Downplaying a Low Salary History in a Job Interview
Perhaps you’ve been working in lower-paid jobs or roles, but feel your skills and experience mean it’s now time for you to step up to a better paid position. Or, because of the job market in the past, you’ve accepted roles that paid less than you think you’re worth. You know that disclosing an undermarket salary history can jeopardise your negotiating power. Try these scripts to lessen the impact of having worked for too little money:
I’m uncertain how my salary history will help you, because salaries are affected by geography, benefits packages and company priorities. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the going market value for the position will be more useful. According to my research, that’s a range of $X to $Y.
A biting-the-bullet answer: My salary history won’t bring us to any conclusive figures. I’ve been working under market value, and that’s one more reason I want to make a change. This job seems perfect for me. I wonder whether we could price the position on the basis of its worth to you?
I don’t feel comfortable limiting the discussion to my salary history because a large portion of my compensation has been in variable and indirect pay. I’ve received bonuses regularly based on my performance. What I think you’re really asking is how I plan to do the job you need done — can we talk about that?
If we discuss my salary history, can I say up front that I view this position as a new challenge that will require higher performance than my last? I’d like to think I’m worth more to you than to previous employers.
To get the best return on your negotiation when you’ve been working for less than market value, repeat the following: Focus on my worth, not on my past. Focus on my worth, not on my past. Focus on my worth, not on my past. Get it? Good!