Why you shouldn’t volunteer your current salary in a job interview

When you interview for a new job, you want to be offered as high a salary as possible. The company doing the hiring, on the other hand, wants to get a good candidate at as low a salary as possible. How do you make sure that you come out on top?

Often part of the application or interview process will involve questions about your current wage. This is so that they can offer you just enough money to make it worth you changing jobs – or the same amount, if you are just trying to change company.

Rather than giving the hiring manager the amount you are on now, give them the salary you are looking for, or a range that you would be willing to accept, depending on other benefits. After all, if you are leaving your current job because you earn $50,000 and believe you deserve $65,000, being offered $55,000 might get you to swap but won’t make you happy.

You should also do your research and find out what someone in your role and industry with your experience could typically expect to earn. If you find that you are being underpaid at your current job and your next salary is based on your current one then you will be underpaid there too.

If you get a job offer with a pay lower than your skills are worth, ask why this is. You might find out that the company offers more benefits or leave than is typical in the industry, or that they pay lower starting wages but with more room for growth than in other industries. Of course, they might just be low-balling you, in which case calling them out should make them raise the offer.

If the company refuses to budge on a low offer, you need to consider whether it is the job for you or not. If your job search has been relatively quick and painless so far, it is probably worth passing – especially if you still have your old job. On the other hand, if you have been looking for a while there might be something about your experience that means you are not as valuable to a company, or your industry may be very hard to find a job in.

At the end of the day, for all that finding a fulfilling and happy workplace is the ideal scenario, we work for money. If you aren’t getting enough of it, you need to do your research to work out what you should be paid – and ask for it.