Stupid Interview Mistakes: Not Setting Up The Salary Question Right |

Stupid Interview Mistakes | Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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EP 1540  This is one that just exposes you is a complete amateur.

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During my 40+ years of experience in executive search and now is a coach, I'm always stunned that people do this. It comes across in the interview as, out of the blue, you ask, "So, what's the salary?" TA DA! They answer , but it comes across as being rude or obnoxious. There is a better way to set it up.

It really starts at the initial phone screen where HR or the hiring manager calls you and asks you about your salary. I'm going to pause for a second and say that I know there is a theory that recommends that you never answer a salary question. Unfortunately, for most people, if you don't answer the salary question, you are escorted out the door.

When you work in sales, it is different. You if you answer the question, you follow up by saying, "I just want to be clear that I'm not here to take a bad deal. So if you think I'm just going to accept the $3000 increase, that is not what I am looking for." That's the way to answer it in sales.

For average Jane or average Joe, who is interviewing for a position, let's say is $100,000 or $200,000 . . . Whatever it is, "I just want to check with you that I'm looking for reasonable raise on top of that is within the realm of possibility. I'm not here to take significantly less OR less for that matter. I'm looking for an opportunity where I can advance my career AND do that financially, too. Is that within the realm here?"

"Yes, it is."

"Great. Could you give me a sense of the salary range for the role, understanding that I don't know how you are going to evaluate me. At the end of the day, I just want to get a picture of what the ranges for the position. " Normally, they will give you a sense of it.

"Normally, there's a lot more than I'm sure you need to know in order to get a sense of where I would fit in but I just want to learn that this is…"

Did you see how I went with this? It is a respectful question not, "So, what's the salary for this?" Is not an imbecile question that so many people ask.


Jeff Atlman - Job Hunting Coach - Job Search Coach based in Asheville NCJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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