Tough interview questions: ‘What salary are you looking for?’

June 29, 2020

By Stephanie Vozza, Journal of Accountancy

You've reached the part of the job interview where it's time to discuss compensation. It can be hard to know how to answer if you're asked, "What salary are you looking for?" State too high a figure and your potential employer might think they can't afford you; mention too low a figure and you may end up being paid less than you should.

"This is always a tough question," admitted Lindsay Gaal, chief human resources officer at accounting firm Friedman LLP in New York City.

It can be tempting to answer by simply saying, "It's negotiable," but Gina Curtis, executive recruiting manager at JMJ Phillip Group and career coach for the career coaching firm Employment BOOST in Troy, Mich., advised against that tactic. "It can be very hard for hiring managers to move you forward in the process if you do not give a specific answer," she said.

There are ways to tackle this thorny question without waffling, though. To start, it helps to understand why hiring managers ask it.

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