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Salary negotiation in the interview process

Eric Wise exhorts us to be honest when presenting our salary requirements when interviewing for a new job. I absolutely couldn't agree more. I mean, think about it, you wouldn't want a company pulling the same kinda deal with you would you? Making you an offer to see if you'll accept it, you accept it, and when you do, they decided to see if you'll go for 10-15% less than they originally offered (if that doesn't make sense, go read Eric's blog entry, it'll make more sense). You'd probably be pretty tweaked, right? I know I would, and would very adamantly refuse any further offers, having no interest whatsoever in working for a company that would try to pull such a shady deal. So why should a company's perspective of us be any different at all?

However, reading his advice reminded me of the job interview scenario that I always dread so much...

The question I always dread by far the most when I'm in a job interview is: "How much are you making now?"

Why do I hate it so much? Because part of me can't help but feel like the answer that I *want* to give is "that's really none of your business, and shouldn't really have any bearing on this conversation." Should it? Unfortunately, so far, I've not figured out a way to communicate that without coming across as sounding either arrogant or antagonistic.

So, I ask you, what would be the most appropriate way to respond to such a question? Is it really a prospective employers business to know how much money you make at your current job? I mean, what if you work for a non-profit company where there's really no way they could have given you a comparable salary to other for-profit employers, but they're working with the technology that you've wanted to get experience with for years, so you took it for the experience. Now that you've got the experience, and are looking to take a step up in the world with regard to salary, we all know its just not going to work if and when that prospective employer finds out that you're currently making considerably less than you should be. No, they're going to make you an offer that's either at, or maybe slightly above what you're currently making.

So what's the best way to communicate to a prospective employer that its none of their business when they ask you what you are currently making?

Posted 11-02-2006 10:13 AM by Bob Yexley



saku wrote re: Salary negotiation in the interview process
on 11-02-2006 11:02 AM
I would say: enough.
Dru Sellers wrote re: Salary negotiation in the interview process
on 11-02-2006 12:30 PM
"I am not at liberty to disclose that information." 8-D
Jimmy wrote re: Salary negotiation in the interview process
on 11-02-2006 3:12 PM

From the other side, don't know how it is on yours, but there is a record in my contract, which says that salary is confidential and should not be disclosed without an important reason. Is looking for a new job an important reason? I think yes, but this can be also an excuse for question you mention.

Joe Niland wrote re: Salary negotiation in the interview process
on 11-02-2006 8:19 PM

I've only been asked that question by recruitment agents, not directly by employers. But if I was I'd either say 'I'll let my agent deal with the salary matters' or if no agent was involved I'd say 'I don't think that's relevant, but I believe I am worth $X'. But this scenario leaves a bad taste really - the employer should make an offer based on what they think the position is worth to the company and then negotiations can go from there.

Not sure about USA but in AU and UK I am pretty sure it's a breach of the privacy act for a current employer to give that info to a new one. Either way would you really want to work for an employer who's trying to get the cheapest employee rather than the best?

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