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Your First Interview

When you’re interviewing for a job, a company may want to meet with you from two times to ten times before they make their final decision. The entire process is time consuming. But, through all of these interviews, it could be argued that one of the most important conversations happens in the very first interview.

At the time, the first interview may not seem too significant. It’s typically conducted by a recruiter who works for the company. The conversation may feel like a checklist. The recruiter will ask straight forward questions, such as why you’re interested in the job and when you’re available to start working.

Then, the recruiter may ask you how much money you currently make, or how much money you’d like to make. The question can sound reasonable. Unfortunately, answering this question may hurt you.

For salaried roles, companies typically have broad salary ranges. This allows the company to pay more or less based on factors such as experience. It also allows the company to pay less if they know the candidate currently makes less. In other words, if your current salary is low and you share it, the company is not incentivized to pay competitively. This can happen even if your market rate is higher.

At the other extreme, if you are highly paid today, you may eliminate yourself from the consideration set before the company gets to know you. In some cases, a company cannot increase the pay beyond their existing budget. But, in others they can. The only way to find out is to make it all the way through the process.

Rather than disclose your current pay, ask the recruiter if they are willing to share the pay range for the role. In most cases, this request is no problem. When it happens, you can simply share that you are (or are not) in the same general ballpark.

In the meantime, research what the company pays on your own. Look on websites such as, where you can look up pay by title and company. Glassdoor shares base pay and bonus pay information for the positions it reports on.

If you approach salary negotiation this way, you reduce the chances that you’ll be underpaid in the future.

Most companies are also beginning to realize that this technique of asking for salary is not entirely fair. Over the past ten years, the laws around salary disclosure have evolved. These changes, such as requiring the company to disclose the salary in certain states, are in place to help make the workplace fair.

There is one exception to this advice. If you find yourself working with an external placement firm, this approach likely won’t work. Unfortunately, they very often have a rule that you must disclose your salary before you meet the company.

Do your homework. Find out your worth. Practice your answers to salary questions, so you’ll be ready for your first interview.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


Let’s Talk Money

One of the hot topics in the news right now is pay. It’s about time, right? There are many people who have been making the same pay for years. Employers believe we’re lucky to have a job at all. We’re told we should be happy to receive two percent each year. The good news is, times are changing – for now.

The Great Resignation has caused chaos in companies as employees have started to put in their notice in large numbers. The buzz around this topic has caused a number of employees to reach out to me with questions. What should they do? How should they make the case to their current employer to pay them the rates they see in the market?

There’s no easy answer to this question. First, how you deal with negotiations of any kind at work depends on your risk profile. If you have family members who depend on you financially, such as children, you may have to be more careful about your risk taking. And, let’s face it, chances are high that you need to keep your current job until you find a new one.

You can make a case to your existing employer. A good time to have salary conversations are during your annual performance review. This is a time when you discuss the progress you have made over the last year. You’re able to showcase your work, and discuss your future career path with the company.

If you do make a case, plan your approach carefully. Rarely will demanding more pay result in anything positive. This is the case even when you’re right. Think of it this way. Your boss is like your customer. The services you provide are similar to being a consultant. When you started working for your boss, you offered your consulting services for a certain rate. To suddenly expect to offer the same services for a much higher rate may feel negative to your boss, no matter what the going rate is on the market.

The small raises that companies offer leave employees with few choices. If you see other companies paying much more than you make today, your best bet is to start looking at those companies. Companies reward new employees in order to lure them to their organizations. This is traditionally where the higher salaries are.

If you have a hunch that you’re under paid, do your homework. There are websites that share salary data – and more companies are including salaries on job postings. You can look by company and role. When you’re researching, don’t be lured into thinking that cheaper parts of the country will always pay less. Salaries vary considerably by company. You may find a job in a cheaper area that actually pays more than you make today.

Best of luck on your salary journey, and start soon. The market will not remain in the job seeker favor forever.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


How much do you make?

One of the hardest parts of the job interview process comes in the form of a very simple question: “How much do you make?” The question typically comes up in the first screening call with the human resources recruiter. It is also asked on the online job application.

The problem is, answering the question “how much do you make” or “how much do you want to make” can put you at a disadvantage as a job seeker. Sites like Glassdoor have shown us that there are a huge range of salaries offered for roles. Salaries aren’t standardized across industries or even within companies.

If you answer this question off by almost any amount at all, you can be (and often are) eliminated from consideration. In other words, the company has a pay range in mind. If you don’t correctly guess a number in that range, you’re out. If you’re too low, they may consider you to be underqualified, and too high, they’ll assume you’d say no to an offer. If you’re inside of the range, but on the low end, you will be paid on the low end in the future.

If you ask a recruiter why they need to know this information, they’ll tell you they just want to learn if you’re in their budget. But, we aren’t products to be bought and sold. We’re humans. The company knows the value of the role. They ought to share their number, and allow the job seeker to determine if it’s a fit.

The good news is, the laws around salary are evolving. In a number of states and cities, companies can no longer ask for salary history. In California, if you’re in a job interview and you ask for the pay range, the employer must share it with you.

Beginning in October, Maryland is going to join this trend. The legislature has passed HB123 that keeps employers from asking for your pay history – verbally, in writing, or by any other means. In addition, if the job applicant requests the pay range for the job, the employer must provide it.

This is a huge step in the right direction. Long term however, what I’d like to see is the pay range posted for every job. It shouldn’t be a secret game that you need to know the rules of. Plus, as a job applicant, asking for this information can leave a negative taste in the company’s mouth.

On top of that, I’ve found many companies aren’t aware of the rules. Even in states where the laws are very clear, the company will ask these questions. That puts the job seeker in a very awkward position.

If you’re currently looking for a job, research the rules in your area. No matter what they are, check out the salary data for the company on Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn. This will help you to be prepared for anything.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


How Much Do You Make?

Have you ever been asked, “How much do you make?” in a job interview? This question usually shows up during the first phone call.

You’ve applied online. The HR manager calls you. The conversation seems normal at first. They ask, “Why did you apply for this job?” and “Tell me about yourself.” The all of the sudden, bam! “How much do you make?” Or, they may try, “How much have you made in the past?”

These questions are tough, and they have more of an influence on your future than you may think. Whether you’re currently underpaid or overpaid, answering this question wrong can completely eliminate you from consideration. And, answering too low can also put you at a disadvantage.

A number of states and cities have started to reduce or eliminate this question altogether. In 2017, Delaware and New York City banned employers from asking about salary history. In January 2018, California banned questions around a candidate’s pay history. In July 2018, Massachusetts will join suit. In 2019, Oregon will ban employers from asking. New Orleans and Pittsburgh are also implementing this rule on city agencies.

It may not be clear right away what’s wrong with this question. Many companies think of it as finding out if the person fits into their budget.

But, the problem is this. If someone has ever been underpaid for any reason, including discrimination or just an unfortunate circumstance, that person will likely always be underpaid going forward. Asking the question, “How much do you make?” ensures that your future salary is based on your current salary.

But, what if you’re switching between industries and one pays much higher salaries? What if you’re switching between a higher education job and a corporate job? What if you’re moving from an inexpensive city in the middle of the country, to a pricey city on the coast?

Once you’re behind in salary negotiations, you will likely always be behind. Unless you’re protected by a rule that bans the question completely. Banning it puts the responsibility back onto the company to decide what a particular role is worth to them. It forces the company to pay employees more fairly, based on the work they produce – rather than their negotiation abilities.

If you find yourself being asked this question, do your homework. Before you’re asked how much you make, know the response you want to give. The less you need the job, the riskier you can be with your answer. I often advise job seekers to ask the company if they would feel comfortable to share their pay range with you. This allows the company to share their salary instead. Alternatively, you can offer your target range. But, base this range on data. Scour websites like for as much salary information as you can find about your job.

Pushing back on this question helps guarantee that everyone will be paid more fairly going forward.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

171 | 2018 HR Trends | Paul Wolfe, SVP of Human Resources at, Austin, TX

Episode 171 is live! This week, we talk with Paul Wolfe in Austin, TX.

Paul is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at the world’s largest job website,

I interviewed Paul last year about hiring trends and am so excited to be back together to talk about 2018 trends.

On today’s episode, Paul shares:

  • The pros and cons of an unlimited vacation policy
  • The latest update on the interview question “how much do you make?”
  • Why “radical transparency” is important in your job search and what you can find on Indeed, such as salary data and company reviews
  • Why equality in the workplace is such an important issue and what we can all do to contribute
  • New benefit trends for 2018
  • How to identify a great company that treats their employees well
  • What you should do if you’re interested to work at Indeed

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Paul’s work, visit Indeed at You can also follow Paul on Twitter at @PWolfe67.

Thanks to everyone for listening! Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

How to use the Glassdoor “Know Your Worth Tool”

I hope you’re having a great week! I’m writing with an update. My recent tutorial about how to use LinkedIn’s new referral feature was well received. If you missed the LinkedIn referral tutorial, you can find it on YouTube here.

Because it went over so well, I wanted to share another tutorial for you. In this tutorial, I’m going to share with you — how to use the Glassdoor “Know Your Worth Tool.”

The Know Your Worth Tool helps you to estimate your current market value — where you live, for your job, and for the amount of experience you have. It helps you to know if you’re being paid fairly, and if not, what alternatives might exist for you in your area.

I hope you enjoy this how to use the Glassdoor “Know Your Worth Tool” tutorial!