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One of the most awkward questions you can be asked in a job interview is "What are your salary requirements?" or "How much are you making in your current job?"

As in many uncomfortable situations, your immediate reaction may be to immediately give an answer, stating how much you make and then explaining what range you'd be looking for in this job.

It's a trap, argues Ramit Sethi, the bestselling personal-finance writer and teacher. In a recent episode of "The Tim Ferriss Show" podcast, Ferriss highlights several of Sethi's lessons that are hosted on CreativeLive, an online classroom company Ferriss works with.

When experienced hiring managers hear a direct answer to that salary question, Sethi says, they immediately think, "OK, gotcha." Because, for example, maybe they were willing to offer you $90,000. But when they hear you were making $60,000, they'll know they won't have to let go of as much of the company's money to appeal to you.

If you flatly refuse to answer the question, you might give your interviewer a bad impression. But you won't need to do that. Borrow a tactic from politicians and dodge it instead.

If you're in a job interview and a hiring manager asks you how much you make or how much you're looking for, Sethi says, answer something like, "You know what, I'm happy to discuss money down the road, but right now I'm just trying to see if there's a good fit for both of us. I'm sure you're trying to do the same thing."

Sethi says that this communicates confidence to the interviewer and can suggest that you have multiple offers on the table.

His advice is to hold off on salary negotiations until the hiring manager comes at you with a job offer, but, people being people, you may run into an interviewer who will keep pushing until they get an answer.

In an interview with Business Insider in May, HR consultant Lynn Taylor also recommended the dodge tactic, but said that if you get an insistent interviewer, answer truthfully but with an explanation.

That is, answer the range question based on what people already in that position make at the company — which you should know from your research — and answer the current-salary question by fleshing out your other benefits and the possibility of recently increased duties that have yet to be reflected in a raise.

Whatever the case, never answer directly.

Otherwise, you've already lost the edge in a negotiation before it even began.  

Why you should never directly answer a salary question
Why you should never directly answer a salary question
One of the most awkward questions you can be...
2 years ago

While many large companies use automated résumé-screener software to cut down the initial pool of job applicants, loading your résumé with meaningless buzzwords is not the smartest way to get noticed.
"Nearly everyone is guilty of using buzzwords from time to time, but professionals are evaluated increasingly on their ability to communicate," says Paul McDonald, senior executive director for professional-placement firm Robert Half.
Some of the major problems with using buzzwords, according to Mary Lorenz, a corporate communications manager at CareerBuilder, are that they have become so overused that they've lost all meaning, and they don't differentiate the job seeker from other candidates because they're so generic.
Other, less jargony words and terms should be avoided when they serve little purpose to the hiring manager. All these words do is waste their time and, as a result, you lose out on the few precious seconds a recruiter spends scanning your résumé.
Instead, Lorenz says job seekers should speak in terms of accomplishments and show rather than tell.
"Avoiding overused terms can help job seekers convey their message and stand out from the crowd," McDonald says.
Here's what you should avoid:
1. 'Best of breed'
2. 'Phone'
3. 'Results-driven'
4. 'Seasoned'
5. 'Highly qualified'
6. 'Responsible for'
7. 'NYSE'
8. 'References available by request'
9. 'Ambitious'
10. 'Team player'
11. 'Microsoft Word'
12. 'Interfaced'
13. 'Hard worker'
14. 'Hard'
15. 'Punctual'
16. '@'
17. 'People person'
18. 'Hit the ground running'
19. 'I,' 'me,' or 'myself'
20. 'My objective ...'
21. 'Successfully'
22. 'Innovative'
23. 'Extracurricular activities'
24. 'Address'
25. 'Honest'  

Words you shouldn't put on your résumé
Words you shouldn't put on your résumé
These words don't mean much to hiring managers, other than "this one's going in the &
2 years ago

Everyone likes to give their two cents about other people's careers, but sometimes it's better to just keep the change.
On Monday, we asked readers to tell us the worst career advice they'd ever received.
Judging from the responses, big companies are overrated, "don't work hard" is disturbingly prevalent advice, and adhering to the old cliché "follow your dreams" can lead to a nightmare of a career.
Whether it's too trite or just out of left field, some career advice is best discarded.
Here are the top 33 worst pieces of advice people have been given.
'Don't take a raise'
The worst advice I've received was to not take a raise in salary when approaching the next tax bracket because it would cost me a net loss considering the additional taxes.
It came from my macroeconomics professor in college, and I failed the course.
— Trey Talley, Dallas, Texas
'Fake it 'til you make it'
No! If you're unhappy, you shouldn't have to punish yourself for the sake of income. Life is far too short to be doing something you dislike. If you're unhappy, don't suffer.
Sure, give it a chance, but know when to make the call for your own happiness. Never stay stuck, and don't be afraid to make a change if the occasion calls for it.
— Anonymous
'Pursue your dreams and everything will follow'
The advice that most parents give is genuinely the worst advice anyone can receive. Not everyone can be a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffett, and it's hard to try to be someone you probably are not capable of being.
I've been lucky enough to have supportive parents my entire life. Still, I wish that they sat me down a little earlier to learn just how important money and quality of life are. My last semester of college, I learned that lesson during an advising interview with my department head. I wish every day my parents had told me four years earlier.
The line that stuck out to me was: "When you have a family one day, you'll appreciate working somewhere in an industry that will pay and appreciate you for who you are."
— Richard, Miami, Florida
'Stop by for a résumé critique'
I once had an on-site interview at Microsoft, scheduled in the late afternoon. Redmond traffic at that time is particularly bad, so it took me about an hour and a half to get there. I was desperate for a job at the time.
The hiring manager sat down and told me that he didn't think I was right for the position (even before he brought me in). He just wanted to bring me in to tell me what was wrong with my résumé.
His heart was in the right place I suppose, but why that couldn't come from an email or a phone call instead of a wasted afternoon in traffic, I'll never know.
— Anonymous
'Take the job for the experience'
Always remember to move forward for greater challenges when your time is up and your company no longer values your efforts.
— Jane Avery, Colorado
'Do everything your boss says'
My boss said to me: "If I ask you to get me a glass of water, it is your duty to get it for me."
— Anonymous
'Do what you love and the money will follow'
I did. It didn't.
— David A. Holland, Dallas, Texas
'Don't rock the boat'
The worst piece of advice I ever received was, "Don't try to invent a new way for how to operate the business. Go the old, traditional route."
— Sagov Rustam, Russia
'Pants can ruin your career'
The worst advice I've received is that a skirt is the only acceptable fashion for a woman in business and that pants can ruin a young woman's career. Apparently Hillary didn't get the same memo.
— Shannon, Minneapolis, Minnesota
'Be a "yes" man'
— Anonymous, Austin, Texas
'The right way to make more money is to stay at one company and get steady raises'
Anyone in tech can tell you that this career model is dead. Companies now favor "performance-based compensation" over raises, so their employee outlay falls when the company struggles.
If you want more base salary, you have to be willing to make a big move.
— Anonymous
'Put in minimal effort'
I worked as a waitress in Canada, and I got told off once for doing something wrong. One of the guys from the kitchen gave me some advice:
"Always put in minimal effort when you start a job so that you are appreciated when you work really hard. If you show up and work your hardest right away, you're going to get in trouble when you slack off and never be appreciated — that's what I do."
— Samantha, Brisbane, Australia
'Work in a big company'
The worst advice I ever received was to work in a big company that offers high pay and great retirement benefits.
— Anonymous
'Majors don't matter'
This is bad advice: "It doesn't matter what your major is. Just get a degree."
— Anonymous, Wisconsin
'Go to law school — it's a good all-purpose credential'
Many thousands of dollars of debt later, I discovered that, although I was up to the cognitive demands, temperamentally I was completely unsuited for the highly competitive, often antagonistic nature of law practice. So I left the law.
— Anonymous
'Think big'
Here's some bad advice: "Get a good job with a big company!"
— Neal, St. Louis, Missouri
'Follow your passion'
You will always have many different passions you will want to pursue, but many of those passions are not viable career paths. Pick a career path that accentuates your strengths, and a successful career shall follow.
— Robert R.
'Give up on computers'
In the late '80s, my dad asked my mom and sister why I spent so much time programming. He said, "It's useless. All of the programs have already been created."
— Pancho, El Paso, Texas
'Think only about the money'
At my first job out of college, my manager was full of lousy advice. She would pull me aside and give me sly insults disguised as constructive criticism (except they were never constructive).
The worst advice she ever gave me was during a one-on-one meeting when she said, "You know, when you're considering whether or not to say 'yes' to a project, you should really consider how much money you make."
I was a salaried employee and was making an impressive wage for a recent grad. I couldn't believe that, as an aspiring and energetic marketing professional, I was being told to say 'no' to projects strictly based on my income rather than the importance of a project or the opportunity for professional growth.
— Ashley, Boston, Massachusetts
'Work overtime'
"Work overtime to show your loyalty and ability" — that's the worst advice I ever got. Working overtime could actually lower your productivity.
— Edith, Hong Kong
'Bring baked goods'
The worst career advice I received was to bring baked goods to all of my meetings to avoid losing the attention of my employees.
I originally thought that this was a fantastic idea. However, one of my employees was allergic to an ingredient in the brownies, and an ambulance had to be called after they frantically stabbed an EpiPen into their thigh!
— Kari Mcintosh
'Don't make waves'
My dad gave me this terrible advice: "Get a steady job and stay there. Don't make waves or try and stand out. Keep your head down."
— Anonymous
'Don't reenlist'
In the early 1970s, when I was barely out of my teenage years and in the US Air Force, a military career counselor told me not to reenlist. He assumed that since I was single, there were better opportunities in the civilian job market since I had no one to support.
However, I reenlisted long enough to retire at 39 — the earliest age allowable by regulations according to my circumstances.
It was the best decision in my life. Over the years, I have met ex-military members who wished they stayed in until retirement for the benefits I now appreciate.
Military retirement usually means that you have opportunities and experience to work in several civilian careers afterwards, which turned out to be true for me.
— MSgt AB, ret., USAF, San Antonio, Texas  

2 years ago

There are dozens of highly impressive and clever questions that you can — and should — ask the hiring manager throughout your job interview. Remember: It is a two-way street, after all.
But some should be asked at the beginning, others should be held till the end ... and a few should come somewhere in between.
Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job," says that timing can be everything when it comes to asking the hiring manager questions.
She says:
"By starting with lighter topics that encourage the interviewer to further describe their objectives, for example, you help create a positive flow. In contrast, if you start off with more specific questions and they seem out of left field, it may suggest that you're being too intrusive, aggressive, or too focused on a particular tangent."
Taylor says that job candidates should always ask the following four questions — but only once you have a comfortable flow of conversation established.
"Depending on how friendly and receptive your interviewer is, however, that may only take five to 10 minutes," she says.
Here are the four brilliant questions to ask once you're comfortable with the hiring manager:

'How would you define success in this role?'
You don't necessarily want to kick off the interview with this question, but you also don't want to hold it until the end.
You'll want to inquire about the types of accomplishments and skills sets that are viewed as most valuable so you have a better idea of what to focus on when talking about your own experiences throughout the interview.
"This question is impressive to most hiring managers because it demonstrates your keen interest in succeeding," Taylor says. "It also suggests you're savvy enough to evaluate the match, too — which is only fair."
'How much collaboration is there in this position?'
Again, wait until you have a nice conversation before asking this one. But ask it early enough so that you can spend some time talking about your teamwork and leadership skills, should you learn those things are important and highly valued in this role.
Says Taylor:
"This is an admirable question, because it suggests you're a team player. Few jobs today have little interaction with anyone in the office. And it's not uncommon to have teams work together on just about everything. Just be careful to indicate that you can also work independently, as needs require."

'Can you describe the work culture at this company?'
Knowing what the culture is like may determine the questions you ask later on in the interview and the things you look out for during your office tour, so don't wait too long to ask this one.
Taylor says:
"This is deemed a great question by hiring managers because adapting well to a new work environment will play into your success. If they ask you to be specific, you can inquire about their approach to meetings, preferred methods of communication, use of cross-functional work teams, etc. The interviewer may offer more once you've kick-started the discussion."
'It seems that your company is moving in X direction. Is that an accurate assessment?'
You want to prove that you've done your homework, but don't ask this one too early in the conversation. Wait until you've had a chance to discuss the specific role, why you'd be a great fit, and the culture before you begin talking about the future of the company.
Says Taylor:
"It's always impressive to interviewers when you demonstrate knowledge of timely news or trend information about the company. Scour their website 'News' section, but find what's been written about them externally, even in blogs if helpful. Initiating a discussion on positive company news or a strategy they've openly discussed shows that you think like a manager (big picture); are genuinely interested; and tend to make the extra effort."  

When to ask impressive job-interview questions
When to ask impressive job-interview questions
"By starting with lighter topics that encourage the interviewer to further describe their objec
2 years ago

Over this weekend, an open letter to the Yelp CEO went viral on Medium. The letter was written by Talia Jane, a 25 year old who worked in customer service at Yelp/Eat24. The post breaks down Talia’s experience at Yelp and a list of grievances for her employer, including, low compensation, lack of company provided amenities (snacks), and poor communication from management. Several hours after her post was published on Medium, Talia announced that Yelp has terminated her employment. Yelp has since announced the decision was not a direct response to her Medium’s post.  

A Millennial Response To 'An Open Letter To Yelp CEO': Takeaways For Millennials And Compa
A Millennial Response To 'An Open Letter To Yelp CEO': Takeaways For Millennials And Compa
2 years ago

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