A key question for many job seekers is “How much does the job pay?” But, the flip side of that conversation for potential employers is “How much do you currently make?” It can be hard to decide how and when to share your salary history with a potential employer, or even to decide if you are willing to share it at all. All of this is compounded by the fact that talking about money is usually taboo, right up there with religion and politics in the workplace. However, when it comes to your career, learning how to professionally discuss your salary can pay off in a big way.
Why Does an Employer Want to Know?
It’s important to first understand why employers request salary information during the application process. Typically, employers have a set budget for positions based on the job duties and market value in that area. If an employer is asking for salary information to be included when you apply, they may be using this as a quick way to determine who to interview for the position. Employers may not want to interview candidates who have a higher salary than they are willing to pay, or they may seek to interview candidates with the closest pay rate, regardless of experience.
Check out this video on discussing your salary history in an interview from career coach Karen Chopra.
Karen Chopra, Career Counselor, Washington, D.C.
Please note, the video clips herein and their sponsors do not necessarily represent the views of Express and are used for educational purposes only.
What’s the Best Way to Share Salary Information?
Even if salary information is requested when you apply, you don’t necessarily have to submit it. Typically you want to be able to discuss salary history and compensation, it’s a conversation best not left to written correspondence. With this in mind, state on your résumé you are willing to submit salary information when requested. This puts you in control of who sees your salary history and how it is conveyed. Ideally you won’t share salary information until your interview, when you can have a conversation about your job duties and additional compensation.
How do You Evaluate Compensation?
It’s important to keep in mind that your salary is more than just your pay, your compensation includes things your current job might provide, including health insurance, 401(k) matching, education reimbursements, and more. When you discuss pay with your potential employer, let them lead the discussion before you share your salary history. Ask what benefits you’ll receive besides pay that will make up your total compensation. Research the job market to learn what salary ranges are being offered for similar positions. Understand what the position requires in terms of education and experience and be prepared to discuss how your education and experience should impact your salary. Make sure your salary research is done in coordination with the city where the position is located, because pay is typically impacted by geography.
The last tip to keep in mind when discussing your salary with potential employers is to make sure you are consistent. If you’ve cited salary information within online job board databases, like your CareerBuilder or Monster profile, make sure the information on your résumé is documented the same. If you are including benefits and other compensation factors, let the employer know you are willing to negotiate within these pending factors. Your credibility is on the line during your job search, and misrepresenting your salary history can be detrimental to you career.
By Rachel Rudisill