Everything you’ve always wanted to know about Salary….But were afraid to ask

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about Salary….But were afraid to ask


Is it rude to ask about a job’s salary during the interview?   

If they ask me what I want to earn, what should I say?

Should I include my salary requirements in my cover letter?

If their offer is too low, can I negotiate a better salary?

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about Salary…But were afraid to Ask.

By @StevenCamins

These days, there’s very little that’s not discussed or shared out in the open. Thanks to social media, a never-ending news cycle, anonymous comments sections, and our collective post-pandemic desire to stay ‘connected’ while estranged from our lives, practically nothing is off limits. Except the one thing that still has the sting of a stigma attached to it…salary.

“We are open to talking about everything under the sun, but we still don’t openly discuss salaries,” says Janelle Razzino, who has been the President of Razzino Associates, a NJ-based firm specializing in C-level, executive-level and mid-level placements, for over 30 years. Over the last three decades of negotiating compensation packages on behalf of her clients, Janelle has become an expert at the art and craft of salary negotiations. But here’s the good news, you don’t need a professional recruiter to help you nab the best job and most lucrative offer. In fact, according to Razzino, anyone can do it.

“Every job has a salary already attached to it or it wouldn’t be out there,” she says, “It’s just a matter of knowing how to negotiate and stand up for your worth.”

Below, Razzino answers your top salary-related questions and shares some of her best tips for getting the salary you want, and landing the perfect job.

What should I do if an interviewer asks me about my salary requirements?

My suggested go-to is something like, “I would be happy to tell you. May I ask what the salary range is?”

Should I include my salary requirements in my cover letter?
Cover letters are about you, not about anything else. I’d focus on getting in the door (or these days, landing the all-coveted Zoom invite). There’s always time to discuss compensation after you’ve wowed them.

What if they ask me what my current salary is?

They shouldn’t. That’s an illegal question in most states. If they do. I’d gracefully push back and politely inquire, “May I ask what the salary range of the job you are interviewing for is?”

How do I know how much to ask for?
A good rule of thumb is to ask for 20% more than your current (or most recent) salary.

How should I answer if they ask me what range I am looking for?

My suggestion? Don’t give them a range – give them a number. Offering a range can sometimes come off as indecisive. It may lead them to think you won’t lead their department with confidence. Instead, give them an exact number. Be confident. You’re worth it!

What if their offer is less then I hoped for?
You can always go back to the well, as I say. But not more than once. If you are looking for a different number, let them know what it is, but stick to it. You should know what your value is and not accept less.


What if the salary is low but the compensation package is great, should I accept the job?

Everything is negotiable. A strong compensation package is important. And the total package is both valuable and important. But keep in mind that your base salary – that’s what you live off of. That’s how you pay your bills and feed your family. It should be a number that you are comfortable with and that makes sense within your lifestyle.

How can I know what the job should be paying?

There are a million places online where you can look salary information—but in my opinion, throw them all out the window. Very little of what you read online is accurate or reliable. If you’re working and earning a salary, use that as a starting point and look for at least 20% more. What you bring to the table is your unique value and talents. Own that.

Should I even bother looking for a job? I’m discouraged by what I’m reading in the media about the employment market?

My advice is to stop doom-scrolling and focus your energies elsewhere. Now’s a great time to get a job. If you need help starting your search, perhaps create a targeted list of companies you’d like to work for. Or, if you’re back in the market after several years, why not connect with an expert who can help you update your resume, or assist you in improving your online interviewing skills? Don’t let what you’re reading in the media discourage you – I’m telling you that I’m out there every day and I see what’s happening in the job market – it’s all good stuff! People are getting hired. And it will happen for you. Now go out there and get started!


About Janelle Razzino:
Razzino Associates’s Janelle Razzino provide premier candidates to those organizations that demand the best in executive search. As an entrepreneur, Janelle speaks, teaches and consults on the growing role of emerging technology in recruitment strategies, placement, executive search, and career planning, Ms. Razzino is a subject matter expert on motivational techniques that can make a difference between success and missed opportunities. She has been featured in the New York Times and on the CBS World News. She can be reached by email at:
janelle@razzinoassociates.com or

FB: https://www.facebook.com/razzinoassociates/.

LI: https://www.linkedin.com/in/janellerazzino/