By Kibet Tobias
During your job search, your potential employer might want to know how much money you are earning or how much you earned in your last job.
You have also seen some job postings that ask you to include your salary when applying for the role.
Why do employers ask for your past salary?
According to Muthoni Ndegwa, a recruitment manager at Corporate Staffing Services, when an employer asks you to list your salary details, they are simply looking to determine if at all they can afford you.
“No employer wants to hire someone who will just come and leave in a few months because the salary is not enough”
It is a way for the employer to protect themselves since the recruitment process takes a lot in terms of time and resources.
Most employers tend to use your salary history to gauge your market value and your expectation.
This is why it is very important to be careful how you disclose such delicate information. If it is wrongly done, it can hurt your chances of getting the job; but if done the right way, you will get an opportunity to negotiate for compensation and finally get the job.
So should you reveal your salary details or not?
S how do you handle salary questions?
Here are 3 proven tips on how to answer salary questions when asked
1. Tell the truth
If you have ever attended any interview, you can agree that the salary question is the toughest. Sometimes you may be tempted to ignore especially if you are requested to include it on your application.
However, if you ignore, you could risk not getting an interview invitation. If the employer clearly tells you to indicate your salary details and you don’t you most likely will be left out because you failed to follow instructions.
Instead of leaving it out, it is better to mention a salary range. Remember to be honest because potential employers can easily verify your salary with your previous employers
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2. Mention your desired salary with the range
Before you apply for the job or attend an interview, it is always good to do conduct a thorough research about the company and the position you are applying for.
Understand what the company pays its employees and know the average salary being offered for the same position by other employers.
If the salary was mentioned in the job posting, use the figures to provide your salary expectation. For example, if the range is 50,000 – 70,000, you could choose to include a figure that is within the range.
If you mention a number outside this salary range, then you have disqualified yourself.
But if the employer did not mention the salary, you can include a reasonable figure after conducting your research. For example, you could say “My salary range is from 40,000 – 50,000.”
3. You can deflect the question
If this question comes up in an interview, you can try avoiding it by focusing on other aspects of the position. Avoid giving an answer especially if the question came when you were not prepared.
You could say something like your salary requirements are flexible based on what the company is willing to offer.
Here is a sample answer;
“My last job is different from this one, so my past salary may not relate. But I’m sure that I’m a great fit for this position and we can come to an agreement on compensation. I’m very excited about the possibility of working with your company.”
You can bargain later after receiving the job offer.
In the end,
You have to ensure that the figure you mentioned is reasonable and will cater for your personal needs. You don’t want to get the job, only to realize the salary cannot sustain you. The more you get prepared for this question, the easier it will be for you to answer. Just research the company and a what other professionals in your level are earning.