I am planning to leave my current job and therefore I have interviewed with a company a couple of days back. At the end of the day of my interview, during a discussion with the HR of the company, I unexpectedly answered her question about my current salary. I gave honestly correct figure of my salary to the HR. It looks like I might get an offer letter soon from that company. But now I am feeling bad that I might have missed a chance to negotiate a good salary. What should I do if I won't get a satisfactory offer letter? How to deal with this? Please tell me.
No, you did the right thing.
If you are asked your current salary, and you feel that you must answer, the right thing to do is to answer honestly. Make sure to include any bonus received. If you are expecting a raise soon, and/or a bonus soon, you want to mention that as well.
What you don't want to do is lie about it. There's a chance you might get away with a lie, but there's also a good chance that you will be caught (eventually if not immediately). And lies during the interview can be cause for immediate termination (at least in my part of the world).
This doesn't compromise your ability to negotiate! Sure, they know what you make now, but you can always make a case for why you were underpaid and deserve lots more, should it come down to that.
Once you receive an offer, or once you are asked what salary you are seeking, that's when the real negotiations can begin. Fight for what you feel you need and be ready to decline if your needs aren't met. And of course be realistic when you contemplate what you really need in salary. Don't forget to consider the entire package - the salary, benefits, etc, but also the company culture, the commute, the chance for advancement, the opportunity to learn, etc.
Don't sweat it - what you did was fine! Good luck!
You never owe details that you hold personally. I would typically suggest evading the question, and saying what salary you will work for. Someone has to start with a quote for the salary, and it's not unusual for the candidate to be the first to offer information.
Having given your current salary - I really don't think it's the drop dead serious issue that other people often do. The really important number is what you're willing to work for. Neither you, nor your potential employer should assume that that is the same figure as your current salary - it's not the same job.
Don't stress out. Wait for the offer and review the whole offer. Health care, education benefits, your commute - anything you care about and anything the company offers that might help you. Figure out overall whether this improves your life, or not. If not - ask for more. And ask for it in light of that total package.
Different companies will use "current salary" differently. At the very least, it's a ballpark telling them approximately what salary you'll work for. Presumably someone who can bill for $100,000 isn't going to take a job for $50,000, and would likely be happy with a job at $110,000. Would you have done better if with a current salary of $100,000 you quoted $110,000 or said "I won't tell you". Maybe. Maybe not. There's a lot of ways to interpret it - go too high, and they may say "not worth it".
But all things are open for negotiation. Your current job and this job are not the same, and where they differ you will either:
Have to pay money from your salary to fix the difference in total compensation - in other words - covering elements of health care that aren't covered, paying more in gas and mileage for a longer commute, paying for educational expenses that aren't covered to stay current in your field
Have to demand more money to make up for a disincentive that affects your work/life balance. More overtime = less family time - reasonable if the pay makes up for it. Weird hours = family disruption - doable, but what compensates you when you could also take a job with normal hours?
Either way, you have reasons to go back and ask for more.
But, given that you've already revelealed the salary you can't go back and change the past. Use this as your learning experience to not do this again in the future.
There are two reasons why you don't want to name the last salary:
1) You may be breaching confidential company information by disclosing it. That information is between you and your previous employer. It can be used to gain a competative advantage over them by other companies. You can always (and perhaps should always) say that you can't disclose it.
2) In all negotiations the first person who gives information tends to be in a worse off position in subsequent offer exchanges. Imagine that instead of being asked how much you make now, you asked them how much the salary fork is for - would that make it easier for you to estimate how much more you can/should ask for? It sure would.