Career Clinic: Ask Miranda Vol 1

By Miranda Naiman ~ Founder at Empower on 14 Apr 2020#AskMiranda


I recently received a call from a company that I applied to and am finding it difficult to tell my current employer that I’ve got interviews to attend. How do I get time off to attend an interview?

A tricky scenario that needs to be handled with care – firstly, congrats on landing an interview. Assuming you have adequately prepared and done your research with regards to the role and organisation, I would suggest you confirm how long the interview will take and countercheck the location. Once you have this information to-hand you can request an interview slot during your lunchbreak, or before/after work. Some potential employers may be willing to interview you over the weekend in some cases.

If none of these options are feasible, I would suggest you apply for a leave day from your current employer, and utilise it fully to prepare and attend your interview without feeling under pressure.


I recently attended an interview and felt really interrogated. The interviewer kept trying to find out why I left my previous employer. To prevent this in the future, could you please advise me on how to go about such questions on why have you left your former workplace?

This is a frequent question that you will encounter in a first-round interview and a very legitimate one at that. A potential employer has the right to understand why you would want to leave your place of work as it gives them an insight into your core motivation and ability to problem-solve. Rule number 1, never talk negatively about your current employer (even if the situation is dire) – be honest without incriminating yourself.

Tell them that your growth path is limited, or that you would like to transfer your skillset to a different sector/industry. Talk about your interest in your potential employer (interviewer) and pick out two or three things that entice you about working with them (eg market share, training opportunities, or a senior leader who could become a potential mentor). In short, be prepared to be answer this question as it almost always comes up during an interview.


Could you provide tips on what to say when you are asked about your salary expectations during an interview?

From my experience in recruitment, a candidate can usually expect an increment of between 20-50% from their current salary. Anything beyond this will make you come across as ‘greedy’ or overly-ambitious. Share your current package (don’t forget to detail any perks/benefits that you are currently eligible for), most employers will use your current salary as a starting point. Create a personal budget, be clear on what you need to be comfortable in your budget and mark this up by say 20%. When asked why you expect an increment, explain that taking on a new role and adjusting to a new environment comes at a risk; also explain that you have personal financial goals that you would like to realise.

Something else to note is that candidates move jobs for a variety of reasons. I once met a candidate who took a job with one of our clients for less than they were previously earning simply because the new employer was closer to home, therefore allowing the candidate to spend less time in traffic. She was spending 4 hours per day commuting to and from work and felt her family life was suffering as a result. Think outside the box, and really ask yourself why you are contemplating a job-move in the first place.


By Miranda Naiman ~ Founder at Empower