The interviewer is asking about your most lucrative position because they want to gauge if you are going to be happy with the amount of money earned in this role. Sometimes we will go backward in our career as far as compensation is concerned, and that is okay, but a considerable compensation gap will be a red flag to an interviewer. A decline in salary could be due to an economic crisis, layoffs, self-employment, or for geographical reasons. Talk to the interviewer about your most significant earnings and reinforce your current compensation ask.
"With Company ABC, I earned approximately $95K/year. Yes, I was earning a touch more than was is being offered for this role, but I chose to leave because the workweek was over 60 hours and I had no family life. The sacrifice simply wasn't worth the extra income."
"I earned a larger amount of money when I worked as a virtual assistant, but it was a freelance position, which typically pays higher. I did have to make my tax deductions and had the expense of working from home, and paying my office-related bills such as internet and long-distance calling."
"The most amount of money I have earned in my work history would be the position in which I currently work. I am not only driven by base salary; however. I am seeking a role with additional perks such as less overnight travel, better health benefits, and more vacation time. I am interested in entertaining more creative compensation packages."
"A few years ago, I left a lucrative marketing position, earning low six-figures, to join a start-up company. I was very passionate about the product that this new company was launching and agreed to take a smaller salary in exchange for shares. It worked out well and was worth the leap of faith and I gained some new skills in the process. It was worth taking a bit of a pay cut for."
"I do not earn as much now, in retail, as I did working as a server when I was in my first year of University. With that said, the tips were great but the hours were not conducive to my study schedule. I am fine with taking a smaller paycheck and having the energy to study and have a personal life at the same time."
"My current position offers a higher base salary; however, the overall commission structure is not as generous as your is. When I make a strong comparison, I can see that with some hard work, and a bit of time, the role you are offering will end up being more lucrative."