How to deflect a salary expectation question in an interview

How to Deflect Salary Expectation Question


On your job hunting adventure, and as you anticipate your dream job, it is equally important that you prepare yourself for encounters with prospective employers. In the course of preparation, knowing how to rightly respond to certain questions that could seem trivial yet tricky mustn’t be overlooked. Amongst the numerous questions of this kind, one which would test your integrity as a potential candidate for a role is your ability to respond to questions the revolves around your earnings or benefits when you eventually get the job. Now, let’s pop the big question; How do you deflect a salary expectation question when face with one in an interview?

Salary expectation questions could come in any form, hence, a general approach may not work. As Thomas Edison would say, “There is a way to do it better — find it.”

In this article, I will be providing you with various approaches to different forms of salary expectation questions you could encounter in an interview.


5 Reasons Why You Should Know How to Deflect Salary Expectation Questions

Tactfully declining to answer a salary based does not just tell the level of your integrity. There are numerous workplace benefits that comes with handling such situations perfectly if you are eventually hired.

Let’s take a look!


  • Negotiation leverage: in most cases, job postings only carry an overview of the responsibilities attached to a particular role. Some employers use this subtle method to underpay their potential employees. Avoiding such questions will give you time to get to understand the job responsibilities which would give you in salary negotiation later, if actually negotiation is possible.
  • Underpayment: a majority of employees are being underpaid without even realizing it. Employers will utilize every means to minimize expenditure by offering a salary at the lower end of their budget. Deflecting a salary expectation question will ensure you are being paid for your value at the end of the day.
  • Professionalism: you can showcase your professionalism by avoiding salary expectation questions. Although, taking up any job is solely for the purpose of making a living, the prospective employer will get to understand that you aren’t just attracted to the role because of the benefits attached, and see you as someone who is value-driven and with the potential to realize the company’s long-term goals.
  • Potential Flexibility: one way a company can pry into a candidate’s intentions is by asking what your salary expectation is. With this they can tell what your priorities are and guage your potential flexibility.
  • Ideal Candidate: your priority as a job seeker is to convince the prospective employer that you are fit for that particular role. Deflecting will help keep the focus on your qualifications, skills and abilities that makes you the ideal candidate for the position.


Common Salary Expectation Questions 

As stated earlier, employers will employ subtle methods to get you to spill. Here are 3 common salary expectation questions you may likely come across in an interview:


  1. “What are your salary expectations for this position?”
  2. “What was your previous salary?”
  3. “What salary range are you looking for?”

These are the three questions you should brace up for when going for any job interview, how do you deflect these salary expectation questions?


How to Deflect Salary Expectation Question

Intimidating as they can be—for someone who knows the implications of such questions, these questions can be deflected with the right approach.


APPROACH 1: Deflecting a Salary Expectation Question by Emphasizing on Your Interest and Fitness for the Role.

Using this approach would help you to express your interest in the company and enthusiasm for the role you are applying for.

Simply saying:

“I’m excited about the opportunities this position presents, and I believe my background in [mention something relevant to the position] aligns well with the challenges outlined in the job description. I’m confident that my experience can help [mention the specific objective of the role].”

This response would help you redirect the conversation, and keep the focus on your skills, job requirements and overall company’s success.


APPROACH 2: Flexibility and Openness

Express and emphasize your openness to considering different factors; be it benefits, bonuses, or opportunities for growth, in addition to base salary, by simply stating:

“I’m open to considering a comprehensive package that includes salary, benefits, and potential performance-based bonuses. I believe in a fair compensation structure that rewards achievements.”

This will help you to avoid pushing yourself into a corner


READ ALSO:How to Decline a Job Offer to Stay with Current Employer


APPROACH 3: Demonstrating Long-Term Value and Contribution

Any prospective employer asking related questions obviously has no good intentions to it. But here’s another way you can give a satisfactory response:

“My main priority is to contribute to the success of the organization and deliver exceptional results. I’m confident that my skills and experience will prove to be an asset to the team.”

With this approach, the employer has a reassurance that your focus is on delivering value and contributing to the company’s success, rather than just the salary.


Consider this scenario:

Picture me to be in an interview with a prospective employer, and suddenly he asks the question “What are your salary expectations for this role?”, a lot of people will get tensed, it’s okay to get nervous as well, but don’t get too excited. How do I deflect this salary expectation question instead?

I will keep my calm, maintain a smile, while I reply:

“I’m genuinely excited about the opportunity to work with your esteemed organization and contribute to its growth. Before discussing specific figures, I’d love to learn more about the responsibilities and the team dynamics to better understand how I can make a meaningful impact.”


Apt! Doesn’t require going back and forth. No professional prospective employer would expect a straightforward answer to such questions because it’s basically setting you up, permit me to put it that way.



Bracing yourself for such questions is the first step on how to deflect a salary expectation question. Under no circumstances should you provide a clear answer when asked a salary expectation question in an interview. There’s no honesty in it, rather, it’s integrity not to provide a direct reply because doing otherwise will be laying a foundation for regret later which I’m sure you wouldn’t want to.

Share this:

Latest Jobs In Nigeria


Post Your Job

Use the button below to post your jobs for FREE.


Jobs by Date

Filter post by date


See all Job Categories

Search jobs by categories here.