I’m in the last interview stages with a company and I’m not sure how I should best answer the below question:

“Can you offer some idea of base + bonus or other comp for the past 2-3 years, and also confirm your expectations for a new role?”

Why does what I made 2-3 years ago matter if this is for a new, higher-level role? Can I respectfully decline to answer that? Also, why do they always ask about bonuses? In my career we may get a bonus at the end of the year depending on the health of the business but it’s not significant — just a few hundred. 

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2 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    If you give a number, count the bonus as salary . Also it’s fair game to add into the total salary things like the monetary value of vacation days, retiremt matching, and insurance. Add in anything you can think of in order to get to the number you want to say to them.

    Then say, “My total package was worth….”

    If they ask what was in your package or something like that, just answer, “That was my package.”

    Here’s a post that is further advice on how to negotiate salary:


  2. Ellie
    Ellie says:

    May I offer that it is also helpful to adjust for inflation? 2 years ago, I went to graduate school. Inflation-adjusted my total package was $43,000/year instead of $41,000. Of course, use this at your discretion, but it may help give you an estimate of what you should be making.

    BTW- Thank you Penelope, this advice really helped me!

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