It’s unfair but true that many times while interviewing for a job, employers start negotiating at your current salary, not at your value.
If they know what your current pay check is they will try to give you a figure that is somewhere close to what you’ve been getting. So, many candidates try to avoid the question and even lie to get a better package at a new job.
Firstly, is it right to ask a candidate about his current pay? If that’s the question on your mind, then there is no black and white answer to it. Not all, but many companies will ask for the current salary for the simple reason they want to size you up. A tentative figure will give them an idea of how much you would be willing to negotiate.
Secondly, at what stage can you expect the salary question to pop up? This can happen anytime – from the first phone call or just before the offer being made to you.
In your best interest, it is advisable that you avoid answering your current salary question in the first round of interview. You want your interviewers to know more about you before they decide your worth and not get stuck with the figure that you are already making.
By revealing your salary too early, you will help the hiring manager decide at what scale you will be willing to work rather than your experience and the value that you will be bringing to the company so dodge the question early on.
Politely but firmly you can refuse to answer the question by saying that this is a topic that you’d be happy to talk about at the appropriate time. Instead, try to get the answer from the employers – what is their scale for the position you are being interviewed for?
You can even be smart and say that under your current employment conditions you are not permitted to discuss your salary and financial incentives with a competitor. It all boils down to how smart you can be at answering the questions.
If and when asked about it directly (at a later stage) and you can’t run away from answering the question, tell them the truth.
In a bid to get a bigger pay package many candidates exaggerate when it comes to their current salary and the frills – but that is a big no.
Companies, too, know the market and may not buy your version and you will fall flat on your face if they just happen to check. Crude it may sound but many companies now check current salaries requesting either pay slips or bank statements. This sort of exaggeration is taken very badly by employers who will very often reject the candidate on this basis.
Companies appreciate honesty. Even if your current pay may not be all that great, try to make the interviewers understand that this sort of money doesn’t match up to your talent, qualification and experience.
You have to convince them that you are worth more than that and this could be your reason for a change. Learn to negotiate hard – this is the time when you can get the best for yourself so that you don’t have to avoid such a question at your next job interview.
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