HR Perspective on Salary Management  Part 1 – The Interview

HR Perspective on Salary Management Part 1 – The Interview

June 10, 2020
Shari Steinbach
Human Resources

By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor

Learning all you can about a potential new job and asking the right questions can help you determine if the position would be a good fit. It also plays a big part in demonstrating your genuine interest in the role while conveying your career priorities. Whether you are seeking your first job in retail, interviewing for a promotion within the company, or seeking a new opportunity in retail outside the company, Lou Whiting, HR Retail Consultant, provides advice on discussing compensation and more during the interview process:

1. Should a candidate research the salary level for the position they are applying?

Yes, do your research! Look for comparable jobs in other retail companies and identify what the going rate is for a similar role and level of experience. It’s also important to think about the cost of living for the area as well. Professional organizations and your network of retail dietitians may provide some salary ranges and websites like and  PayScale can offer some insights.

2. During an interview, should you disclose what you were making at your current or former employer?

While HR would like to get this information, I would recommend not disclosing your current or past salary to a potential employer as you run the risk of being devalued. If asked, however, you need a strategy for declining to answer. You can state that you’d rather not disclose your current salary, as you would like to have a fair negotiation based on your experience and expertise that will provide value to the company. Another strategy if asked, is to inquire what the expected salary range is for the position, making them the first to offer a salary number.

3. Should a candidate ask up front about bonuses, educational support, travel, benefits, and anything that may be negotiated in terms of perks?

I would suggest inquiring about incentive compensation. Find out if monetary bonuses are offered, and if so, what is the criteria for eligibility. Also, help the interviewee understand the importance of educational conferences, professional dues and other specific benefits that are central to your profession.

4. Should a candidate ask about future raises, chances for advancement and learning opportunities up front?

I think it shows great interest if a candidate asks what the career path looks like for the position they are interviewing for. This question gives me a sense that they are thinking about the job in the long-term and that they want to develop with the company. It also shows that they are looking for a position with possible advancement. Bottom line, you want to know the job you are applying for has room for promotion and pay raises.

5. What questions impress you most when you have a candidate come in for an interview?

Their questions should highlight interest in becoming an active and engaged employee with our company. Examples include: How do you measure success for this role? What are the key expectations for this role in the next 6 months/year? What strategic challenges is your company facing in the next 2-3 years? How is the department I would be reporting into structured? Is there anything about my experience and background that would make you hesitant to offer me this position?