When you get asked the Job Interview Question: What Is Your Current Salary, red flags should promptly run through your mind.
Firstly, asking such a question is illegal in many states. Then again, if your current salary cannot be matched or bettered by the current company in question, they might not bother with you beyond that.
Alternatively, you could be working for a much lower salary than what you should be getting at the moment. This often happens when people settle for a pay cut because something is better than nothing. However, revealing this could result in your prospective employer thinking that they can low-ball you.
Luckily, there are a few ways to circumvent this situation, so let’s find out what they are…
When Asked On An Online Application?
You can simply leave it blank, write N/A, or an “empty number.” If the form asks for a declaration that the information is true, you can find any spot somewhere on the form where an answer can be given and add a sentence that states, “Salary to be discussed during the interview,” as this will give a heads-up as to why you did not enter your current salary.
Look up your state
You can look up your state and find out whether or not they are allowed to ask this during an interview. If your state is indeed protected, politely decline to answer by saying:
“Unfortunately, it would be as unethical for me to share my company’s private salary information as it would be for you to ask this question in a state where it is illegal to do so.”
When it is not illegal to ask?
Weigh your options here. You will quickly realize how affluent a company is. Large companies will definitely be able to afford a market-related salary. Smaller companies may not.
Redirect the question by answering that you currently earn a certain amount but would be willing to negotiate around a certain figure, should you decide to join. You can also “blur” the lines of your remuneration by mentioning any benefits you get added on top of your paychecks, such as employee discounts, medical benefits, or a pension fund.
If you’re looking for an increase…
Do you need a drastic increase because your current company is paying you below market value? Then it may be worth emphasizing that fact. Mention that the low salary is the main reason you are looking for other opportunities.
The ultimate diplomatic answer would require some research on your part. You can look up what the average income for someone in your field would be. Then slide the scale depending on how much experience you have and what area you live in. That way, you can simply answer:
“I am not at liberty to share confidential employee salary information; however, I can tell you that I would like to earn this amount.”
You can never go wrong with the term “market-related salary.”
Be Prepared For Any Interview Question!
Let’s first take a look at my very own guides on how to answer What Are Your Career Goals, How Do You Handle Conflict or the common question, Why Do You Want To Work Here, as well as How Would You Describe Yourself, What Are You Most Proud Of, and finally How Do You Handle Stress to mention a few!
The web is a great source of information! So, check out the Amazing Interview Answers: 44 Tough Job Interview Questions, or how about Hiring Squirrels: 12 Essential Interview Questions, or The STAR Method: Proven Technique to Succeed at Interviews, and How to Answer Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions.
Finally, we also found Get That Job!: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview, the Knock ’em Dead Job Interview: How to Turn Job Interviews Into Job Offers, or even INTERVIEW with DESIRE and GET HIRED!: How to Ace the Interview, Sell Yourself & Get Your Dream Job all available online in 2023.
Confidence is key. As long as you are confident in your abilities and do not sound uncertain when negotiating your salary, you are likely to get what you ask for if you are their top choice.
Remember to never be too pushy or aggressive when it comes to this question or any other in an interview. Additionally, always dress appropriately, act professionally and be on time!
Good luck answering your Job Interview Questions!