Discussing money can sometimes be an uncomfortable subject but when you’re interviewing for a job, it needs to be a subject that you’re comfortable talking about so that you’ll get the salary you need.
Even if the thought of discussing your earning history makes you feel like squirming, you need to be prepared for how to professionally discuss the topic. When asked your salary history, you’ll want to share the information from the starting salary to what your salary increased to at the company you were last with.
Be sure to include all salary perks.
- Benefits: If the company paid all of your health insurance premiums as part of your position, then that’s considered part of your salary and should be figured in when talking about the history.
- Bonus: If you were given a bonus to come to work for the company or you were given a car or any other form of benefit, that can all relate back to salary.
One of the worst things you can do when asked about salary history is to answer back with salary is negotiable.What that tells the interviewer is that you’re not sure what you need and you’re trying to hedge your bets. Interviewers have more respect for a candidate that can openly and forthrightly discuss compensation.
The reason that many people don’t like to discuss salary during interviews is because they are afraid they are going to undersell themselves. They fear asking for $70K a year because what if the company had planned to offer $85K?
Or they fear overselling themselves. Stating that they need $100K a year when the company only planned to offer the $85K. The best way to know how to answer the salary question is to know what the position is worth for your state.
For example, what a radiologist earns in New York will be far different from what one earns in Texas. Know what the position pays in your area and guide your responses according to that.
What if your salary history shows that you made far less than what the position is worth in the past? Simply say, I was earning $60K in this position at my former company, but the average median for someone working in this field is $70K and I’d like to be in that ballpark amount.
Your level of skill and experience will play an important part in salary history. If you work as a technician and earn $50K while your colleague earns $70K a year, it could be that he or she has a lot more experience and time on the job, so you need to take that into consideration.
Don’t answer questions about salary with a closed mind. Be open to taking into consideration the salary amount the company is offering but ask what the potential is for salary growth in the future.