How to Answer “What is Your Current Salary?” During a Job Interview

current salaryHow do you address your salary when an interviewer asks about your current salary? How do you convey how much you’re looking for in your next role?

These are tough conversations during a job interview… but the discussions must occur. So be ready! After all, you don’t want your new salary to be dependent on what you’re currently making. This is especially true if you’re looking to move up the career ladder.

Your Current Salary

This question is very frequently asked in the interview by recruiters and hiring managers. They are looking for informational purposes, of course. They are also insuring a candidate fits within the normal range of the position.

First rule of discussing salary: be honest. Your compensation is on-the-record information that they can, and will, validate.  If you’re caught lying, it could cost you the position. At the very least, it will damage your reputation. How you address the next piece of this question will depend upon your job search goals. But be sure to include everything that affects your total pay, not just your base.

“I’m currently making $53,000 as a base salary, with a potential for performance-based bonuses.”

Your Expectations

Next, you want to address the salary that you are looking to make in your next role. With the likelihood that you’ll be taking on additional responsibilities, or moving up the chain.

So it’s natural that there will be a gap, one sometimes larger than you’re comfortable communicating, between your current salary and your expected future salary. This is often the case where your compensation is lower than market demand. For instance, if you accepted the role in exchange for other perks such as increased vacation time or flex hours. Or maybe you jumped at the chance to get in at the ground level of a startup organization.  It’s okay to communicate that aspect as well when trying to sell yourself at a higher level.


If you’re not sure what the position pays, suggest a range. Make the low end the minimum of what you’re willing to go in at. Of course, that makes the high end what you really want. So ideally they come back somewhere in the middle.

“I’m making $53,000 currently. Since I’m targeting a more managerial-focused role, I’m aiming for a range of $60,000-65,000.”


“My current base salary is $50,000. I was one of the first employees hired. It was an exciting opportunity. So I agreed to come in at a lower rate than what I typically see in the market.  In my next role, I’m ideally targeting compensation more on par with my experience and contribution. Something in the range of $65,000 to $70,000.”

Numbers aside, it’s your responsibility to convey the value of what you’re asking for. 

So don’t be afraid to voice your interest in moving up. Talk intentionally about taking on more responsibility. Then discuss your desire to build upon your existing skill sets.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio.




DanaAbout the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses. She also offers career transition coaching and business consulting.

Dana has helped hundreds of professionals execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities. Her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay,, GlassDoor and Follow Dana on Twitter!



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