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Be Prepared to Answer the Salary Question

One of the most challenging (and most dreaded) questions to answer is “Tell me about your salary expectations.” This question will easily come up at some point during the interview process and you will want to be ready. Crafting your response is a fine balancing act. Saying an amount that is too high could price you out of consideration, but you also do not want to settle for less than you deserve.

Why do hiring managers seek this information?

1. Budget: Everyone has a budget, especially organizations and many internal recruiters or hiring managers may try to address the salary question earlier in the interview process to be respectful of your time as well as their own.

2. Knowing your worth: Additionally, recruiters will ask the salary question to assess if you know your worth and what the market bears in terms of the level of the role, competencies, and experience.

3. Professional level: Lastly, employers want to see how you demonstrate your professionalism and expertise. Being ready for the question with a polished, genuine, fair response will go a long way in highlighting your interest and preparation.

It is important to note, that in many states, organizations are not allowed to ask your current compensation, but they may ask what your salary expectations are to move for a new career opportunity.

Prepare a fair response.

Preparing for your response will help assess what is reasonable to you while also staying within the employer’s budget.

1. Do your research: Fortunately, more organizations are advertising compensations on their respective job postings. Try researching similar career opportunities that are at the same level in reporting structure, job responsibilities, years of experience required, and requested education and/or certifications. Another great resource is the 20th Edition BCM Compensation Report that is exclusive to Business Continuity, Resilience Management, and Crisis Management professionals. You can request a complimentary copy of this report at Additionally, you can contribute to the study ( to receive your very own customized BCM Peer Compensation Dashboard in which you can choose for your data to be filtered by either job title or by years of BCM expertise. Lastly, you can ask other associates within your same profession who you respect and trust in their guidance.

2. Use a salary range: Answering with a salary range and not a specific figure will convey your flexibility and your openness to negotiating. Additionally, this flexibility leaves room for adjustment once you learn more about the benefits (complete package). It is also important to note that employers will tend to focus on the low dollar figure quoted. Aim to keep the bottom of your range toward the low-mid point.

3. Delay your answer: If you are asked about your salary expectations very early in the process you can always delay a bit in responding that you would like to learn more the job, responsibilities, reporting structures, etc. in order to assess a reasonable response on your compensation objectives.

4. Be genuine and honest: A future employer will always appreciate a fair, genuine, and honest response. Circumventing the question entirely may be viewed negatively. It is best to direct the conversation to the skills and value you would bring to the role. Always be sure to never misrepresent your experience or training, though.

Here is a helpful video with advice in crafting a response to the compensation question -

Hopefully, you find these tips helpful. As always, we are here to help you in meeting your career aspirations in any way that we can. Sign up for our BCM Career Alert notifications at to ensure you receive timely new career notifications matching your search preferences. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have. Arrange a complimentary discussion today at

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