salary expectationsInterviews are often a nerve-inducing experience without questions about your salary expectations coming up. But when it does, to avoid a series of “ums…” and blank stares off into the distance, it is best to know exactly how to answer this question in a constructive way.

As a general rule, going into an interview prepared means you know what questions you could be asked and how you want to answer. This goes for everyone, whether you are interviewing for an entry-level medical coding and billing position or to be the top executive of a company.

When the salary expectations question comes up in your interview, and it probably will at some point, here are a couple of different ways you can respond:

Delay your Answer

Interviewees can often become nervous about forking over their salary expectations to a potential employer because they don’t want to aim too high or too low and take the interviewers by surprise.

Luckily, there are few ways to delay sharing the number you have in mind without concerning your interviewers.

According to an article on, there are five key scenarios that can play out when you choose to delay sharing your thoughts on salary:

Q: “What salary range are you looking for?”
A: “Let’s talk about the job requirements and expectations first, so I can get a sense of what you need.”
Q: “What did you make at your last job?”
A: “This position is not exactly the same as my last job. So let’s discuss what my responsibilities would be here and then determine a fair salary for this job.”
Q: “What are you expecting to make in terms of salary?”
A: “I am interested in finding a job that is a good fit for me. I’m sure whatever salary you’re paying is consistent with the rest of the market.”
Q: “I need to know what salary you want in order to make an offer. Can you tell me a range?”
A: “I’d appreciate it if you could make me an offer based on whatever you have budgeted for this position and we can go from there.”
Q: “Why don’t you want to give your salary requirements?”
A: “I think you have a good idea of what this position is worth to your company, and that’s important information for me to know.”

These answers allow you to avoid giving specifics, but encourage discussion about coming to an agreement on a suitable salary.

Be Prepared to Negotiate

If you aren’t afraid to tackle this interview topic head on, be armed with facts and information.

In her article, “How to Negotiate Your Next Salary,” Amy Gallo said, “Employers set salaries based on what they currently pay people to fill similar roles and what they believe competitors are paying. They may have a certain budget or a predetermined range. Information is power in negotiation so the more you know about these data points the better.”1

Be aware of the market you are getting into and have a clear understanding of the salary you deserve for the position for which you are interviewing. To learn more about the salary trends for medical coders and billers, head to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Why do Employers Ask about your Salary Expectations?

When employers ask about your salary expectations, regardless of whether or not you choose to believe otherwise, it is not because they want to see how uncomfortable they can make you.

Ultimately, the intention of this difficult interview questions is for employers to make sure they can afford you before they invest time and money into hiring you.

In fact, “candidates should not be so freaked out about sharing information. Everyone needs to remember that the job interview process is about finding the person who is the best fit for the job,” stated human resources guru Suzanne Lucas. “And one of the things that must fit is salary.”2

When it comes to this topic, be sure to enter your interview with a plan for how you want the discussion to progress with your interviewers. And feel confident in that plan.

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