How Do You Answer The Salary Question

Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012

While you are in the interview, be sure that you do not ask anything related to compensation (i.e. pay, vacation, insurance, etc.). You have to understand the responsibilities of the job first, so you can decide on the appropriate compensation.

Sometimes they will ask how much you were paid at your last job. I recommend deferring this with a statement such as “at this point I do not wish to share this because the compensation should be based on the responsibilities of the job”. Normally they will respect this, but if they push, make sure they understand that you are valuing the job based on the responsibilities of the role and current market value. If they low ball you, you can negotiate up or decline the role if they do not meet your requirements (I will explain in negotiation). Eventually you will have to share your salary information, but that can be later.

In one of my previous job interviews, I was asked how much I was being paid in my current role. I said that I am concerned about answering this question because I want the compensation to be based on the responsibilities of the job and not on my previous compensation. The interviewer accepted this and told me I would have to share it later. Even after sharing it later I was able to get more than what they offered me which was 12% more than I was being paid at the job I was leaving.

Similarly, they sometimes ask something like “what do you expect to make in this role?” I definitely defer this with a statement similar to the one used for deferring the previous salary discussion. You have to do this because you do not know what you should be paid in a role until you learn more about it.

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