How Much Do You Make Now? How to Answer This Interview Question

At face value, the question seems simple to answer:

“What’s your current pay rate?”

But believe us: There’s much more to answering this interview question effectively than meets the eye. Salary questions, in particular, are among the most challenging to answer. Handle the topic well, and you’ll earn what you’re worth. But if you botch your response, you could leave money on the table – or even cost yourself the job.

Talking about pay is tough for some people – especially when interviewing for a new job. Here are a few tips from our national employment agency to answer interview questions about your salary:

Head into the interview prepared.

Do your research to understand your value and the pay rates employers in your area are offering. Sites like and Indeed can help you determine an appropriate range for your role and experience.

Know what the employer can and cannot ask.

Many states and cities have a salary question ban, which makes it illegal to ask questions about your current pay. Research the law in your area before you interview.

Pay careful attention to the wording of the question you’re asked.

“What’s your current salary?” is quite different from “What are your salary expectations?” Make sure you recognize the subtle difference in phrasing – so you can gauge your response appropriately.

Choose the best response.

Depending on how the pay rate question is phrased, you have several options:

  1. Be direct. If you’re confident you’re currently earning a competitive wage, honesty is a great policy.
  2. Use your lack of pay history to your advantage. If you’re a recent graduate or just new to the workforce, your salary history may be irrelevant or completely nonexistent. Explain your situation and use it as a springboard to discuss your value and what you would like to earn.
  3. Provide total compensation information. Does your employer pay for your benefits? Do you earn overtime wages? Are you incentivized with bonuses and/or other quantifiable monetary perks? If so, it’s acceptable to provide your total compensation number without specifying the salary component. This option works well for more experienced candidates with salaried jobs and benefits packages.
  4. Redirect your response. If you are interviewing for a job where it’s illegal to ask salary history questions, it’s best to diplomatically steer the conversation toward your salary expectations.

Hate salary questions during job interviews?

Work with a PrideStaff recruiter. Whether you’re interested in temporary assignments or direct jobs, they’ll help you understand – and earn – what you’re worth!

For the insights, support and opportunities you need, contact your local PrideStaff recruiter today.