By Kathy Spearing | July 17, 2019


There are many factors that go into preparing for a job interview. From researching the company to practicing your responses to selecting your attire, this process requires plenty of time and attention.

And as if that’s not enough to focus on, how about adding in the concept of compensation and what to say when you’re asked about salary expectations?

For many hopeful job seekers, the interview is made even more stressful when the hiring manager asks you to tell them about your compensation history—or what salary you’re looking for in your next role.

No matter how well you’ve rehearsed your responses, this question can catch you off-guard or make the conversation uncomfortable if you’re not fully prepared. Not to mention, there is debate around whether interviewers can even ask about compensation history.

Regardless, it’s important for job seekers to understand the best way to take on this question. Inevitably, a job offer conversation will require a discussion about salary. I thought I’d share my thoughts on the matter here. Learn 5 Tips for Discussing Compensation in a Job Interview below.

1. Know the Role 
If you’re questioned on your compensation expectations, it may be wise to inform the hiring manager that you’d like to learn more about the role before discussing salary. By requesting more information on the role before making compensation estimates – you are showing genuine interest in the role itself while preventing yourself from blurting any impulsive or unsure answers.

When it comes to filling out a number in an online job application or form, remember that it’s okay to leave it blank. You can then further elaborate on this action in a cover letter. One of the ways to voice this is by saying, “I look forward to discussing compensation once I’ve learned more about the position.”

2. Consider Salary Range
Instead of giving a concrete number, perhaps you could suggest a salary range that the exact number falls within. Giving a salary range allows for a job seeker to use discretion when asked about compensation history. One note of caution, often when a range is provided the recruiter or hiring manager only hears the lowest number in the range. As a result, when providing a range make sure the low number on the range is acceptable to you.

3. Know Your Worth
It’s important to understand market value, and whether or not you are being compensated fairly given the competitive job market. If a job seeker knows they are underpaid in their current role, there’s no harm in mentioning that in an interview—if prompted. You can look online for various salary guides to gain insight into what the standard salaries are for similar positions. It’s essential for job seekers to be aware of their market value and leverage that information properly when discussing compensation history.

4. Be Honest
It’s not uncommon for a company to verify a candidate’s compensation history with former employers. For this reason, avoid any exaggeration when it comes to voicing your current and previous salaries to a hiring manager – be honest! It’s good to be straightforward and perfectly OK to say you’re looking to increase your salary within your new role.

5. Connect with a Recruiter
A real benefit to working with a recruiter is they often will discuss salary with the hiring company so that you don’t have to. You may feel more comfortable sharing your current salary and what you’re looking for in your next role with a recruiter, and they can act as the middleman to the hiring manager. They will also help negotiate the best salary and other logistics when it comes to your job offer.

These are just a few of the ways to discuss salary during a job interview. Do you have other pointers? Comment below and let us know.

Looking to work with a recruiter? Email your resume to info@brilliantfs.com and mention this blog.


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