Interview Advice

To best prepare for a job interview, you have to prepare for certain questions. You may have the answers down for “What’s your biggest weakness/strength”, but you also have to know that the most uncomfortable one will likely pop up: “How much did you make at your previous job?” You should know how to answer this question when it inevitably does arise.

Here’s an interesting fact: Your answer may well get a different response depending on your gender. A study from PayScale found out that women who refuse to disclose their salary when asked earn 1.8 percent less than women who do. Yet a man who doesn’t disclose his salary actually gets 1.2 percent more.  So, until that question becomes taboo for potential employers to ask (it’s already illegal in a number of states and cities), use these strategies.


  • Know your numbers.

Remember, it’s not only about your worth; the job itself also holds a certain market value. You can easily look up these numbers and then think about what you’ll add to the position. It’s like putting an improvement on a home; it brings up the value. Then, after seeing what the market says, discuss the position in those terms and what you bring to the position rather than your previous salary. Compensation should focus on current value and what you’ll add to that.


  • What to do online.

If possible to skip the salary question, do so. If it forces you to put in a number, put in zeros so you can discuss the salary in person. However, whether it allows you to zero out or not, do not lie about previous salary. Tell the truth and use it as a springboard to negotiate, using the market value of the position to discuss a potential starting range. This also shows you’ve done your homework.


  • Align yourself with headhunters and recruiters.

Whether they’re in-house or based out of an agency, you can pose recruiters detailed questions, asking them for information about the position, the company, benefits, and, of course, salary specifics. This will help you know what salary you should hear from the interviewer. With headhunters you can get a little more open, getting them to advocate for you and give you advice on how to get the best salary, whether you’re a woman ensuring you have parity with others or addressing the fact that you’re not earning a fair wage for the market value of the position.


  • Take a pause if you need to.

IF you feel, as you’re getting near the end of the interview process, that you’re going to hear a number close to what you want, you have every right to ask for a night to mull over such a major decision. This way you can get a little time to practice your words, as well as consider expectations … and it may well allow the conversation to take place over the phone, which eases some stress by not having to have the conversation face-to-face.

Preparing for the salary question takes some time and effort, but it’s worth it because so are you. For help with any part of your interview process, work with PrideStaff.

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