Salary Negotiation

What’s the best way to handle a situation when an potential employer asks how much you’re currently making. It seems like it comes down to three scenarios: 1. You tell the truth 2. You lie (either small or large) 3. You tell them that you’d rather not disclose that information Obviously, each choice has its benefit and related weakness, but what do you think the best option is? Although number 1. is very honest, one of the reasons someone would actually be looking for another job is a salary increase, so I think it might be the most detrimental overall. Anyway, I’d rather here other peoples’ opinions first before I state all of mine.

I think 1 is the only realistic option.

Obviously you tell the truth. Most large shops will make you provide prior tax returns so if you lie, they will find out soon enough and you can imagine what will happen to your offer.

I’ve given a range in the past. I usually include all types of compensation in the figure and sometimes round up a little particularly if I think I’m underpaid or the job I’m applying for is much higher than my current salary. If they drill me to give a point figure, I’ll just give them the real number.

I agree with DH. But there are ways of avoiding. If you are asked the question point blank you have to tell the truth. But if it is simply a line on the application you could leave it blank and then perhaps no one will ask after that. During the first round of my interviews for my current job, the HR manager asked what my salary expectations would be. I fumbled on the question because the job involved moving to a new location and costs would be different. She then changed her question and asked what I was currently making. I didn’t want to answer this question because at the time my salary was pathetic and I didn’t want to get low-balled at the new job. Luckily I recovered quickly and threw out a number I thought would be reasonable. I think I got lucky because they ended up offering me 15% more than what I said. I don’t think most firms will push the question that hard. They are probably trying to get a feel for how much you would cost them if they were to offer you the position as to not waste time if your expectations are too high.

Tell the truth, then explain why that number is not an appropriate basis for a future offer. The responsabilities were different, the market rate is higher, your experience and capabilities are larger than that job description suggests, it was a different industry, etc… Just don’t lie. Would you want someone who lies about money anywhere near *your* money?

I think employer can find out easily if they really want to know how much you made in the past. So don’t lie.

Also HR firms do push the question hard; that is part of their job. Tell them that you don’t really want to discuss compensation until you know what the actual job is. They will then push you to name a range, where you will give them a BIG range and say that the actual compensation depends on the job description and that you are expecting something in line with the market rate for tne position and for someone with your level of expertise/experience. Of course it helps toknow what those rates are, so spending some time on efinancialcareers and dropping $50-100 at is time and money well spent if you are serious about negotiating a market price or above.

indeed…and when you give a range…dont give 100 - 150 if you expect 150

Here’s some suggestions: 1.) Never lie, there are ways for firms to find out and hiring may be contingent on bringing a W2 or paystub. 2.) Start by stating that you would rather not disclose that information to at least an offer is made or when you are a considered a serious candidate. 3.) If they persist, turn it around and offer to give em your salary expectations in terms of a range. Use your ideal base salary as the median for the range. ie. 90 to 110k for ideal salary of 100K. After I provide the range, I usually ask them if this range is in the stated budget for the position. 4.) If they continue to persist, I tell them I make in the ie. …70’s, 80’s etc. and leave at that and let them interpret. Also, I try to disclose non-cash payments, extra perks and other pertinent info ie. pay raise freezes etc. that they might have to compensate for. 5.) Once you go through the interview process and know you’re in for an offer. Then you can make a serious run at the negiotiations. Always have at least 3 solid points to make a case why you deserve more. ie. new position is a higer level of responsibility, experience level, cfa candidacy and studies, supplemented with Market data on compensation ie. I used CFA survey of IM pay, payscale, robert half and as a guide. Hope this helps.