Most employers have probably been asked the following question at least once in their line of work: “What is the typical entry-level salary in this field”
Although this question should not be brought up during a typical job interview, it is a perfectly acceptable thing to ask during an informational interview when someone is just trying to gather figures. An exceptionally low starting salary could deter someone from entering the field whereas a surprisingly high starting salary could make someone seriously consider entering a field they may not have been interested in before.
Points to Emphasize
When answering a question about salary during an informational interview, keep the following points in consideration.
- Give the most accurate amount you can
- If the amount varies by region, bring that up
- Emphasize that salary isn’t everything and that they should be passionate about this line of work
- Put them in touch with colleagues who might know more
The amount of money a person is able to make is important to an extent, so provide your interviewer with the best, most relevant information you can.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
You should watch out for these errors when discussing salary with your interviewer.
- Don’t lie about the numbers
- Don’t chastise the interviewer for wanting to know about salary
- Don’t say you’re unsure and then move on
- Don’t be unprepared
If you agree to an informational interview, you should reasonably expect the person interviewing you to inquire about salary. It is a very basic question to ask under these circumstances, and you should have something ready. If you are unable to get the information yourself, then try putting them in touch with people who would know.
There are various answers to give to this question. One might look like:
At this company, we start all entry-level employees at $30,000 a year, and then if they show they are able to handle responsibility, we can discuss a raise fairly quickly.
Another response might go along the lines of:
Well, I can tell you what we pay here, but honestly, it can vary widely from state-to-state. Here we start employees at $30,000 a year, but I know other states start much higher than that. I can put you in contact with some colleagues of mine if you’d like to learn more about other states’ starting salaries.
Hopefully, the person interviewing you is somewhat interested in this field and will not be let down if the figure given is lower than expected. Just give the best answer you can and see what they do with that information.