Day 2: What Are You Worth,” Questions and Answers With Our Students

These are actual student questions about salary and compensation that we received during our “Get A Job Bootcamp” webinar programs.

  1. What if they ask about your current salary?


The salary history question is quickly disappearing from most job applications, especially for entry level professional positions. Previously, the employer would consider your past salary history in making you an offer for that job in the company. The result was a systematically perpetuated compensation inequity with women being compensated at about 70% of men’s compensation despite doing the same job at the same performance level.  And there was no catching up for women over their careers.

IN THE LAST FEW YEARS THIS HAS CHANGED. In the USA, the salary history question is quickly being banned one state at a time. Most large companies operating in multiple states have stopped asking.  This is part of an effort to get gender and age pay equity in practice.  The company is at real legal risk today if inequitable compensation patterns exist.  The company has a minimum and a maximum salary range for most jobs.  YOU WILL BE ASKED “WHAT IS YOUR SALARY EXPECTATION.”  You MUST do your salary research for the job you are seeking.,, Google, and your network are terrific resources for finding salary data for most large companies.

2. At what point along the job search/application process are salary ranges discussed/disclosed/negotiated?


It is not uncommon for interviewers to ask you about your salary expectations during the interview process itself.  Generally, this is done to make sure that your expectations are consistent with the salary range of the job.  There’s no point in the organization considering a candidate whose salary demands are not in line with the available job.  You must do your research and know the salary range that you would expect and be prepared to justify your answer.  Know the salaries for the same or similar jobs in the same geographic area. We suggest that you also know the salary range for the next higher position in the job category if possible. Remember, base salary and total compensation can vary by as much as 50% in some professional positions. You will be provided a base salary and total compensation breakout as a final candidate as part of your job offer.  Usually actual salary negotiations only start once you have been made that official offer.

3. What should be the ideal response when asked a salary question? Should I state the exact figure I want?


If you have a SciPhD Flamingo account, check the Flamingo Resource Card “Prepare For A Specific Job” and watch the video “What Are You Worth- Your Total Compensation”.  We recommend doing your research and having a rationale for your salary request. “My research suggests this job offers a range from $85k to $115K. Is that accurate?”. Or “I wasn’t able to find specific salary ranges for this particular job, but similar jobs in this area at two other organizations pay between $85k to $115k.  Is that consistent with your organization?”  Remember, negotiating salary is not like buying a car. A job has a salary range and where on that range your offer lies is based on your ability to perform.  You must have a logical argument for your salary request. If there’s no logic, then you are playing a game and may not win!

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