What to say when asked how much you want to be paid

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

When it comes to salary negotiations, knowing what to say when asked how much you want to be paid can be a tricky situation. It’s important to take the time to prepare and practice your response in order to make sure you get the salary you deserve.

The first step in preparing for this question is researching. It’s essential that you know what the going rate is for your position or similar positions in your area before entering into any negotiations. This will give you a better understanding of what kind of salary range is reasonable and allow you to make an educated decision about what number makes sense for you. You can find this information on websites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, and PayScale, all of which provide up-to-date salary ranges for various job titles and industries.

Once you have done your research, the next step is determining how much money you need or want. Thinking through cost of living expenses in your area, student loan payments if applicable, other sources of income available to help cover costs like medical insurance premiums or childcare costs can help give a better picture of where your desired salary should land within the range provided by research sites like those mentioned above. Additionally, it’s important to consider any additional benefits or perks that could come along with a higher salary offer as these may add up over time and be beneficial in the long run even if they aren’t reflected directly in paychecks from month-to-month.

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Once armed with research and an idea of what number makes sense for your lifestyle needs it’s time for negotiation itself! When asked about how much money you want it’s best not to provide an exact dollar amount right away; this could either leave money on the table or prevent employers from making additional offers depending on their budgeting practices so it’s best avoided until further discussion has taken place between both parties. Instead offer a range somewhere within the average market rates provided by research sites—this will demonstrate that not only have you done thorough background work but also that there is flexibility depending upon other elements concerning overall compensation packages like vacation days or health insurance coverage etcetera that would factor into one’s decision making process when considering taking on a new role at an organization (Herr et al., 2017).

When talking compensation packages its also important not forget about non-monetary forms like flexible working hours (Dumay & Frost 2015). Offering options such as telecommuting or compressed working hours has been shown to increase employee satisfaction (Dumay & Frost 2015) so don’t hesitate when proposing these options as part of offers made by potential employers – they might just be exactly what someone needs!

Once all details have been discussed regarding compensation potential employers will usually ask directly how much one wants so at this point its advisable respond back with something along these lines “I am looking for something around [insert targeted range] per year plus benefits” . This demonstrates confidence without committing too quickly while allowing further discussions around settlement amounts based off all factors discussed previously while still adhering closely enough towards pre determined goals achieved during initial research phases (Herr et al., 2017).

Overall, taking some time prior negotiations begin in order understand market rates combined with personal lifestyle needs put individuals in prime positions when responding back regarding desired salaries during job interviews – after all knowledge truly is power!


  1. Dumay J., & Frost C.(2015) ‘Perceived work–life balance: evidence from Australian organizations’ International Journal Of Human Resource Management ,26(8), 1031–1053
  2. Herr P., Harvey J., & Smith H.(2017) ‘Strategies For Successful Salary Negotiations’ The Industrial And Organizational Psychologist ,55(1), 14–18

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