INTERVIEWING INSIGHTS: Don’t Be Stumped by the Dreaded Question

By Maureen Koenen, Co-Chair, Marketing Committee

We have attempted in this column to deal with many of the challenges that an individual faces during the interview process. Getting both mentally and physically prepared for an interview is a practice that gets a little less painful with each occurrence. What does not get easier is second guessing the questions you will be asked and trying to decipher your interviewer’s body language and verbal feedback.

Luckily, some days the stars are aligned just so and everything seems to be going your way when the much anticipated topic of “Salary Requirements” is raised. The conversation typically goes like this: “What are your salary requirements?” or “What compensation did you receive at your last position?” followed by an awkward hesitation on your part. Now, all your preparation on company background, skill competencies, and social networking are put on the back burner. It is no longer “How can you fill our company’s needs” but “How much are you going to cost us”?

The website www.quintcareers.com advises, “Whenever possible, do not volunteer information about your salary history or your salary expectations or requirements in your cover letter, resume, or during a job interview. Information is power in job- hunting, and your goal should always be to hold on to your power as long as possible by delaying discussions about salary as long as possible.”

On the other hand, many sources say that being asked a salary question is a good sign, that the interviewer is actually considering you as a strong candidate. Unfortunately, many applicants rate this question right up there with “What is your age” or “Aren’t you too qualified for this position”? Once again, preparation is key.

Below are listed websites that can guide you through salary requirements. Use these sources to estimate the average salary and salary range for a particular position and geographic area in this current economic climate. If your attitude is “I have made $150,000 plus bonus and, with all my experience, I will not take a penny less,” then it’s time for you to enroll in “The Art of Flexibility in the 2010 Job Market.” No one is saying you do not “deserve” such a salary; but in these unusual economic times, it is vital that you do your salary homework and then be prepared to speak knowledgeably about your salary range considerations.

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