Quick bites:

  • When you’re asked what you’re making, be honest.  Salaries are (regionally) pretty consistent from company to company for similar roles, and the person you’re talking to will assume you’re padding if you’re out of whack with what the market’s going to pay for your skill-set.
  • Bonuses are called bonuses for a reason – they’re bonuses (that means extra, nice to have, not expected, etc…).  It’s okay to mention them if you want to, but you shouldn’t expect another company to have the same program as your current employer – they may do stock options, or profit sharing, instead.  You live on your salary – the bonus, etc al, is gravy.  If your lifestyle includes living on your bonuses, I’m betting you have some nice credit-card debt to compliment that little bit of financial foolhardiness.
  • When you’re asked what you’re looking for, it’s okay to not give a number.  It makes my job harder, but I don’t hold it against you.  A good answer is: “I’d rather focus on seeing if the fit is as good as I think it is, for both of us.  I’m sure that if you make an offer, you’ll put your best foot forward.”
    • This is a neat trick, actually: you’re avoiding asking for too little and getting inadvertently low-balled, as well as asking for too much and being seen as “the expensive guy/girl”.  Also: you’re reinforcing the idead that what really motivates you is doing great work at a job you love, and those are the types of people that it’s a pleasure to hire.  Finally, the “best foot forward line” implies that you think they’re a swell bunch of people who wouldn’t dream of lowballing an offer…
  • Don’t be an asshole.  Just because you have a review coming up in a few months, or a bonus pay-out soon, is no reason to expect the company you’re interviewing with to meet that.  If you want that money, suck it up and stay at your current job – you’re getting the money because of the work you did for your current employer, not the potential one.

*If you got that reference, I think you kinda rock.  Enjoy some music