Interview question: your salary expectations

career people at right place Sep 13, 2021

I`d like to share my view as an ex-recruiter. I have asked "what are your salary expectations?" to thousands of applicants during 15 years. 10 of them in Turkey, Istanbul, and Antalya. Both, during the phone interview, and in the face-to-face meetings.

Basically, there are 3 responses:

1) Applicant tells me his current salary package (including bonus system, additional benefits).

2)  Applicant tells me his expectations (again, the whole package).

3) Applicant asks me what the company offers.

First, I have to mention, that in different countries there are different legal requirements regarding this topic. I will talk about my experience in Turkey. Here, it`s not required to mention salary offer in the advertisement.

Second, as a recruitment consultant, we are not in charge of salary negotiations and are not allowed to disclose the planned budget for the position. Therefore, from my perspective as a recruiter, only the first 2 responses are satisfactory.

Mostly, I didn`t face major challenges with the salary question. I have been lucky to work with honest multinational organizations and professional applicants, where none of them thinks that they would be cheated by another party.

Nevertheless, some applicants don`t prefer to mention their current package. That`s because of mainly 2 reasons – they are underpaid and don`t want to be paid less than the organization was planning to offer for this position. Or they are afraid to lose the job opportunity if their current package is much higher than what the company offers.


When it comes to mentioning salary expectations, mainly there is a fear to ask for less than the company would be ready to pay.


Or for too much, and lose the chance to negotiate face to face with the representative of the company. Or even to get the interview at all.

Here is my opinion.⬇⬇

Yes, the company always has some budget ready for the position they hire. It has some range. As a chosen candidate you will be offered a package based on that range, depending mainly on your expertise and contribution to the company, secondary, to your current salary package. And when it comes to that stage, you will be able to negotiate the details.

Learning your current package is necessary for a recruiter to understand, how close or far are you from that range. If necessary, your expectations or current salary package can be kept confidential between a recruiter and you, until the last stage, when you meet the HR department or line manager of the company.


I believe that honest, open communication is the best approach.


If you are underpaid, we talk about it. If you work for a smaller company or a local company and thus the salary package is lower than for the same position in a different organization, we talk about it.

The recruiter is not on the client`s side. They are on both sides, helping you to find the right place and company to find the right candidate. At least, that`s how we managed the recruiting process.


If your current salary package is far away on the low or high end from the company's offer, I would give that feedback to you immediately. And we decide together, what are our next steps based on that.


The same applies if you mention your expectations. If they are too high, we openly discuss, how much room for negotiations do you have, based on the job offer you apply.

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Recently, we had created a POLL in our ParP and individual LinkedIn accounts. Several people responded, that they are annoyed by this question because in any case company has some budget fixed for the position and let them just offer it to you. I get that frustration. However, to reach the point of having an applicant to whom to make that offer, the company by themselves or by the support of a recruiter needs to get through hundreds of applications and meet tens of people.

If there is no open communication from the beginning, you might get far in the application process just to learn that it`s simply not possible at the current stage to offer you what you expect. It would be a loss of your time and all other involved parties' time. Everyone`s time is valuable.

Since it is not a practice in Turkey to mention salary in advertisements, the ball is on your side.


If you feel like you don`t trust the recruiter, that`s unfortunate. If you feel like you don`t trust the company, to have a fair salary negotiation at the offer stage, you might reconsider working there at all.


Professional organizations and applicants manage the salary topic with ease. Always have been knowing the numbers of both sides, I can assure you that at least in my 15 years of past recruiting experience, I don`t recall any mistreating from any of the parties.

Wish you good luck in salary negotiations and finding the right place for you!

If you need support to create a career strategy, get more tips from international recruiters and prepare for your next job interview, check out our www.my-career-choice.com online program. We will be happy to help! 🖐

💡 If you are ready to get the job you want, to create your career strategy, and prepare to rock your next job interview, get support from international recruiters with 15+ years of experience: MyCareerChoice




Inuta Sert

Behaviour Shaper & Organizational Psychologist @PARP

Inuta joined our PeopleAtRightPlace team in 2009. She has more than 15 years of experience in supporting people to find their right place, discover their potential and hidden limitations. She has graduated from Psychology department. Even though she loves to dig deep, she does it quickly and rather focuses on how to immediately improve today.


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