My job is being phased out (company going down in flames). The problem is that I was hired for strategic reasons (retaining old customer base, esoteric knowledge...) and realistically my pay was overly high. The industry I'm in is changing and I don't see a future for my job specialty (medical software/help desk/IT hardware/software support) and want to apply for a much lower position (straight computer technician). How do I handle the inevitable question of "You used to be paid almost twice what we're offering - isn't this job something you're overqualified for/likely to be unhappy with/likely to be feeling underpaid..."?

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    why would you tell your interviewer what you are currently making?
    – Numeron
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 4:23
  • @Numeron they usually do ask either how much they expect to make or how make you made at your last job to calibrate your expectations .
    – Leon
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 6:24
  • You don't see a future for a specialty in medical software? Come to my world, this is fairly sought after around here, at least if you are willing to work your way into some new technology.
    – skymningen
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 6:28
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    @Leon So, you can tell them what your salary expectations are with no problem... You can easily dodge the question of how much you currently make, by simply saying what your want to make - and IMO absolutely should because it hamstrings your negotiation regardless of your desired target.
    – Numeron
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 6:36
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    Do. Not. Disclose. Your. Current. Salary. You have nothing to gain from it. If the company insists, my go-to line is "My current employer considers that information confidential".
    – Kaz
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


First of, I find it very good to think of the future and go for a change of career when you still have the luxury of choice and its not a matter of utmost importance to support yourself financially in a dire way. That being said I would still consider if my current line of work is welcome in another firm before I did something radical, unless you really dont enjoy it either in which case; move on.

About the pay issue, its perfectly normal to say you didn't enjoy your last job or want a new "challenge" as the reason you re changing and as such you recognize you may have been fairly specialized in your last line of work(and equally well compensated- do NOT mention you think your pay was overly high even for that) but seeing you consciously looking for a change(which will come with a learning period and all) and that you will accept a pay cut in the process of switching careers and having to start lower.I wouldn't insinuate necessity as the reason for this change as it may play against you during such a negotiation.

  • 1
    good point saying "do NOT mention you think your pay was overly high"
    – le_daim
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 7:54

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