3 top tips on how to decline disclosing your salary

It's the interview question that everybody dreads...

7th Apr 2024

It can sometimes be uncomfortable when you’re asked a question about your current salary in a job interview, and you may not know how to respond in the heat of the moment. It’s important to know that salary disclosure is not an obligation, no matter who is asking you: it's personal information, and it's entirely up to you whether you share it or not. So how should you respond to an interviewer if you'd rather not spill? There are a few ways to answer, while still remaining polite and professional. Check out our top 3 tips below.

1. Politely decline 🙅

We'll say it louder for the people in the back: salary disclosure isn’t obligatory. One option is to politely decline to share this information, and explain that you’d prefer to have a fair negotiation based on your expertise, skills and experience. A company that is fair and has good values will only respect you for this. And a company that has a problem with you not giving them a number may well be one you'd rather avoid anyway.

If you are unable to negotiate a fair reward for your experience, you’ll likely feel unhappy when joining the company. In other words, don’t be scared to assert yourself early: you’ll be happier in the long run.

2. Share your desired salary range instead 💰

You could tell your prospective new employer that you’d like to hear more about the opportunity, and instead ask them what salary range is on offer for the position. Alternatively, you could share your desired salary range instead. This is important information for you to be aware of, and will help you better gauge whether the role is a good fit for you.

Of course, you might not need to ask this question if your prospective employer is practising salary transparency in their job descriptions. In that case, you'll already be armed with this information when you walk into the interview room.

3. Remind the interviewer that this is confidential 🔒

If you're coming up against resistance from your interviewer, you can politely explain that salary information is confidential, and remind them that you don’t need to share this information.

If the employer is being persistent, you could ask their reasoning for wanting to know. Most employers won’t ask you, so if a hiring manager or HR professional asks you this question, pay close attention to how they respond to your answer and how they treat you following the conversation about salary disclosure. It can be a good indicator of what the culture and leadership is really like.

How do I know what salary I should be asking for? 🌟

This is only something you can determine for yourself. The first step you can take is to carry out your own research. Take a look at average salary ranges based on your level of experience, location and the role you’re after. This will give you an idea of what salary range is considered reasonable, and you can use this as a guide. 

We often underestimate ourselves and our potential; it’s important not to do this. To help you assess what salary range you should be asking for, you could start by thinking about the following:

  • What skills do you have that closely fit the job specification?
  • Check out how many ‘desirable but not essential’ skills you have. 
  • Check to see if you meet the qualification requirements and whether you exceed what’s required.
  • Think about how your experience could be advantageous in the role you’re applying or interviewing for - the key here is having an understanding of transferable skills. 
Get some examples together so that you can demonstrate this to the company for which you are interviewing.

We’ve also got some tips on how to get noticed by employers, which could help you during your job search. And if you’re looking for your first flexible job, here are some other key things to be mindful of.

Now you're all set to start applying for your dream role! And if you manage to secure a role using Flexa, be sure to send us feedback on your experience: we'd love to hear from you.