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Preparing for Tricky Interview Questions Part 4: ‘What’s your current salary?’

Posted on 12th Feb 18

You’re sailing through your interview, answering each question comprehensively and with ease. It feels like a sure thing. Then your interviewer hits you with a question many tend to stumble over, ‘What’s your current salary?’

What if you are earning less than you should, and disclosing the real figure puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating your new package?

In years to come, we may see this question  phased out of interviews, but for now be sure to read VANRATH’s tips on how to handle this delicate conversation, and how to let your interviewer know your expectations.

First and foremost: be honest

Not only does this stand as testament to your integrity from the outset, but an honest answer means that you won’t trip up on your lie later- when the repercussions could be more far-reaching.

It’s also important to be honest with yourself. Before you enter an interview scenario, you also need to decide what your salary expectations are. It helps to be clear in your own mind what your expectations are, and what your cut off is. Need help to work this out? Read on...

Know your worth

It’s likely that you’ve grown and developed in your current role, which will have added value to you as an employee. Be sure to benchmark the salary for your new prospective role against other similar positions in the market place; try to dig into the specialisms of the role and look for matches in your own skill set. This will give you an idea of the approximate salary for the role you are seeking, and will provide a good idea of your market value.

Be your own advocate

Be sure to keep note of those skill sets you benchmarked, these will come in handy for your answer to the 'salary question'. Bringing together all the elements discussed, if you feel your salary is currently too low and you are asked for your expectations, we would recommend answering the question as follows:

‘I am currently earning [true salary], though I believe this to be below market value, as I’ve since brought additional skills in X, Y, Z, adding extra value to the role. Based on the skill set I have today, and some research on this position, I would be seeking a salary of [insert researched figure]’.

Bring it back to the job

It’s easy to get bogged down in the figures, but it’s important to have the salary conversation in the wider context of the role. If this is a role with excellent prospects and an amazing culture fit, be sure to underscore your passion for the role itself, rather than make it just about salary. Employers want to see your passion, so be sure to let them know that you want the job as much as the package that goes along with it.

Interested in reading the rest of our How To Handle Tricky Questions Series? Click here to read Why are you leaving your current role? Or click here to read Do you have any questions for us?

Ready for your next career move? Contact our expert consultants on 02890 330250, or email

Alternatively, you can browse live roles on the VANRATH job board here.