Starting in July 2018, Massachusetts new pay equity law will not allow employers to ask job candidates about salary history. In the meantime in Massachusetts, or for the other 49 states, how can you, the job seeker, answer the salary question?
For many, answering this question can be awkward. Employers ask what you have been making for several reasons. First, they want to make an offer you will accept. They also may not be fully aware of the market and looking to pay market rate. They might also be seeking to see how flexible you are. You may not want to put yourself in a hole, or share this information on the first conversation.
Here are 3 approaches you can use to answer the question.
“My current salary is… “
You can be upfront and answer the question directly. Let them know what you are making and what you are targeting. If you are looking for an increase in compensation, arguments for more cash can be career progression, your specialized skills and experience, or commute.
“The average compensation for my skill set is this $ to that $”
Do your homework and come prepared with the market rates. You can use Glassdoor.com, PayScale.com, Salary.com, or Indeed to find what average salaries are for your skill set, years of experience, or location. Using the average to position yourself with a competitive offer.
Put the ball back in their court
Ask what they are targeting for salary, or what they feel your skills would be worth. Try saying “I am looking for a competitive offer based on what you feel my skills are worth” If they will not be able to afford your salary, you may not want to waste time in the interview process. This will save you both a lot of time.
As always, if you are considering a job change, give us at DAVIS a call! Working closely with our candidates and clients, we understand the market rates and can let you know what realistic target salaries and ranges are for your skill set.