Should You Disclose Your Current Salary?

If you advance in the interview process and appear to be a solid candidate you might be asked “Where are you now regarding salary?”. The interviewer could genuinely want to determine if what they plan to offer is anywhere near what you currently earn to avoid wasting their time and yours. But if that’s truly a concern, they or the recruiter should have disclosed the salary range before arranging interviews with seemingly qualified candidates.

On the other hand, they might be trying to determine if they can “save” money by offering you the lower end of what they are able to pay, i.e., make a low ball offer and hope you take it knowing that if you push for more they have “wiggle room”. While I tell my business clients this is not a wise approach, some organizations use it so it’s best to be prepared for this question.

This is one way to answer that question: “Ms. Lewis, I’m sure you know what the competitive compensation plan for this position for a well-qualified candidate is. If you determine I am a good fit and choose to make an offer I am confident it will be competitive and fair. May I ask what else you would like to know about me to determine of I am the right person for this job?”

It is also OK to touch upon the total compensation and benefits by stating “There is more that goes into the total comp for a given position than salary, such as a performance based bonus, both individual and team based, as well as profit sharing and 401k contribution matching. Until we both know I am a good fit for this position, it may be premature to dive into all the aspects of a comp plan and benefits the position offers. Please tell me more about the KPIs for this position.”

Lastly, I have had career coaching clients that were happy to take less money to land with a company that treats their people with respect and appreciates maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Or they provide ample opportunity for paid training and skills development that all their people to advance their career. So the fact that the top range of a particular job is 30% less than your current salary may not matter if the “psychic salary” is high. If so, be truthful about being open to a lower overall comp package if the intangibles are great.

#salarynegotiation #careercoaching #interviewingtips

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Frank Manfre

Frank Manfre

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Business consultant & coach w/ 35 years experience in leadership roles in for profit and nonprofit organizations focused on developing leaders & org health