Phone interview salary question

I had a phone interview today with some company’s HR. The first part went really well. I was well prepared, so when she asked why I wanted the job, what I know about the company, and stuff like that, I gave a thorough answer and she was impressed. However, after that, she asked about my compensation. In the past, I have been pretty open about this, and I think it scared some interviewers away. So this time, I danced around the question - said some stuff about the company not disclosing compensation (they don’t).

Anyway, she seemed a bit annoyed at that. Something along the lines of “how do you go through recruitment without specifying your salary?”. I did give her a broad range before that, which she said “didn’t tell her much”. After that, she gave me the standard goodbye of “we are still interviewing candidates and will get back to you next week”. The cut off seemed a bit abrupt, but then again, the compensation question is usually the last question they ask. So, it’s likely the interview would have ended then no matter what.

I already have a lucrative job, so I won’t be really upset if they don’t call back. However, I still have some self doubt that I handled that part badly. This would be a pity, since I am otherwise qualified for that job and handled the rest of the interview well. Do you guys have any similar experiences? Did I mess up here?

Edit: I did have a canned response of “I will be happy to discuss compensation after we’ve determined that I’m a good fit for the job”, but due to the pattern of back and forth, I didn’t get a chance to spew this out. Not sure if it would have mattered… I’m sure lots of people say this.

I had the exact same situation happen to me last Friday. Everything went well until the compensation came up. I gave HR some answer Numi once typed here and she wouldn’t buy it. She wanted a specific number of how much I am making now and how much I want. She repeated that the question was clear enough.

My interview with the hiring manager earlier this week went the same way. He asked me right off the bat how much I am making at my current job and how much I am asking for. His first two questions. He didn’t seem like the type that wanted to hear me skate around the questions, so I answered them directly.

I saw a video once that I thought was interesting. They advised to know market rate range for the position and then explain where on that range you felt you belonged and cite the experience you have to justify it. Seemed good to me, but haven’t tried it yet

Don’t forget that HR has a field to fill in in their form. The salary field is quite small so they don’t want to hear a sentence, they want a number.

Yea, then you’d just pick a specific number in that range according to whoever did the video. Range is 100 to 120, I think I’m blah blah so I ran a monte carlo and came up with 111.61803398875

I have no problem with your strategy.

I was referring to those that advise not to say anything until the negotiation phase. Easier said than done.

I was also surprised that she acted like my response came out of the blue. I thought everyone was familiar with evasive responses to this question. My range was broad but not unreasonable, and I did tell her the base/bonus multiple.

Anyway, there’s no changing it now. If they come back, great. If not, I don’t have to make a decision between going somewhere new and keeping all my deferred comp…

They likely need to have a figure so they can enter into their form.

Has anyone asked what the salary/bonus range of a job offer would be?

My company’s recruiter said she has no problem giving out the range if someone asks, but that candidates tend to disclose their preferred salary range instead. But maybe that isn’t typical.

I would like to have a Blake/Numi negotiating team for my next salary discussion. Can I bring them in for my annual reviews??

I find that asking your exact current salary is how it is these days. Being somewhat confused myself.

My conclusion was that there are literally too many replacements to choose from, and unless you are a money maker superstar, it’s very much an employer’s market.

Why wouldn’t you give the number? Are you worried that it’s too high that they wouldn’t hire you? A high salary is only going to help your chances and if they can’t match your current or at least increase by 20% you probably wouldn’t want the job anyway (why take a job for less money).

Some economic research shows people will take pay cuts to do something they actually enjoy. Maybe money isn’t all there is to life :slight_smile:

At this level, compensation grows over time. The money you make in 5-10 years will be completely different from your current compensation. So makes sense to take a pay cut in the short term if you think you will be more productive in the future.

I also think I’m overpaid at the moment, so I will probably need to take a pay cut to change job. Also, unlikely that they will buy out my deferred comp…

I suggest you to mention your compensation right away, including how your bonus is calculated. Since you’re in trading, it’s easier to make a case on how you create value for your employer, and that it doesn’t make sense for you to work for less than X. It’s easier to justify a higher compensation figure when there are less degrees of separation from your job and the money you bring in for your firm, as it is the case in trading.

For instance, I have this title that sounds sweet and pays very well, but doesn’t have this clear 1:1 relationship with how much money my individual work brought in, or if it was more a consequence of the people who work under me. In a few recent interviews I had, when I said my number, the person who interviewed me said that don’t even my would-be boss makes that, and in another one said that there that there’s no common ground. In my case it takes more effort to build a strong case to defend my compensation level.

If I ever get an interview again and I am asked that question, I’m going to be honest and say: I eat what I kill

Ohai, it’s interesting to see that you think you are overpaid, but who cares? The labor market may be in equilibrium in aggregate, but there is a wide discrepancy of local inefficiencies which add up to that total balance. If you are the beneficiary of such advantage, carry the advantage forward in all subsequent jumps to the degree possible. I agree with another poster to add 20% (depending on factors). I actually enjoy getting the comp brought up right away with your typical HR box-checking stuffed shirt…it serves as a filter for me too. Too many candidates get caught up in the optionality of “what if”-type thoughts as they consider new opportunities, but, having made successful comp jumps in the past, I can truly tell you this – some jobs may suck and some jobs may be great, but the greatest pain I have felt after switching jobs is the realization after being there for 6 months to a year (and talking to people) that I could have held out for more. Rawraw makes a good point about money isn’t everything, and that’s true, but until you have your absolute, this-is-the-dream-we’ve-all-been-waiting-for, 100% autonomy job, money tends to matter. And to be clear, 5-10% difference matters more around a median salary of 100k, as opposed to the group of folks with median salaries around 300k+. So I don’t know where you are but maybe the starting point informs your decision.

Okay, so if your leaving a hedge fund to join Greenpeace a salary cut is understandable, but if you’re going from front role a to front office role b at a different hf nobody is buying your acceptance of a cut. Even if you think you wouldn’t mind takig a cut because you feel it will help you down the road the company doesn’t want to take someone in at a lesser wage becuase in their view it’s an instant disgruntled employee. The first bad day at work you’re gonna think “why am i doing this sh_t? I was making x percent more without having to deal with x,y,z.”

From your posts I can tell that you’re pretty smart dude and you’re probably making some nice coin, but before you make a move I’d say (1) it has to be a pretty severe situation to take a job for less money, i can only think of moving from bo or mo to fo or moving from the private to public sector to gain experience and (2) i wouldn’t question how overpaid you think you may be (you’re worth what someone is willing to pay you just like a stock is worth what someone is willing to pay for it)…these firms on WS piss out money big time, it takes a very big number to scare them off.

Er…I think he is looking to change nature of work because he is bored.

Eh, so they called me back for office interview. Looks like it was not so bad after all…

Palantir: Yeah, I’m just bored of my current job. Wife will start working for law firm soon; half of our income will be at 50% marginal tax bracket. Already have a large sum of money in the bank. Already late 20s but only single firm work experience. How long does YoY compensation dictate the course of your life?

LBriscoe: However, you might be right - if it comes time to pull the trigger, do I have what it takes to lose a bunch of my comp, company goodwill and deferred bonuses? In the past, it has been no, but I am more disillusioned now compared to before…

I give a number so this way they dont’ waste my time. If you go through interview process and salary isn’t what you are expecting you wasted your time. Just give your number and if they don’t like it someone else will.