I got the "did you have a salary in mind that are looking for"  question and I am not sure if I handled it correctly and all I could think was there is no need to discuss salary until there is an offer.

The interviewer was the company recruiter and they asked my current salary and I obliged.  Then they asked was there a specific salary I was looking for.   Now this is where I am not sure if I addressed it correctly.

I said "I don't have a specific salary in mind but I am aware of the market range of this position.  I am really more concerned with finding out if I am a good fit for your company and if your company is a good fit for me, and if we get that far I would be interested in discussing salary"

She followed up with something like "  I perfectly understand, like most candidates we understand you are probably looking for a competitive increase and we expect that"

Any thoughts, was my answer appropriate or does it looks like I am trying to control the interview?  It didn't seem like it was a bad exchange but I was going through the interview in my head and that was one area where I wasn't sure if I handled it appropriately.





afmoffa's picture

When she asked you your current salary, you gave it to her. When she asked what you were looking for, you answered her question. "I don't have a specific salary in mind, but I understand market rates" is a valid answer. And then you pivoted to discussing fit.

I think that's all good stuff!

No one has ever hit me with a point-blank "This interview ends if you don't tell me a number," and it doesn't sound as if that happened here, either. If it ever did get that crass, I guess I'd ask for a 10% raise over my current pay, plus a clear path forward... and then I'd do the same pivot you did, back to fit and culture.

cim44's picture
Training Badge

Your answer was what I would have said.'s picture

Thanks for the responses.   Before finding MT I probably would have given some sort of range without thinking about it.  

I was hoping it would reaffirm my position that I am really looking for a good career opportunity and not a job.   Its the first time I have ever said that and after I delivered it I immediately thought "I hope I don't come off like I am avoiding the question"

Like Mark constantly reminds us "you have NOTHING until you have an offer."


Jazzman's picture
Licensee Badge

I disagree with the above.  She wanted to know a specific number...give her a specific number.  Saying you know the market range is dancing around the answer.  This isn't really about what you want, it's about giving her an answer to something she wants to know.

It is fine to briefly say that there's more to it than just salary, but first answer the request.

See: for MT-specific guidance.


TomW's picture
Training Badge

ChrisH, it sounds like you were a politician trying to say what you wanted to say instead of answering the question.

The rhythm of your interview sounds something this this:

  • Interviewer: Question
  • Interviewee: Answer
  • Interviewer: Question
  • Interviewee: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
  • Interviewer:That's OK, I really didn't need an answer to my question (thought balloon over interviewer's head: "Strike 1")

A range is bounded by a low number and a high number. Anything that is not a number is not an answer to a numerical question.

jrosenau's picture


That question comes up because they want to know if the salary range they have for the position fits what you are expecting.  They are also looking at what you made previously and look at what you are expecting to see what that gap is.  Is it a reasonable gap or are you expecting a 50% raise?  Most recruiters I talk to make sure I have the requirements of the position, then ask the salary question to ensure they understands my  salary range and I know if I fit in their range.  Then they can move on to questions of fit.

I agree with Jazz - Answer the question then note that you are interested in making sure you are a good fit for the organization.

John's picture

Yeah, perhaps I blew that question and could have answered it more direct.   She actually did not ask for a range she asked for a specific salary.  I suppose I could have gave her a range and while that would not have answered her specific question it would have been closer to the answer she was probably looking for.

I guess I won't know for sure if my answer was a deal breaker but if I don't get the next interview maybe it had something to do with it. 

I will have to go back through the podcast, I thought it was recommended that there was no need to dicuss salary until you have an offer.  It was the first time I have never given a direct answer and while it was different at the time I felt like the answer was fine and recieved well but then again I don't get to see the "ballon" over their head.

You live and you learn.....

Thanks for the feedback.

afmoffa's picture

We may be getting wound too tight on semantics, but you did answer her question. So you did just fine. 

Recruiter asked: "Was there a specific salary you were looking for?"  (do you have a number in mind?)
You answered: "I don't have a specific salary in mind..."  (no I don't.)

As long as you were right in your original post about what the interviewer asked and what you answered, you did fine. The question as asked does not require a numerical answer, or even a range. And her follow-up observation "I perfectly understand...we expect that" would seem to confirm that she was indeed asking more of a hypothetical question. She didn't try to pin you down to a specific number. You didn't want to discuss salary, and neither did she, if your recollections are accurate.

Now, if the interviewer had asked you: "What is the salary you require for this role?" then that question would have required a specific answer.

Don't beat yourself up over it. You did fine.