Posted by Brian McCullough
When should you discuss salary in a job interview?
It’s an old and well known job search strategy to let the employer name the salary first… if you can possibly get them to do so. The idea is that if you suggest the dollar figure first, then you might inadvertently end up getting less than the employer was willing to pay. Obviously, if the employer asks for your salary requirements in the job ad itself, you should be prepared to name a figure in the interview… but try to stall as much as politely possible.
After all, in a sense, your past salary is irrelevant information. A company has a need for someone to fill a position. And the company knows it can afford to pay someone X number of dollars to fill that position. You’re either willing to work for that X dollar figure or you’re not. So the only figure that matters is what this employer is willing to pay. What you were paid in the past is neither here nor there.
In most cases.
There are some cases where it would definitely be to your benefit to come out with your salary requirements, even if the employer hasn’t asked for them.
First, if the new employer is poaching you from an existing job, you should absolutely name a dollar figure that would make it worthwhile for you to jump ship. Unless you are dreadfully unhappy at your current employer, the poacher should expect that it would take a little extra to make you move.
Second, in some very competitive industries and job markets, naming your existing salary might be a decent indicator of your worth. Are you in an industry where a hiring manager might think: “Gee if our competitor is paying this guy six figures to do that job, then he must be good?” If you think that your salary might be helpful in identifying you as a rock star, then being free and open with your current salary might actually good advertisement for considering you.