How to prepare & respond to the interview question: “What’s your current salary?”

Discussing money is an inherently awkward, yet necessary topic, especially in an interview scenario. It is also unavoidable when interviewing for a new role, so it’s best to go prepared with an appropriate answer to the question: “What’s your current/desired salary?”

There are many people who would recommend dodging the question or giving a vague answer in a range so as not to disclose the actual figure. However, Hiring Managers have a different approach, they believe the best way to secure a place at a new company and advance your career is simply to tell the truth.

We have written a two-step process on for how to navigate this financial minefield of a question:

  1. Before the interview: know your market value

In order to be able to discuss your salary, you have to know where you stand in terms of cost to value ratio for your individual skill set. Here are some steps to take to be in a position to do this confidently:

  • Be smart and conduct thorough research about your position, using website such as Glassdoor or LinkedIn Salary.
  • Find your job’s average salary, and gage what your skills are worth. Recruitment websites use comparisons to state what you should be earning and if you are being paid above or below average.
  • Prepare for your interview with concrete data about your current standing.

Candidates may find that they’re being underpaid, which can happen if they were hired at a low salary or have been in the company for a long time. It may be that the candidate finds that they are being overpaid (in rare circumstances!) Either way, it’s important to know where your salary ranks.

  1. During the interview: state your current salary & justify it

Once you know how you compare to candidates with parallel roles, be honest about your current compensation package: doing so shows that you have integrity or honesty. An appropriate and honest answer could be: “my currently salary is …, my bonus is normally …, for a total compensation of approximately …”

After sharing the figure, promote yourself! Candidates should always make a compelling case about why you’d be willing to take less for the opportunity or professional growth, or why you should earn more.

After you have made your case, the decision lies in the hands of the Recruiting Manager, you can now relax and wait for the response. Typically salary negotiations only take place during the last stages of the hiring process or just before an offer is made. Only time will tell if your potential new company treats you with respect and consideration!