What to Do When Asked About Your Previous Salary

Posted by in Career Advice

Score! You’ve landed an interview for the job of your dreams. You meet with the boss, and all goes favorably until you are asked the dreaded question, “Tell me about your salary history.” Or maybe you’re reading about an opportunity that you’d love to pursue, but the ad states that resumes without salary histories will not be considered.

Naming a low salary can cause a potential employer to write you off as not being worth what the company is willing to pay. Instead, it may get you the job, but at a lower price than they were going to offer. If your previous salary was higher than the company is willing to pay, you may not get a call back on the assumption that you would not be interested anyway. What to do?

One thing not to do is lie. If your previous salary is not what you are willing to accept now, don’t be tempted to simply beef it up a bit. It’s not worth the potential hassle that lying can cause.

You could try offering your salary requirement instead of your salary history. Tell the hiring manager what you are expecting to make instead of what you have made in the past. If that doesn’t work, you could attempt to convince the hiring manager that your previous salary has nothing to do with the present opportunity. This is true, of course, but may not go over well.

In the end, you may end up needing to give out the info or risk losing out on a job offer. In this type of situation, it’s good to have a plan, and to know your bottom line. If you know that your previous salary was higher or lower than what you expect from the new position, then say so. Let your salary history be a part of where you were, but don’t let it necessarily determine where you are going.


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  • Geralde M.
    Geralde M.

    Great article, thank you for sharing.

  • colleen c.
    colleen c.

    That was then but now I m expecting better pay! Thanks a lot!


    excellent thank you

  • sudha v.
    sudha v.

    Thanks fr ur advice
    Thanks fr ur advice

  • Carmen M.
    Carmen M.

    Thanks great idea and very helpful

  • carmen R.
    carmen R.


  • minni F.
    minni F.

    Thanks that were very helpful

  • Greg Severson
    Greg Severson

    Thanks helped a lot

  • MARK C.
    MARK C.

    Thanks much great idea

  • Susan B.
    Susan B.

    Thanks that's great advice!!!

  • gregory t.
    gregory t.

    Good things to know

  • Dennis H.
    Dennis H.

    Thanks for the info.

  • Guy Taylor
    Guy Taylor

    Thanks for the advice.

  • leopoldo p.
    leopoldo p.

    A very good suggestion

  • melanie dykstra
    melanie dykstra

    Thank you

  • Sunanda Natwa
    Sunanda Natwa

    Thanks for the advice.

  • Russell P.
    Russell P.

    Thanks for the advice

  • Ishaque A.
    Ishaque A.

    This is a very helpful piece of advice. Thank u so much more of such is required.

  • John C.
    John C.

    Thank you for verifying what I assumed... Awesome

  • Tamara S.
    Tamara S.

    I appreciate the advice. Thank you.

  • Carmen K.
    Carmen K.

    Thank you for the advice

  • marjorie lofton
    marjorie lofton

    thank you for this valuable information

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    LaShelle previous salary does not have to be a weakness. Do some research and find out the salary for the position you are seeking. Then, when asked the salary question, you can offer a range or you can give it back to them and ask for the range that they are considering. This way you will know whether you are in the ballpark for salary or not. I agree - I dislike it when they ask what my current salary is - especially if it's lower than I would like it to be - or feel that it should be. So don't let past salary history doom you to staying at that rate. Show your worth and ask for the salary that is applicable to the position and your experience.

  • LaShelle Townsend
    LaShelle Townsend

    Previous salary open to weakness

  • IRIS Q.
    IRIS Q.

    Of course, it is not important to know how much I made, instead, it is, how I did in the past and how good I will do it, so I will expect to make for my good performance. Thanks, it's a great advice

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