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Tricky Interview Question...

The Hiring Process Interviewing Strategies


In my last interview, I was asked how much money I make now. Why do they need to know that? What would have been the best way to respond?


If they know your current or previous salary, they can offer you just a little more, and you’ll probably be happy. Maybe they budgeted a lot more than that, but you’ll never know. Then next year, at evaluation time, if you’ve been a great employee, maybe you’ll get the whole amount that you could have gotten on Day 1. The only trouble is that you’re now a year behind. This may follow you the rest of your career and into retirement.

Do your homework. Company research is tremendously important, and not only on salary issues. Find out everything you can about the tasks, the environment, the theory of management, the possibilities for advancement, the teams, and yes, the salary structure. The more you know, the better off you are.

Your network can help you with this. Talk to people who do what you want to do, or work where you think you want to work. Remember your LinkedIn connections, in addition to the people you know live. There are also websites, such as, that encourage people to review their companies.

As for the company you’re negotiating with now, it’s best to assume that they don’t want to pay more than they have to. They’re in good company, along with everyone who shops at Walmart rather than Target, or at Target rather than Nordstrom. Everybody wants a bargain. Just don’t let them get one at your expense.

About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.