Asking the Tough Questions Part 2: Salary

by Susan Mullin

TorchLight’s experienced team of marketing & communications recruiters explain why job seekers should look inward when considering questions about salary

“What is your current salary?” is one of the hardest to answer and often one that makes candidates most uncomfortable. To a job seeker, it may appear that a hiring manager wants to use this information against you in negotiations. Or it may worry you that your salary could rule you out of a job if too high or too low.

The importance of honesty

The bottom line is this: Salary is important to almost everyone seeking new employment. We all know this and most people respect it. As marketing and communications recruiters that are working on your side, TorchLight’s policy is simple: be honest. Knowing what you are making now or in your last full-time role helps us set a baseline. If you are making $80K now, it likely isn’t reasonable for us to present you for a role that has a ceiling of $65K.

Also on the topic of honesty – Why not take this opportunity to be honest with yourself? One thing to think about closely is how much more you should be asking above what you are making now. There’s no magic bullet or equation for this, but asking colleagues at other companies in similar positions or using online research is a good way to come up with a reasonable expectation. CNN, Payscale, and Glassdoor all offer salary comparison tools.

Personal Reflection

Other factors to think through carefully are benefits that would justifiably make you consider taking a lateral move or even a pay decrease. These could include a better work-life balance, opportunity to work a flexible schedule, closer commute, better title and responsibilities (for example moving from a big company to a smaller one), pension, education reimbursement, and the list goes on.

When all is said and done, as a job seeker you have to be comfortable with what you’re asking for and what you’re willing to accept. No one but you has the insight to make decisions regarding your specific salary needs. When it comes to salary, being honest with yourself really is the best policy.

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Posted in , Interview Tips, Job Search Tips