Career Coach: What to Say About Salary
Career advice from certified coach Rob Moran.
When should you talk about salary in the interview process?
The hiring manager should generally be the first to address pay. That way, you can avoid coming across as presumptuous or requesting a figure that’s much higher or lower than the employer’s range. If the hiring manager asks you what you’re looking for, explain that you’d like a fair compensation package based on the position, as well as your skills and experience. If pressed for more details, give a range.
Do employers have a right to know your past salary?
While you shouldn’t feel obligated to disclose your salary history, a prospective employer may ask. Hiring managers have an offer in mind based on their budget, and they want to make sure it’s in line with your expectations.
If you’re interested in the job and decide to share your compensation history, be honest. Stretching numbers can come back to haunt you. Do your best to steer the conversation toward your expected range, rather than your previous salary.
What’s the best thing to say if you think an offer is too low, but you want the position?
Start by stressing that you’re very interested in the role, and give some examples of how you could bring value to the organization. Say something like, “I’ve done some research, and the average salary for someone with my career experience and skills at a similarly sized organization is in this range. Would you consider increasing the salary for this position?” If the employer says no and you can’t make it work, you may have to politely bow out.
(Orla/iStock/Getty Images Plus)