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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  • 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

  • Thomas  S.
    Thomas S.

    Great advice

  • John C. O.
    John C. O.

    Logically understanding!

  • Joel C.
    Joel C.

    I think that works.

  • Tremaine  H.
    Tremaine H.

    Helpful thanks.

  • Janis S.
    Janis S.

    This is very helpful. Thank you.

  • svitlana t.
    svitlana t.

    thanks helpful... and comments are good, Nancy thnks

  • Nicole F.
    Nicole F.

    Thanks for the advice


    This was not only informative. It was helpful, and an over all insight of what one can to and expect , which allow one to Armor themselves with the proper tools. Thank you.

  • Awori Stellah S.
    Awori Stellah S.


  • Suzette S.
    Suzette S.

    Good advice

  • Martha J H.
    Martha J H.

    Thank You for advice reading

  • Wanda Williams
    Wanda Williams

    Very informative

  • Gayle B.
    Gayle B.

    Good to know.


    I think you gave sound advice on what to do when asked about previous salary .

  • Rita M.
    Rita M.

    Thanks. Makes perfect sense.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Anthony thanks for your comment. So true - regardless of what healthcare system we are using, nurses will always be needed. And it's true - there's more to life than money. Negotiating for better working hours or more vacation time, etc. can really make a world of difference. Good luck with your search.


    Fortunately, as the demand is going to continue to go up in the nursing field because so many are either retiring, switching careers or moving to management and administrator jobs. Many nurses are unionized and maybe that is why salaries are being held up. Is your market working freely for you, are you specialized, are you seeking skill improvement, etc. Many organizations will pay higher salaries for these type of people because of demand. Way I see it Nurses are needed everywhere as I'm searching myself. Sell yourself and negotiate other meaningful, valued benefits as well if possible. Non monetary benefits can sometimes be just as valuable.

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