Print

Careers >> Browse Articles >> Salary Advice

+11

6 Steps to Handling Salary Questions

6 Steps to Handling Salary Questions

Therese Droste | Monster Contributing Writer

November 07, 2008

Everyone wants as much money as an employer is willing to shell out. Yet when it comes to job interviewing, salary questions make most people squirm. One reason is that such questions pressure you to tip your hand during the negotiating game. Winning the salary you want requires some evasive action on your part. Choose your words carefully, and don’t be afraid to redirect a pointed question. These tips will help you stay in control of your compensation.

1. How to Handle Applications or Ads Requesting a Salary History

Diane Barowsky, who works in executive recruiting, advises job seekers not to include salary requirements. “True, when you leave out the information, you run the risk that the employer won’t look at you because you’ve not put a salary in there,” she says. “But you run a greater risk of selling yourself short, because you don’t know what the range is.”

Instead, write that you expect a salary commensurate with your experience and the job’s demands. You could also write, “negotiable,” because, frankly, salary is always negotiable.’

2. What Are You Currently Making?

Answer carefully. State that the new job, while in line with your skills, can’t compare to your current job. As such, your current salary isn’t a good judge of what you should earn in this position. “Answer: What I’m making is not important,” says Barowsky. “What is important is whether or not my skills are what you need, and I’m confident the range will be fair.” This allows you to reveal your self-confidence.

In addition, this levels the playing field if there are two candidates, Barowsky says. If you’re currently underpaid, answering such a question directly will work against you. “What if you work for a nonprofit, and your pay is lower than that of another candidate who has the same skills and experience but has a higher pay because he is with a corporation that offers competitive salaries?” Barowsky asks. “You could be hired at a much lower figure than the other person would have received. It’s not the past salary that’s important. It’s the skills and experience and what you can do for the organization.”

Next: Get the Employer to Say it First >>


Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?

Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?