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Tips for Evading the Salary Question

61056391 31343afdc6 Tips for Evading the Salary Question

Do you get choked up when asked about your salary during an interview? You’re not alone. That’s what I talked about this week on US News and World Report’s OnCareers blog. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s hard not to panic when asked about salary during a job interview—and it will inevitably come up during the interview process. This can be especially difficult when switching industries or moving to a new city.

But how you respond to questions about how much you want to make will directly affect your future compensation package. That means that gracefully dealing with salary questions is one of the most important interviewing skills you can master.

Here are some key points to consider when discussing your salary requirements with a potential employer:

Timing. When you’re asked about salary early in the process, recognize it as a screening tool to either bring you in for an interview or eliminate you from consideration. For this reason, do not include your salary requirements in a cover letter.

Instead, salary discussions should come toward the end of the interview process, when the company already wants you and understands your value—when you have more leverage. Salary ranges tend to be more flexible once the employer knows you’re the perfect candidate. Few hiring managers will let their perfect candidate get away because of a small gap in salary range.

For the remaining four tips on how to evade the salary questions, check it out on the blog: Tips for Evading the Salary Question

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4 Comments - Add yours!

Jon Boroshok (January 7th, 2011)

While this makes sense, it’s often impractical advice. Too many companies insist on “salary requirements” in their ads or website postings. Some even have online applications that won’t allow the “send” button to work until a figure is entered.

What happens to the candidate who is making below “market rate” for his/her current job. If the current salary is listed, the new company knows they can get he candidate for a small “raise” that make still be at the bottom of competitive ranges. That means the candidate perpetuates being underpaid.

Wouldn’t it make more sense – and be something closer to being fair – for companies to include the budgeted range for positions in the ad/posting?

Lindsay (January 7th, 2011)

Hi Jon, Ah, yes, it would sure make things a lot easier for companies to included their budgeted range. I still think you can get away with not having to answer the question on an application in most cases. You could write TBD or a number of different options in the required field. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s up to the candidate to determine based on the situation what is the best course of action and to use their best judgment.

The good news is that while many of the large companies have online applications and possibly a system in place that requires you to list your current salary, most of the mid-size and small companies still use email to receive applicant’s resume, so it’s not an issue. In the rest of the article I discussed how to deal with the questions in-person, which is completely realistic in my experience in the staffing industry and helping candidates close on new job opportunities.

Jon Boroshok (January 7th, 2011)

I’ve actually seen job postings that state that cover letters/resumes without salary requirements will be rejected.

Lindsay (January 7th, 2011)

That tells me they are looking for a reason to screen people out. You could technically still address the salary requirement by stating in the cover letter your salary requirement is in line with the fair market value for this position. You’re still answering the question. If you are obviously qualified for the position and your cover letter/resume scream “I’m a match,” I highly doubt it will be rejected for not giving a specific number. And if you absolutely feel like you have to give a salary requirement, give a range – starting at what you would accept. If that’s not part of the budget no matter how great of a fit you are for the position, it’s not going to work out anyway.

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