Salary Question
October 21, 2013 10:05 AM   Subscribe

I am currently applying for new jobs. At my current position, I am salaried but am compensated at the same hourly rate for any hours I work over 40. I have consistently worked 40+ hours a week for the entire year, and am on track to make about $8,000 more than my stated base salary for the year. When discussing current compensation with potential employers, how much detail should I go into? Can I just say "I make around (number I made this year) in total compensation, or should I explain the salary + OT deal? Thanks!
posted by cccp47 to Work & Money (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Don't go into too much discussion about it. I try not to name a figure, but if I'm pressed I usually say, "The mid-seventies". Actually, I'd say, "In order for it to be worth it to me to make a move, I'd like to see compensation in the X-Y range, depending on the total compensation package."

Think about it. Unless you tell them, how would they know?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:08 AM on October 21, 2013 [7 favorites]

Unless you want to lobby for the base + OT model at the new place, I don't think it matters (particularly as it's the same rate).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:09 AM on October 21, 2013

Some awesome tips for salary negotiation. TL;DR don't tell them your current salary and if you absolutely must, then give very vague answers.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:15 AM on October 21, 2013 [19 favorites]

I think it depends on whether you want to use the overtime to claim a higher salary and hope your new employer will base their offer on that. If that higher salary is too high, that could pose a problem but if they can't match $8k above your current salary, this may not be a career-driven move and could be more of a lifestyle move. Generally, I always am expecting an employer is going to beat my previous job salary, so in negotiations if I'm forced to, I'll say essentially, "I am earning this and I am looking to improve upon that." Maybe that is a position of weakness, but I am saying I want a good enough raise over my current figure to leave. They will never actually know the distinction between base salary and overtime unless you explain it, so it could be a higher negotiating point for you, especially if you suck at negotiating and are going to end up giving them a number. tl;dr it's up to you if you want to fold that $8k into your salary because otherwise, they'll never know.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:27 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm firmly in the camp of not mentioning numbers till as late as possible, but once you do, consider another point: negotiating a salary is not unlike negotiating the sale price of your house. You know for a fact that you won't get more than your asking price, so make sure to ask for more than the lowest number you're willing to settle for.
posted by Dragonness at 10:37 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Try not to give any salary information out in a job interview. If pressed, ask "how much does the position command?" or "I'm sure you'll offer a qualified candidate a salary that is commensurate with experience and market rates."

Often times, you won't make it past an HR flunkie without giving a number. In that case you say "around $XX thousand a year" or "in the mid $XX thousands."
posted by tckma at 10:38 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Total compensation is much more that salary + OT. It includes all your benefits (Healthcare, vacation, profit sharing, stock options, etc). Don't sell yourself short by only counting actual dollars in your account.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:45 AM on October 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

in any negotiation, avoid being the first to mention a number. when you do get around to mentioning a compensation number, include overtime and bennies and options and everything else, because ypu're working for compensation, not just salary.
posted by bruce at 11:08 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yep. Rule #1 is:

He who says the first number, loses.
posted by jbenben at 11:17 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

>Rule #1 is:

He who says the first number, loses.

This works in the initial stages, but towards the end you can actually gain from asking your best reasonable number. This is because at that point you know they are invested and really want you.
posted by Dragonness at 12:40 PM on October 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Maybe this is stupid obvious, but it is a very rare exception for a place to pay an hourly rare to a salaried employee for extra hours. Your new employers almost certainly won't offer you the same deal, so take that into account when applying/accepting.

I'd ask for more than the total amount you made (salary plus extra hours) at your current job.
posted by cnc at 1:05 PM on October 21, 2013

Completely agree with all the answers above not to name a number, keep it vague, etc.
But another way to phrase it if you must answer with a number is "My W-2 Compensation last year with MyCompany was X$".

No need to go into base/OT or any details. That was your last year's compensation.
posted by mazienh at 6:44 PM on October 22, 2013

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