Interviewing for a New Job? Determine Your Salary Range Before Stepping in the Door

Courtesy of Dreamstime

Courtesy of Dreamstime

Your phone rings. You look at the small caller-id screen, but you’re unfamiliar with the incoming phone number. As the digits continue to flash, you suspect it’s someone you know and that they’re calling from another phone line.

You pick up and, with your “receptionist” voice, you answer: “HellOoo, this is . . .”

“Hi. This is so-and-so from whachamacallit Company,” says the voice on the other line. “We received and reviewed your resume and cover letter regarding the XYZ position and would like to bring you in for an interview.”

Yay! It’s the company that you’ve been wanting to work for, and that you’ve recently applied to. They think your resume is impressive and would like to see how you’d be a good fit for the company.

But wait… the voice on the other line has just one more question. “What’s your salary requirement?”

Uh oh. You hadn’t prepared yourself for this particular question. You think: Isn’t it too soon to be talking money? You choke. And fill the silence with um’s and uh’s. Not the first impression you wanted to make.

Has this ever happened to you?

What often results from unpreparedness and being put on the spot is that we prematurely give a salary range without taking into careful consideration what the job requirements are, what benefits are being offered, and factoring in the living expenses that are typical of the region in which you reside.

Whether we like it or not, our salary has a lot to do with our level of contentment on the job, even if it’s one we absolutely love. As a matter of fact, a little hike in pay might even keep an employee from switching jobs. While the feeling of being underpaid is often the underlying factor for employees who do eventually switch companies.

We all know that one way we can avoid giving a salary range too soon in the interview process is to say something similar to the following: “My salary is negotiable based on the entire compensation package.” And if that doesn’t work, once again be honest and say that you’d like to first determine what the job requires and how that translates in terms of compensation based on your experience and education.

With that, I’d like to provide some free (and fee-based) resources that you could use today to determine what your experience, education, and unique abilities are worth to a company. The goal is to research the average salary for the position you’re applying to and go from there.

Online Resources

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ wages by area and occupation Click Here

Jobstar Click Here

Salary Click Here

Salary Expert Click Here

Salary Source Click Here

Monster Salary Wizard Click Here

Career Builder (CB) Salary Click Here

Keep the Discussion Going

Have you ever been in the predicament described at the beginning of this post? After you were offered the job, did you reconsider the original salary range that you provided at the onset? Did you feel you didn’t get the pay you deserved? Or were you absolutely satisfied with what was offered?

What advice would you offer someone who’s currently interviewing for new positions?



  • Sabrina

    Fantastic! if only I had read this BEFORE!!!