Salary Discussion

During the interview there’s a good chance you’ll be asked about your current and expected level of compensation. The following questions show how an interviewer may approach the subject of salary and how you should answer.

Question 1: What are you currently earning?

Answer: My compensation, including bonus, is in the high-forties. I’m expecting my annual review next month, and that should put me in the low-fifties.Notice the way a range was given, not a specific dollar figure. If the interviewer presses for an exact answer, be precise in terms of salary, bonus, benefits, expected increase and so forth.

Question 2 : What sort of compensation would you need to come to work here?

Answer: I feel that the opportunity is the most important issue, not salary. If we decide to work together, I’m sure you’ll make me a fair offer.

If the interviewer tries to zero in on your expected compensation, you should also suggest a range, as in, “I would need something in the low- to mid- sixties.” Be careful about being too exact too early because getting locked into a figure may work against you later, in one of two ways:

Don’t come on too strong unless you’re pressed in the early stages of the interview, the best time to talk about money is after you’ve established mutual interest. If you initiate a discussion about salary and benefits, you risk giving the employer the impression that money is the most important reason for your job search.

Tactically, it makes the most sense to build your value and show restraint before the subject ever comes up. The greater your asset value is in the eyes of the employer, the stronger your offer will be.

Once you know the job fits – and the employer sees your value–you’ll usually be able to agree on a fair price for your services.