5 Tips on handling the "MONEY QUESTION" in an interview
Updated: Jan 26
Whether you are a VP or straight out of college, there is always uncertainty around how to answer the salary/compensation questions.
Tip #1 - The Pay Equity Law in Massachusetts means it's illegal for an interviewer to ask "How much are currently earning?"
MA was the first state to prohibit employers from asking salary history before extending an offer of employment. 42 states now have similar laws. This encourages companies to post salary ranges and to share what the range is when asked. Keep in mind, that sites like Glassdoor assign ranges to posted jobs, so what you see posted is not necessarily the actual range. If you see it posted on the company career site, that is reliable.
For more info: https://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media/files/officeofthemayor/payequity/payequityamendedlawsumm032817.pdf?la=en
Tip #2 - Just because someone asks you a question, doesn't mean you have to answer it.
Interviewer: What are your salary expectations?
Candidate: Can you tell me the compensation range?
Tip #3 - You may be asked "What are your salary expectations?"
If you have asked the salary range for the job, you can reply "I'd be in that range" or "I'd be at the top of that range" or "The salary isn't the most important thing that is on my list of must haves". This will allow you to not commit.
At the same time, you don't want to be difficult. So if you are pushed, feel free to give a range. If you are able to push the conversation down the road, great.
Tip #4 - What is a fair salary for my job and experience?
Most people have standard roles and a bit of online research can outline a fair wage. Salary.com is a great resource to begin.
Make sure you begin with the correct title. If your current title is Project Manager, and you write software 7 hours a day, researching Software Engineer may give you more relevant data.
Tip #5 - Finish strong
Make sure your interviewer knows you want the job, is pleased with your responses and has no lingering questions. When you are asked if you have any remaining questions, you may choose to ask "Do you have any concerns about my ability to do the job?" The interviewer may share concerns they have in areas and you will have another chance to influence them.