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How Much Do You Want to Make Interview Question


Employment & Learning

YWCA Saskatoon’s Employment and Learning Centre remains closed for in-person programs in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.  We will continue to provide remote services via email, telephone, and social media (Facebook).

We believe it is important to maintain your job search momentum. As such the Employment and Learning Centre will offer you daily job search advice and support that you can complete from home.

Today’s post is another post in the series….

So you are in a job interview and everything is going fine.  You have answered their questions about your strengths and weaknesses, what you would do in a conflict situation and you even managed to tell them what colour you would be, if you could be a colour.  And now they ask the dreaded question…

How much money do you want to make?

The time to develop an answer to that question is not in the interview, the time is now.

Before we answer that question, it is worth asking, “Why do employers ask the ‘how much money do you want to make’ question?    There is no on answer, but they may be asking because they, want to see

  • if you understand the industry/position
  • how much you value yourself
  • if their budget matches your expectations.

Back to the question, How do I answer the “How much money do you want to make?” question?  We recommend you consider and develop answers based on the four (4) R’s: Research, Range, Realistic and Rational.  By this we mean:

Research: Do your research and find out what similar companies and similar jobs pay.  You might be able to find this information on line, in collective agreements, in job advertisements and by asking in informational interviews.

Range: Once you have done your research, you will know how much the job pays generally.  You can answer this question using a hourly rate, a weekly rate, bi monthly, monthly or annual rate.  We encourage you to say from $X/hour to $X/hour (i.e. $18/hour to $22/hour), knowing that your desired and expected rate is somewhere in the middle (i.e. $20/hour).  Please note, a quick and easy way to determine an annual salary is to multiply the hourly rate by 2000 hours of work in a year, so your $20/hour job will pay approximately $40,000/year.  We would recommend you consider asking for ask for $36,000/year to $44,000/year.

Realistic: Again once you have done your research, you will know what the market is paying.  We strongly discourage you from saying something unrealistic to make a point or see if you can get a huge salary.  If you know the job pays $40,000, don’t say I’d like to make $100,000, because the employer will likely be thinking, I’d like to make that too.  Make sure your answer is realistic and reasonable.

Rational:  This is your opportunity to sell yourself or ‘close the deal’.  Tell the employer why they should hire you , what you are worth and how you can make or save them money.   This is the time to speak about your ‘value added proposition’.

One last thing, remember to say and remind them that you are ‘Willing to negotiate.” and mean it.

Your Employment and Learning staff are working remotely through email or over the telephone.  Should you have any questions about resumes, job interviews, job interview questions, how to prepare, or how to answer those difficult questions, feel free to contact any of your Employment and Learning staff for support.  You can reach us at:

Stay motivated; stay healthy as you achieve your employment goals.