WorkWise Q&A: How do I handle my wide-ranging salaries in interview?

09/02/2012 6:22 PM

09/02/2012 6:36 PM


Q: Dear Dr. Culp, In the past six years I’ve earned $16/hour to over $110,000/year. This confuses employers, because, at 58, I’m competing with lesser design talent. It’s almost as if interviewers are embarrassed for me when they ask, “What kind of salary do you expect?”

How do I answer and remain confident?

Talent, experience and capability aren’t what companies want. They look for a square to fit into a square hole. When it doesn't, they don't consider using out-of-the box-thinking in respect to the applicant.

Why must a designer wear every hat under the sun (i.e., know every software program) in order to get an interview?


A: Dear Frustrated, In your longer email, you explained that the $110,000 per year job fizzled. Mention the monthly rate and term or omit the job altogether. Then, meet the competition on its terms. If employers you approach require greater computer facility, hire a tutor to teach you what you need to know!

Research salaries at other companies. Say you want to be paid what the position is worth. Mention what other companies are paying, which will let employers know you’re aware of market rate. Ask what range they’re considering. Go from there.



Q: Dear Dr. Culp, After well over a year of hunting for consulting or full-time employment, I’m about to start a consulting position in marketing dealing with digital, advertising and marketing campaigns, etc. I’d been doing small assignments in the interim and I’d interviewed with about five companies.

I do recontact people after being turned down. Initially, interest had been high, sometimes with an interview. I’d been looking on job sites and corporate HR websites, while responding to individual requests for my résumé. I have what they’re saying is valued, vital experience, digital marketing along with cross-industry experience.


A: Dear Mystified, Your résumé is a bit long. It makes short-term assignments stick out. You need more accomplishments and fewer features. However, they aren’t your worst problems.

The avenues you identified to find employment are among the most difficult ones from which to eke out a job. Look at your numbers. You landed a job at your sixth company with interviews at fewer than six. Excellent. Your résumé isn’t your problem.

You expect to find work by not applying the brains you’ve channeled into your career to learn how to job hunt.


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