Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?

  | James Innes

Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?

Alternative and related questions:

Have you ever been refused a pay rise?

The meaning behind the question:

If the interviewer manages to extract a 'Yes' from you then you'd better have a good explanation because, otherwise, they'll seize the opportunity to pigeonhole you as someone who might over-estimate their worth and who could therefore be problematic.

Your answer:

If you've never been refused a pay rise then this is a very straightforward question but, if you have, then the trickiest aspect of this question is probably deciding whether to tell the truth or not!  Far from me to encourage you to lie but, unless you can make a good case which makes your actions appear entirely reasonable, then it may be best just to play it safe and say this has never happened to you, assuming of course that there's no way the interviewer could reasonably discover the truth!

'No' remains, in most cases, the best answer to this question.  However, I'm going to assume you're an eminently honest person and that you do indeed have a reasonable justification for this having happened to you and I'll give you an example answer accordingly.


Yes, I have.  In asking for a pay rise, I outlined the progress I had made since I started the role, demonstrating to the HR manager the value I added to the organisation which, in my opinion, warranted a higher level of remuneration.  I gave precise examples to back up and support my claims and I felt I had demonstrated what I was really worth.  However, the management decided to decline my request, citing financial problems in the company, and, given that I had already been offered another job at that salary level and with good potential for further professional development, I decided it was necessary for me to move on.  Sometimes you just have to move on in order to move upwards.  I would have been quite happy to stay but, with children to support, I had to take the decision to leave.  Having accepted the other offer, my employers did then make a counter-offer but, having committed to the new opportunity, I felt that I had to honour that commitment.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

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