Hi All, I've been listening to MT for a few months now but this is my first ever post and I hope Mark and the community can provide some guidance. BLUF: I'm going to be interviewing for a position where the base salary (or at least from what I have been able to garner) is anywhere from $60k to $120k above my current base. If they ask my current salary. how do I address such a large delta? Do I even address it? Some additional background: A recent job opportunity was presented to me and I have an interview coming up this week (which, btw, I was able to secure by following up with the employer and keeping a line of communication open...all learned from Mark and the MT community so thank you!!). An old boss put me in touch with them (also due to networking advice from Mark, thank you again) as he has a friend working their and after some initial back and forth on skills and experience an interview was scheduled. I have a strong resume, 17 years of experience, and am a Director at my company, reporting to the VP running our department. The position I am applying for is to head the department at a significantly larger (25X in revenue and employees) company, which is one of the reasons for the salary discrepancy. However, the other reason is that my current employer (for the last decade) is a private firm notorious for paying well below scale on base and bonus compensation as well as annual merit/COL increases. Just an example, when I was made the offer a decade ago, I was literally told by the then-SVP that they scaled it back by $5k because they provided free parking and was closer to my home than my prior job which should offset parking/commuting expenses I had been paying. All of this was fine as the company provided a culture and additional, non monetary perks, that made most people, including me, OK with the lower pay (it isn't all about money). Not to mention it was a good opportunity to grow at that time and I wanted to be closer to home to take care of my parents who had Alzheimer's. But I'm concerned about how this difference will be perceived. When/If asked about my salary during the interview, should I try and explain they pay low? Should I just ignore it? In addition to their perception I am also concerned that it may be used to low ball me, assuming of course I am made an offer. I know that is their prerogative and I just need to accept that but just wonder if, again, an explanation would be prudent so as to potentially avoid such an occurrence. The job would be significantly more responsibility and quite frankly the salary range expressed above is commensurate with the job, to be offered less would be disappointing (I know, that's my problem and their prerogative) and it may not even happen (and I may not even be offered the position). But, thinking positively, that I will impress them enough to get the offer, is there something I should say to try to potentially impact what they offer considering the large delta. SORRY for the long post but thank you in advance for your help!! U.S.H.A.!

ashdenver's picture

I recently ran across this article in my Facebook feed in the past few weeks - - and it was posted by a college career counselor friend of mine. That is to say: I doubt this approach is endorsed by Manager Tools.

I actually had a similar issue just over a year ago. A recruiter that I'd been working with for about 18 mos previously on a couple of different things that hadn't panned out approached me for a job that would be a 60% pay increase. I was honest with him about my then-current salary and he & I worked together to 'build a business case' for the salary I eventually landed. Throughout the interview process, we all (me, the recruiter, the company) stayed focused on the role itself and its value to the company.

About a month after I'd been hired, I was talking to my boss (the president and founder of the company) about her other recruiting efforts. She related how this one candidate was such a dud. Every open ended question she would ask would be answered with very little emotion or enthusiasm. The two of them actually had a common connection (I forget what it was now) and my boss mentioned that thinking it might spark a conversation or stimulate the candidate and it was brushed off with "oh, well I didn't work there very long."  And my boss was the most peeved by the fact that the candidate was applying for a job that had a rather large increase in salary.  She said - and I remember this part clearly - "I really don't mind people trying to get a big raise in salary but for god's sake, at least sell yourself in the process!"

Again, if you can sell yourself for the position and keep things focused on the value of the role to the organization and how you're ideally suited for the position and would add more value to the organization, I doubt they'll mind.  That said, they'll probably go toward the lower end of the spectrum (the $60k increase over the $120k increase) because everyone loves a deal and lower salary costs boosts overall profits.

gehrhorn's picture
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I would go with 100% honesty and 100% candor with "be brief" leanings. I wouldn't voluntarily address the delta. 

If they asked you to address it I'd say something like, "My current base is $x and based on variable pay I expect to end they year somewhere between $x+a and $x+b. Based on my understanding of the marketplace I'm probably underpaid, but there are a lot of things that go into a competative offer." It's early, too early to discuss a yet unoffered offer. 

Also, don't worry about being lowballed. (Try at least :)). If you will accept $Z to do the job don't worry if they would have gone to 1.1 * $Z. It doesn't matter. First, you're unlikely to come to know what the max offer was. Second, trying to extract the max offer from every company is going to start you off on the wrong foot. 


13bravo's picture

Thank you to all who chimed in, I really do appreciate it.  So far, all the feedback received has supported my initial assumptions (which I left out intentionally so as not to color anyone's view).  Sometimes, it is just good to have your thought process reinforced.

I will just focus on me and what I can bing to their organization, the rest will come what may.  Thank again!

Oh, and I defnitely woul never lie about the salar, was just wondering if I should comment on the delta when respondin to their question about my salary (assuming it was asked)...I won't!


Much Appreciated!



13bravo's picture

Sorry for above spelling errors (missing letters)...keyboard is acting funky.  I will need to quadruple check my cover letters, etc now.

ashdenver's picture

I've noticed that the discussion forums here are super wonky on IE.  We have the latest & greatest version of IE but after hitting the Enter key to start a new paragraph, it seems like things go into some weird virtual keyboard where every third, fifth, second, sixth, random character doesn't get spit out like it should.  Not only the Enter key but if I ever scrolled back up to the top of the page to review the original post or other replies, the keyboard wonkiness would happen even if I was still mid-sentence without ever using the Enter key. 

As a result, I've been forced to use only Firefox for the forums.  Things are working perfectly in Firefox.

DaniMartin's picture
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Our tech team is investigating this.  Thanks for letting us know!


romannyu's picture
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That is EXACTLY what was happening to me...thought my keyboard batteries may have been going.  Thanks for sharing...I will try and remember to use Firefox if I plan on posting in the forums again (this was my first post).