So…"What is your current salary and package?” This question, from a potential employer in an interview, both as a Brit and a professional unless thoroughly prepared for, can send shivers down the spine of would be interviewees & recruiters. Is it the most hated question though and why?
It's something that's a constant topic of discussion with clients, recruiters and candidates alike. I am even at conflict with myself on the acceptability of it. On the one hand, I believe this question can overstep a very fine line between ticking an HR box, positioning as a bargaining tool, being overly invasive and being downright rude.
From a client’s perspective, I believe it is an important question during a job interview. There needs to be clarity, some realistic expectations and - more than anything else - a benchmark for you to measure the candidate both internally and in comparison to the market. If the question is perfectly timed and phrased in the correct manner it can also provide you as the interviewer with a great selling tool for a new recruit - “Really? I would have thought you are worth much more than that….?!”
On a personal note I have no problem whatsoever with announcing my market worth to a potential employer, nor do I mind what they may think. Surely this is used as a factual and negotiable tool. So if you like me at interview, my cards are on the table and we can have an open conversation.
One thing I do believe is, it is not morally acceptable to shirk the answer as a candidate when asked. Do we really need to hide this fact in order to get a larger wage rise or protect our personal pride? Everyone finds out in the end anyway especially the people that will be paying your salary!
The interview question job-seekers hate most is “What were you earning at your last job?” (or, if you’re working now, “What are you earning now?”) This question is not relevant to the job interview and it’s impolite, but job-seekers are naturally reluctant to say, “It’s none of your business what I’m earning now or what I earned at my last job.”