your most current salary information. It is important to stay honest in this conversation because they could contact that current job and ask. 

Tips and Tricks for Communicating Salary

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Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

As a job seeker, communicating with a hiring manager during a job search is already uncomfortable. So when discussing money, it can be dreadful. Although preparing ahead of time will set you up to appropriately answer if asked on the spot at any point in the hiring process.

  • Do not sell yourself short.
  • Negotiate on the high end and set a low end for yourself.
  • Always give a number range.
  • Understand that you both have budgets.
  • Emphasize your flexibility.

Example Answer

“Thank you for asking. My baseline salary range is between $75,000 and 80,000 given my education and level of experience in this industry. Although, I am willing to be flexible and hear more about the company’s expectations”

The big salary question is intimidating, but now you will successfully negotiate a fair salary that matches your skillset. But, it also ensures that the company has a salary that fits within its budget.

To gain more insight on answering interview questions and the hiring process, read the Scholars Blog and tune into The Internship Show

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About Scholars

Internships and early-career jobs are unlike any others. They are often accepted months, if not years, in advance of the start date leaving plenty of time for candidates to change their minds and decide to work elsewhere, costing your team time and money.

There are two ways that have been proven to decrease renege rates for any company: keeping candidates engaged by sharing personalized information and helping them make connections with their future teammates. Companies use Scholars to accomplish both of these at scale.