How to ace the interview question: “What’s your current salary?”

You’re feeling good. Your interviewer seems impressed, the flexibility benefits are a dream, and you’re daring to think it might just be in the bag when, all of a sudden, boom! Out of nowhere comes the ‘What’s your current salary?’ challenge. Oh noooo! How should you respond? What approach will put you in the strongest negotiating position? Should you exaggerate, mumble a ballpark figure, or refuse to answer completely?


Wait a minute. Stop! There’s no need to panic. As with many tricky job interview questions, being prepared and open is the best policy. Bestselling management author and CNBC contributor, Suzy Welch, recommends you follow a simple two-step process to address this much-dreaded question. Click here to access her secrets, or see below for a quick synopsis.


  1. Know your market value

Do your research. Find out the likely salary of the position you’re applying for, and what your skills are worth on the open market. Salary calculators like those found on LinkedIn will reveal if you’re punching above or below your weight.


  1. Reveal your current salary and make your case

Welch recommends being truthful about your current salary. This shows that you’re honest and have integrity. Be sure to include your average yearly bonus and the value of other benefits, where quantifiable, in the figure.


Then make a compelling case for why you deserve a bigger salary. Give concrete, measurable examples of the benefits you bring to your company, such as the value of your new client wins. Mention any awards that you and your team have won. Conversely, you may wish to admit to being willing to accept a lower figure in return for greater flexibility, share options or on-the-job training.


Either way, the key thing is to be prepared and honest, and see how your interviewer reacts. If he or she starts trying to lure you into a negotiation game, proceed with extreme caution.


And that’s all there is to it! Simple, easy and stress-free. Contact ABL, your trusted recruitment partner, if you’d like further guidance on how to ace job interviews. With over 30 years’ experience in the field, we are in the strongest of positions to help both with this and with sourcing your dream job. We hope to hear from you soon!