Sometimes, along with ,“Tell me a little bit about yourself,” and “What is your greatest weakness?” and, of course, “Why should I hire you?” the question of salary expectations comes up in job interviews. That means you are expected to come up with an hourly, monthly or annual salary that you would expect an employer to pay you should you be hired.

Many employment specialists suggest that this is a question that shouldn’t be discussed at an interview. One ( suggests turning the question around by asking why they would want that information. I would consider this to be an interview ender. Some sites and counsellors say that the interview is not an appropriate place to discuss salary. I would counter that the interview is the perfect place to discuss salary expectations, as it could bring on other discussions such as:

  • Benefits
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Stability of funding
  • Sources of funding
  • Ranges of salaries and benefits that can be compared with salaries and benefits offered by other companies

I suspect that you are already thinking that I am going to suggest that it would be important to open these discussions at the interview. That is correct. In fact, I would suggest putting it on the agenda of questions – possibly one of the questions under the general question, “Do you have any questions about us?

But this is a sensitive offer. The same emotions that come into play when asked the question, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.” You simply don’t like talking about yourself. You are being asked to put a value on your work, comparing your work with others, and doing something your mother always told you not to do – brag.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Do a little research

Hit the Internet and find out what other companies offer for the same positions. You might find this information on postings from other companies. Use salary surveys that are sometimes available from government websites in your area. Use all of this information to generate a range of salaries that you can bring with you to the interview.

  1. Consider benefits

Many applicants forget the value of benefits in their negotiations. Depending on the nature and generosity of the benefits, a $20 per hour job may actually be a $27per hour after all the math is done. Of course, if the benefits aren’t so generous, the bottom line could be considerably less.

  1. Opportunities

Since they brought up the question about salary expectations in the first place, the door remains open to discuss the frequency of raises, and whether there might be opportunities for career development, a budget for workshops and also whether opportunities for advancement exist.

Here are a few statement you can use to enhance your sales pitch for yourself

  • At my last positon, I was earning $22 per hour. I would thing that, given my experience, I should be able to achieve $25 per hour
  • I have been researching similar positions, and learned that the annual salary range for similar and identical positions range  from $45,000 – 50,000 per annum. I would hope that your offer would fall within that range
  • I am a recent graduate, so I don’t have a lot of experience other than practicum and coop experience, but I also have a lot of enthusiasm and a real desire to put what I have learned into practice. As a result, I believe I am worth between $25 and $30 per hour.
  • I noticed that you offer an extended medical plan. My spouse has the same plan with probably better coverage. Since I don’t actually need this as part of my benefits package, could I take that off and, instead, ask for a 5% increase in my salary offer?

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is a newly retired ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a former member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at  or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.





  1. energywriter Says:

    Good information. Wish I would have had it when I needed it. Glad to see you’re back writing again.

  2. Alex Bell Says:

    Yep Mike, that is basically my advice to clients as well. I usually suggest to research the salary range in the Province you are applying in, factor in how many years of experience you have or what other skills you bring to the job and be honest about the range you are willing to accept. And, as you pointed out, what other factors play in to the overall benefit package especially pension and medical. Finally, consider opportunity for growth with the company if that is important to you.

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