How to Successfully Answer “Gotcha! Questions” When Negotiating Your Salary


The interview process can be a anxiety-inducing beast. Imagine having to answer trick questions about salary. That just makes the process even more stressful. Are there questions like that? Yes, but not to worry cause we got you covered fam…😮‍💨

The employer’s goal is to make the best candidate accept the lowest possible pay while the prospective employee wants take home as much as possible.

Am I the only one who doesn’t like when employers leave out the salary portion in a job posting? It can be annoying to go through the application process without knowing the salary for a position. Job postings are presented this way for a reason.

Employers regularly go through this process with candidates and negotiate compensation as part of business as usual. They can be experts at this and you might be unprepared or their tactics.

Developing a Plan to Get the Best Offer

This post intends to help you develop a game plan to get the best offer. We will present you with some of the trap questions that hiring managers and recruiters try to use in negotiations to trick you into accepting a smaller salary packages..

I have read several other posts on the advantages of negotiating a for more benefits in your compensation package. When equipped with information and negotiation tactics, you can dramatically increase how much you receive in compensation.

1. What salary requirements do you have?

One reason that this question is a trap is because you might end up asking for less than they’re prepared to offer you. It’s also a trap because you might ask for more than they’re willing to give you. This could in turn scare them off from making an offer if your answer is too high. If you tell them that you are open to negotiating and want to hear their thoughts before committing to a number, then this puts the ball back in their court.

Companies will usually give you a salary range that gives you two options. You can either ask to receive the middle of that range or you can tell them that you want to be in the upper half of the range.

Being ready for a question like this can help you get the best salary possible.

2. What is the compensation that you have in your current role?

Imagine that you say that you make $75k, but the employer was prepared to offer $100K. Now, you might not get the $100K that you could have received. They will probably start out with a lower number because you said something less than what they prepared to say. In other words, this puts you at a disadvantage.

Instead, respond to this question by saying, “I would prefer to not discuss my current salary since this job has different responsibilities than my present job. After we talk about the tasks required to successfully do this job, I’m confident that we can agree upon a compensation package.

3. We’re thinking of making an offer to you of $100K. Does that offer sound good to you?

The $100K could be any amount in this situation. The number is just hypothetical. The amount may be what you’re expecting to receive, or you can try to receive more.

For example, you could say, “I was hoping to receive $110K. If you raise the offer slightly, then I look forward to joining your organization in the next 2 weeks.”

Keep in mind that the goal is to raise the salary slightly so as to not offend. Also, be prepared to accept what you counter with in your offer. This has several benefits: 1) It doesn’t scare them off, and they may accept the offer. 2) It doesn’t scare them off from you accepting the original offer, if they don’t accept your counter.


Ultimately, the main takeaway is that you should avoid being the first to give a number. Be prepared for some pushback and to negotiate.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *