When interviewing for a new job, you must be prepared to answer the salary question. You do not want to be caught off guard when someone asks you what you currently make and/or what your salary expectations are. When preparing a candidate for an interview, I always discuss appropriate answers to the salary question. See below for my advice and tips:
- Don’t give a specific number: You don’t want to price yourself out of the job yet at the same time you want to get as much money as possible, therefore, try not to be the first one to offer up a number. If you are asked to give your salary expectations, keep your answer general. For example, salary is not the motivating force behind my move and I’m confident that the firm will offer me a salary congruent with the salary for a peer with my level of experience and expertise.
- What if the employer pushes for a number? If you are pressed to give a number, speak in ranges. For example, I would like to be paid in a range that in-line with your current compensation structure for someone at my level. If you do not know how compensation is structured (and you are not working with a recruiter who can this information out for you), you should ask what you can expect (again ask for the range) for someone at your level with your experience.
- How much can you inflate your current salary? Firms will often ask what your current salary is. You must be straightforward with your current salary information and bonus and do not inflate the numbers by more than 10%.
Salary negotiations are much less stressful and way more effective when you are working with a recruiter. Recruiters will know what the going market rate is and will successfully negotiate a salary that you and your future employer feel good about.