How much did you earn in your last job?
This delicate interview question can either greatly enhance or greatly diminish your chances of landing your dream job, depending on your answer. If your last job or current job is poorly paid relative to the role you are interviewing for, your interviewer may revise downwards their assessment of you and create doubt in their mind as to why you are underpaid. Even worse, they may target the lower end of the positions pay scale when negotiating a salary with you as they now know your bargaining power is reduced. On the other end of the scale, if you had a higher salary in your last job, an employer could potentially feel that they cannot afford you.
What is the best tack to take?
If you were poorly paid in your last position and in the lower end of the range of the job on offer, you could say that you were in the same salary range of the current position. If this is not the case, you could say that you had a relatively low salary base but there were great benefits which negated the relatively low salary. If you were on a salary higher than the job on offer, you also need to proceed with great caution as you don’t want your potential employer to think they cannot afford you. So, what do you do?
The Art of Deflection
Research the salary ranges of the position you are applying for, let your potential employer know that you have conducted research on this subject and you are aware that the range is between x and y and that you would be happy with a salary within this range. This approach will help prevent your employer forming the opinion that you were undervalued or overvalued in you last position.
To conclude, the salary which you earned in your last job question is a potential banana skin that needs to be fully prepared for, be approached with extreme caution, as this question could be the difference between you landing or not landing your dream job.