Here at W.T. Glover & Associates, we do A LOT of interviews (we tend to talk about interviews a lot too). As an executive search firm in Pittsburgh, we’re on both sides of the fence. We are interviewed by clients wishing to use our services, and in turn, we interview potential applicants for our clients. And one of the quickest pitfalls people tend to stumble into is talking about money on the first interview.
Asking About Salary in an Interview
Never put a price tag on yourself in the form of a salary demand on any first interview. Presumably, based on your resume, the employer has a pretty good guestimate of your relative value, accounting for your experience and education. The chances of you quoting a salary expectation that will be exactly what an employer would be willing to pay that moment are remote. One risks needlessly pricing themselves out of contention prematurely, or may even sell themselves short.
However, employers frequently ask for salary expectations! How then should you respond? After more than thirty years as a headhunter, I’ve learned two extremely effective replies:
- “Well, I’m currently earning ________ a year, and while salary is important, it’s not the reason I’m looking for a better opportunity. _____________ and ___________ are more important to me, so I’d be open to any reasonable offer.”
- “Well, I’m currently earning ________ a year, and while salary is important, I’d like to know more about this opportunity in order to answer your question accurately. What are the most important duties of this position, and what are the short and long term expectations for this position?”
No matter what your current job status, one of those two replies will fit most situations. If you’re unemployed, jut leave off the first clause. These answers deflect the question, while showing that you have higher expectations from the job than just getting a paycheck. . What you’re trying to communicate is your interested in something more than money. The first answer is more direct, while the second is more engaging.
Focus on the Job, Not the Rewards
Remember, employers are wary of candidates who claim early on that the most important component of their job search is money. Employers know if money is the priority, then that candidate is a prime suspect to waste everyone’s time by accepting a counter offer of more money from their current employer, and as we know, there are plenty of reasons to refuse a counter offer. Just remember, employed or not, don’t create the impression, ever, that money is your primary motive.