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What to Do When Asked About Your Previous Salary

Posted By: Staff Editor In: Job Seeker - Interview
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."

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.

What do you think?
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Posted by: GAIL NELSON-HOWELL On: 6/25/2014 4:12 PM
I only offer my salary requirement, not my salary history. I've noted that this question is widely used online, making it hard for you to get around answering it.
Posted by: Kathryn Kinsey On: 6/21/2014 9:17 PM
Good information to have for interviewing.
Posted by: Umar Black On: 6/12/2014 7:42 PM
Very helpful, something I wondered how to handle.
Posted by: Rosina Valvo On: 5/30/2014 6:27 PM
How do companies view age when considering salary? If you are 50 or over will this affect the salary?
Posted by: FREDERICK Horsley
Thanks I will take this in consideration.
Great info!
Posted by: Carmine Braccia
Great advice,lieing is never the way to go. Thank you, C.B.
Posted by: David Svedman
helpful considering that I haven't had to interview for a job but once in 30 yrs
Posted by: Patrick Robinson
I do not think it is ethical for a hiring company to bring up your past salary or even your  salary history.
Posted by: Sam Harris
I have to disagree with this article because sharing your salary isn't anyone's business. That is like asking for them to see your wallet and question a company's ethics when they do. The reason being is that I met with a job services specialist who talked about this subject in a interview skills workshop and I completely agree they won't ever ask you to your face but will ask you online. It's just a very unprofessional thing to do in all honesty.
Posted by: John Phillips
Very helpful
Very knowledgeable
Posted by: Kathleen Botten
Very helpful
Posted by: Adeil Khaleleyal
it  is  a good  advice  -  but  I think  it  is  better  to  give    the  salary  range ,  and  straight  forward  tell  the recruiter  that  yu  are  looking  for  a better  opportunity  and  much  better  salary -  and  yu  shd  state  clearly  what  salary  yu  are  looking  for, and  be  prepared  with  all  yr  supportive  docs which  show  that  yu  are  worth  much  more  than  what  yu  are  currently  being  paid .
Posted by: Sidney Lanier
This is a good analysis. It doesn't deny the complexities involved.
Posted by: Misganu Enkossa
It is good advice.
Posted by: Mark Heitman
Give them a salary range. Tell them you are worth much more than you are currently being paid. That answers the question as to why you are looking. Be prepared to back it up.
Not bad advice but then again the salary negotiation in this type of economy is to delicate to really be able to give solid advice on. It could just blow up in your face at the interview. I say stick with the program truth and value.
Posted by: Ken Donaldson
Do your homework. Know the range for the position to which you are applying. Provide a range to the employer that follows that job's pay scale.Be realisitic. Factors such as changing job fields, company size, location, etc. all factor in to wage scales.
Posted by: Kevin Hammond
This information is broad but informative.
Posted by: Abdalla Musa
Thanks for these valuable  information. I do the best to make use of it.
Posted by: Wanda Bones
I,am willing to work with a salary decrease knowing that i will have an opportunity to work towards my future.
Posted by: JAY JACOBI
This question helped me tally my history,training and valuable experience. It helped remind me that, I have made others very wealthy  
Posted by: Kevin Ross
This article was helpful and had some detail points that could be helpful
After my first interview in 30 years, the HR leader started the salary dance.  I recalled reading this article and the comment I left, so now what?There was no other choice but tell the truth and let'em know that I am not intimidated.  My previous salary was far higher and I told them the number.  I also said that if this position needed someone of my experience then my previous salary was a minimum; an increase was expected.  If the job did not require someone like me then I was happy to curtail the interview and go home, no hard feelings.  I went home.  But after 2 weeks, out of the blue, they emailed me an offer that was actually more than I wanted.  I want to retract the "...worthless.." comment since it was this little snippet that guided me where I needed to be.  I like my crow with mustard, please.
Posted by: Carol Eaton
Information is helpful for today's job search Thank you
worthless as a tool or advisor in salary negotiations.
Posted by: Jerry Bundt
Good info--I always provide an honest salary history and include what I am expecting based upon the job requirements.
Posted by: Wayne Joseph
Very helpful, thanks
Posted by: Danny Ramsey
I think your comments were on point. However, my salary for the opportunity being considered was considerably higher. However, I provided my  history which was accurate  and in the acceptgable range so I continued my current salary to be considered for the position in order to not be eliminated from consideration.Do you see a problem ?   
Posted by: Virginia G
Very helpful. When asked I usually state my salary is negogitable; most often though, the hiring manager asks again for my previous salary. I'm honest and advise what salary was.  Last interview after this discussion, was advised position was entry level, which was not included in the job discription.
Posted by: Angelo Cruz
Excellent advicethanks
Posted by: Charles Robinson
It seems that mentioning my current compensation is harming me during the interview.  I went from making 58,000 per year to serving tables because there was no growth at my current position that I had been at for 7 years.  One manager offered me a management position at only 9.25 per hour!  I have a Master of Business Adminstration plus several years of experience.  What can be done about this situation?
Posted by: waltrenna w
It was helpful
Posted by: THOMAS N
Almost at all the interviews I got, I have been asked my previous salary. I told them the truth but I added that 'Live is not just about money but also about the work achievement, being part of great team, the environment and culture"This article is really helpful
Posted by: Timothy  M
I have moved from an area that i've lived in for over 20 years and was able to work my way to earned a high salary. Just recently i've move to an area where the salary is at the average rate across the US and it is tough to take a large pay cut for the same job.
Posted by: TERESA A
I appreciate all this information, it was very helpful. By just moving to a new state, and having worked five years for the same company with raises, I really wasn't clear on what to say.  I now have a better understanding..thanks again.
Posted by: Denise B
If I really want the position, as it may be something I have little experience in, I simply tell the hiring party the salary is negotiable. My skills are not expert in this area but I have done it before. Maybe a compromise in salary with the understanding of a raise once I am an expert in that position. There are times where I am expert in a position and if they choose to give me entry level salary wanting expert skills I pass.
Posted by: Joseph S
Good answers. I know I often have the problem of having made much more than current salary offered.I simply explain what only my base salary was which is generally in range. I then explain that the large overage amounts were as a result of significant over plan production bonuses. I then give them my previous boss as a reference they can check.I then say I am happy with current base and ask what I would make if I came in over plan at the same percentages as in previous company. Usually this either gives them a big incentive to hire me or it can scare a hiring authority who is not secure of his own job to be frightened away. If that is the case this is most likely not the company that you want to work for anyway.I do agree however with the author of this article that higher or lower you should never lie about your salary. One of the key things every employers is hiring is integrity. Nothing kills that more quickly than a lie in an interview.Honesty is always the best policy.
Posted by: Kathleen S
Would like to see an article on what questions job seekers should ask potential employers.
Posted by: Catherine K
What if the job want me to take less than I made on my last job, for instance I made like 11.50 on previous job and I get a job paying 7.25 an hour.
Posted by: Mary Ann T
I prefer we discuss salary after you have reviewed my resume and believe this position would be a good fit for someone with my experience.  I am   certain we will be able to arrive at a salary that will be satisfactory to both of  us.              
Posted by: Mary F
very helpful
Posted by: Karen T
Good information, thank you.  Salary negotiations has always been a scary subject for me.
Posted by: Martha C
Appreciate the thoughts, this is always a tricky subject and this will help me be a little more confident with my answer
Posted by: Linda W
Hello Rosa Lee C you had really ,really great information, THANKS! Do you have an e-mail address where I can contact you for further info?? LindaW  
Posted by: LindaW
great info
Posted by: Arlene O
Thanks for this tip! My salary history is low, mainly because of my geographic location.  I'll get that into the conversation.
Posted by: JosephR
The info is useful  
Posted by: Roxanne H
This was very helpful. I have never been asked my previous salary history but have always provided it on my resume which I think is good but in some way bad. Feedback on this comment would be helpful if any.
Posted by: Carolyn H
I thought the article was helpful and agree that the truth is the best way.
Posted by: Ethel W
The information is useful and I will use some of the points going forward in my job search and interview opportunities.  One thing to keep in mind is that being evasive regarding a direct question during an interview may be a turn off or raise a red flag.  
Posted by: Crystal  T
Very good information, and very informative.
Posted by: Patricia M
Thank you, this is a very delicate subject.I appreciate your tip.
Posted by: Bhowani   Sandy S
This information is very helpful.
Posted by: Carol M
The article offered insight but lacked some crucial details. What if you price yourself out of an opportunity without even realizing until it is too late,  how do you rebound from that blunder, if you can at all. Otherwise, the article caught my attention especially in a tight market place. Take care..
Posted by: Cathleen H
This information is very helpful.
Posted by: THOMASINA T
I find the statement to be true, don't lie about your salary.
Posted by: Jason T
I would say that it makes sense to say what is expected from the opportunity in front of you and that the past was a different chapter that you are now ready to start a new chapter or even book.
Posted by: Shelli  s
This was both relevant and solid information. Thank you
Posted by: Francis M
thanks for your service. i want to learn more about how to handle salary history etc.
Posted by: SANCHI S
Posted by: Alan G
The answer to this age-old question varies with each scenario. Never lie about your salary - they'll confirm it with your former employer. Aside from that, lying is never the right option. If you lose them with the figure you quote, justify the salary by the responsibilities of the former position. Then, demonstrate how the future responsibilities warrant the same - if not more. In any event, you have to separate your 'wants' and 'must haves' and be prepared to walk away if you can't agree on a salary that actually works for you. Never sell yourself short either, as the right salary will come with the right position, which may be just around the corner.
Posted by: Jerry F
Just give up the info that they are asking for.
Posted by: Rosa Lee C
Here's what I do.  When asked how much I would like to make, or if asked what was my previous salary, I answer honestly and professionally.First, what I would LOVE to make is just that.  What I want!If asked what I made previously, I ask what are YOU offering the candidate for this position?  It works, and if you cannot get away from answering the question about previous employer, then answer" not enough, which is the reason that I am leaving.  No advancement, etc.I always get the salary I want, and if it is lower or higher, it really does not matter, since I am getting what I want.Once you are in with the salary that you want, guess what?Prove yourself, and you will get the salary you deserve.I had that happen to me once or twice.  I went in low, came out high!Just fyi.....always research the company,and also research what that particular field is paying.  Once you know that, compare YOUR experience with what they are looking for, and then decide.Any questions?  Blog me here and I will be happy to help you with anything I can.  I will even show you how to research for what you want:)I just landed a job that someone told me NOT to ask for $10.00 an hour!  Are you serious?  Hell, I asked for what I wanted, and told the interview it may not be what they are paying, but that is the salary that will keep me happy for now. the job and salary I wanted!!!!You have to have what they are looking for, for this to work.  Please keep that in mind as you go forward.
Posted by: Barbara H
I think this was a very good article because salary has been a big ostacle for me lately.
Posted by: Marketta W
This was very informative, because I have just relocated to a southern state where the cost of living is reflected in the salary base employees are being offered.  I believe I may have been looked over because of my asking amount for salary.  I didn't want to bid to low taking the risk they may have offered what I wanted or a happy medium.
Posted by: Terrence Williams
What happened to "set" wages, whereas the employer might state what you would earn should you be employed by him/her. Then the would-be employee should state his/her opinion then, a negotiation so to speak. Certificate(s) and/or degree(s) should earn some extra points (cents/dollars) of course. Personally, I never understood why would-be employers are concerned about what a would-be employee wages were previously at another gig anyway. What is that about?
Posted by: Jacqueline Patton
All said with good intentions, but I am finding that no matter what salary info is given, the company applying to has already set the amount to pay.  What is entailed with the job determines how much one should be payed along with skills and experience.  It's a no win unless you are just lucky.  Often applications are on line and cannot be submitted unless you list your salary request.  Don't even get to negotiate.
Posted by: Hans Hickel
Good valuable information.Thanks
Posted by: ann t
This is the type of education that most people who are seeking jobs need to know well don thanks.
Posted by: Charity L
I didn't feel this article answered the question of handling salary negotiations at all. It merely gave various scenarios of what might be asked.
Posted by: Judith B
Your information was informative.   I after 26 years ofemployment feel the salary is negotiable according to yourbackground of experience.   Considering  the existing economy and also your true values of yourself not onlyfor the employer and customers, but to grow the businessfor profitability, but to care for the service of customerretention and their needs.
Posted by: Dan R
Thanks to you all for some great advice on the question of pay. I have been unemployed for almost two months after 22 plus years on the job. I will keep everyone's comments into mind in my job search. Good luck to you all in your job search.
Posted by: Audrey B
    I have worked with the public all of my life,thirty seven years as a floor covering consultant. i want to get back working ,thought I could retire,not ready as yet.  oh, yes the sales job with R.V."s would be very interesting ,I own one,thank you,
Posted by: NIIT A
I like it when folks come together and share ideas.Great blog, continue the good work!
Posted by: Carol B
Good article addressing a common issue. The best take-away for me is your phrase: "what you are expecting to make". This changes the black and white into a negotiation without closing the door. Thanks!
Posted by: sammy h
I am always interested in reading any advice from your site and although they are always very helpful, I have often found that my most stressful question has never been answered and that is: "What do you say if asked why you got fired from your last job?"  I know I was fired for what I know was a false accusation and from all that took place before my dismissal, it was a set-up designed to remove me from my promotion by accusing me of 'sexual harassment' which did not happen. So what and how do I handle this question and situation in an interview not knowing what information had transpired between the two HRs? Thank you very much..........
Posted by: Jeanne L
People who have had to take pay cuts to find employment in this bad economy have been hurt by this practice.
Posted by: Jerry B
Very insightful and helpful.  Things you should think of, but you might not.  Honesty is the best policy, and people can sense a person squirming when they are stretching the truth.
Posted by: Tim S
Good advice But what if you had a 20% allowance for irregular hours ON TOP of your basic salary!
Posted by: walter m
In response to such a critical question, the intervieweeshould always try and be as truthful as possible but atthe same time should let the interviewer know that youwould not have wasted their time or yours if you were notinterested in the position. Make sure that the intervieweris aware that you are familiar with the salary range for the given job and that if your requirements are high then it can be negotiated to be the right fit for both parties.  
Posted by: Alec
I don't know exactly the purpose of this interview question.However, I've been asked about this on at least (2) previous interviews.  My gut feeling is "offer me the job" then we can discuss salary...  But, I don't say this out loud.  Whatever you do say here, be sincere, honest.  Have a "minimum" salary in mind that you'll work for, and don't go below that.   
Posted by: Kent G
Thanx for the helpful suggestions. You're right, this has been an awkward discussion point in interviews so far and probably was part of the reason I missed out on one opportunity when salary expectations were brought up.  Hard to believe, but I wasn't asking foe enough...
Posted by: Joyce H
What I have a hard time with is what pay will you  work at?  Then try & figure out what they will be willing to pay and not get a call since I was asking to much.
Posted by: Rita F
I was caught off guard with the question "what must you have" and gave too low a figure. I was hired, but even with the promised salary reviews (some of which did not ever happen); I've been stuck in a low paying position for 3 years. I thought they would share their budget for the position, but they did not.
Posted by: Shane B
Your article is titled:  "What to do when asked about previous salary history," but it doesn't answer the question.  Probably because the true answer would be:  there's nothing you can do. Short article.  I am almost to the point where I will respond to that question by saying:  "what difference does it make? How does my salary history help you decide if I am a good fit for your employment opening?  If you are concerned I made too much and would not be happy with what your position is offering, then offer it and find out.  If I made a lower salary than what you offer, so what?"Of course, they would probably be escorting me to the elevator by: "...does it make."
Posted by: Bob H
As an executive recruiter, I recommend always reporting what your current salary is. The fact is that money is a qualifier. Your salary reflects your value in the marketplace.If you are making more than they are willing to pay, you are likely overqualified and its not a good fit.On the other hand, if the company wants to hire you, they will try to keep you whole financially or meet your expectations. If not, they are looking for a bargain which is a lose-lose scenario. When a better job comes along for a higher salary, you should take it. It beats not working but not by much because you will feel taken advantage of.I never recommend that anyone take a cut in pay. Don't devalue yourself.Conversely, it is naive to think that you make 45K and they will pay you 60K. This market is not providing 20% increases because there is no way to match the competition for every position. Most people don't move for a higher salary. They usually have other motivations but do expect an increase of some sort.
Posted by: Sharon W
Just concluded an interview and salary questions is always part of the process, and I was honest as I always will be because it can backfireIt went well and thankfully I was offered comparable to what I make and gratefully accepted the position.
Posted by: Joan M
I like to remind candidates that salary information is protected by privacy laws.  Individuals have to sign an authorization for release of salary information so companies can verify salary for loan applications.  Employers have no right to ask you your salary history, and you have no obligation to provide it.  I think the suggestions about asking the employer what the salary range is for a position is appropriate.  You can also tell them what your salary requirement or salary expectations are.  And don't be bullied into providing the information if they tell you that your salary history will be verified on a background check.  You have to authorize that verification, and you don't have to if you don't want to.  Basing salary offers on past salary history perpetuates the inequities in compensation, and no company worth its salt should be using this archaic practice.  If you don't know what's a reasonable expectation, make some inquiries on the internet and you'll find salary comparators that can help you.  I won't ask an applicant their salary history, although many will provide it, and that's a choice you can make.  Just remember that it's your choice and an employer cannot demand the information.
Posted by: Sean M
Why not just answer with, "A salary can be negotiated" or "it is negotiable;" which will throw it back on them, and they will have to answer with some kind of baseline.  If the baseline is good enough, take it, but if it isn't, move on.
Posted by: Judy R
What worked for me was honesty. $$ is what I made at my last job and I would like to get at least that again. But I also understand that in this economy that is probably not realistic.It took 16 months (and two temp jobs) but I got a great job with comparable pay and better benefits than my last job. I was starting to wonder if a great job now is about as rare as a unicorn. But I was very glad to discover that it is not true.
Posted by: Mark M
Hopefully as a candidate you could have vetted out what the company's salary/salary range structure before the interview.  A salary range leaves you more room since it can include salary + bonus as your compensation. It's  a good idea to be truthful.
Posted by: David B
I was on an in-person interview when the salary question came up. I asked if there was a range associated with the opportunity and the interviewer said there was and mentioned the range. Without telling them anything about my salary history, I said that the range they mentioned was what I was expecting and it was acceptable to me. I then added that there should be no need, then, to discuss salary because it wasn't a deal breaker. They seemed to like that response and salary was not discussed for the rest of the interview.
Posted by: James d
Good advice I always find it is better to be honest and tell the truth about what you made at your last job and then you can say to them that you felt you should have been making more and then let them know what you would like to make working with them but you are always open to negotiation.
Posted by: Laura N
If you ever give them a number before they mentioned a number to you, you can expect at that point to be rejected, whether your number is high or low.  Recommendation: just don't do it!  Get a number from them first.  If they refuse to give you one, then just say you're open to a reasonable, fair rate.  Some say "your best offer".
Posted by: Matthew O
I've said one of two things:1. My previous salary was (commensurate/@ market and $X), and I'd like to make ($X+15-20% more) for the next project (give a range); or2. My career best to date was (Career best to date) and I'd like to stay in that range.  (Optional: my last project was (below market), but my career best was (career best $) and I'd like to stay in that range.Best to tell the truth, because it has to be believable.  Most folks don't balk at some nice steps up in salary from where you were, assuming you're going for a "stretch job" compared to where you were.  Which presumably you're deemed close enough to matching if they're interviewing you in the first place.
Posted by: Denise G
When they ask you what do you expect in salary do you come back with the reply "what range do you have in mind for this position?"
Posted by: Rose F
The other unfortunate point regarding the question of salary is that electronic/online applications almost always ask for your prior salary information.  I tried to skip that question and the online application wouldn't let me move on to the next page until I did answer it.  Also the online applications are now giving you the option to select a range for your prior salary (example:  $50,000 to $60,000 or $70,000 to $80,000, etc), and again, unless you answer that question, you cannot move on to the next question or the next page or even to submit the online application at all.  So, unfortunately, you can be "weeded" our before you are even considered for a phone interview based on what you indicate as your prior salary.
Posted by: Paul P
My plan, if asked that question, is to ask them to provide me the salary history of all the previous people who held the job before me.  Fair is fair right?
Posted by: William G.
I appreciate the posts from everyone.  I was recently asked for past salary details during a phone interview for a job that gave a salary range in it's description. The description mentioned $60k in one city and $70k - $80k in another city.  My honest reply was that my pass base salary was 45k. I was called a day later and was told that the updated salary being offered was $40k - $50k. I should have stated that I was comfortable with the range $60k - $80k, and if pressed mentioned the company's 401k, tuition reimbursement and relocation expenses that I received from my last job. At this point I will take the job if offered.  If not offered I will be starting another job later in August paying $22k.  This salary is so insulting to me but at least my foot will be in the door. A word to the wise; do not rely on unemployment, it can end abruptly at any time. I hope that things get better for us all!
Posted by: A.A.
when asked for my previous salary I usually say " what is in the budget for the role" . Very often the HR/ recruiter gives me the range. then if I'm ok with it (and I'm usully very much ok since I was badly underpaid) I say "the range is working fine for me" and usually this is where it ends.  I do remember being pressed for the exact number a couple of times. When I was revealing the number they were in shock (it was very low). So, I  learned to not reveal my previous salary,  I always try to direct the convo into "my expected salaty range". Seems to be working fine.  Have been looking for a job for 13 months now. (laid off in june last year)
Posted by: Kris
I totally agree with Jim's comment on June 12!  Cheap is an understatement.  I have gotten quite a few calls for interviews.  They all tell me that I am just what they are looking for and my qualifications are impressive.  I go in for interview after interview and eventually the conversation turns to salary.  20 years of experience in my field, they are soooo impressed with my qualifications, and I'm just what they need.....for $9.55 to $10.00 an hour!!!  Less than 1/2 of what I was making.  AND they expect you to work 3rd shift, weekends and holidays for that rate!!!  It takes all of my reserve to not slap them in the face and tell them they are just insulting me.  I believe they know better but are hoping to land some desperate (but extremely qualified) person for a dime.  By the time they take off taxes and medical, I would take home $6.00 an hour.  These companies are truly taking advantage of a bad situation.  I would really like to answer those salary offers with, "Oh.  And how much is your CEO taking home by paying slave wages?"
Posted by: Hendrik Goss
In any case it is never good to sell oneself below cost. I have the situation a few weeks ago that I was invited for an interview for I job I was absolutely qualified for and then popped up the salary question and I aimed low because I didn't want to spoil my chances of getting the job and I didn't get it anyway because I was not able to sell myself. I learned from the mistake and will not do that again
Looking for employment for five months now, the longest in my thirty-five years working, I have found this market to be the most difficult. The few employers I have either met or spoken with have been quite demanding regarding salary requirements. The general view has been to get the biggest bang for the buck - and they will be successful given the climate that seems to persist and will probably be this way for the future. I have also read that the bigger companies now have an unwritten policy to avoid hiring anyone on unemployment. Since there is little market competition going on, they have realized that the next level of competition is to recruit from competitive companies only. Until all the political parties address the issue of Corporate America - and they won't, since it is their self-serving meal ticket - we have a long road ahead. I sympathize more for all the younger people with huge educational loans that will be a burden on their ability to achieve financial independence.
Posted by: joe
This is brutal, as an engineer with a long history in management, one of the deal breakers these days is the salary. I also try to get the job definition & responsibilities up front, as it is usually not the "exact" same skill set. So, you can ask the range & determine if the overall responsibilities, travel, expectations are within your comfort zone. Tough times indeed.
Posted by: William Ketel
For one interview, I told them what I was paid at the previous job, and the interviewer gasped. I then told them that If I seemed like a good choice, that they should make me an offer, and that I promised to not get mad and leave. I also said that I may or not accept it. In another interview, when they asked what salary I required, I told them "Better than a UAW assembly line worker". They said that they had never had that response before, but it must have been OK, since I did get the job at a salary that I was happy with. Currently, if I am pressed, I tell them that my previous salary was competitive.
Posted by: Annamarie
What I've found after looking for a job for almost a year is when your truthful, you never get a call back.  I have lowered my salary requirements.  I'm glad the article said not to lie because that is what I was going to do.  I'm afraid to tell the truth at this point because I've had bad experiences, like not even getting the job interview.  I've had HR people ask me in the first sentence how much I made, it's really a hard subject matter to get around...thanks for the advice...
Posted by: Rhodes
When asked about previous salary or your expectations, I would suggest that you humbly answer that question with a question; “what is the salary range for this position?”  This puts the onus on the interviewer to provide the range for the position and you can then answer with ‘my salary is within the range’ or ‘that I am ok with that range’ and will not have divulged your previous history.  If the interviewer insists on a number, I would suggest that you provide an average of you last 3 years salaries or hour rate.  When making the reply make sure that you use the term “average” if you give the average salary or hourly rate as an answer, i.e. my average salary for the past 3 years or assignment is XYZ/ABC.
Posted by: Ronald
 When I answered one advertisement for a job for which I was more than adequately qualified, I received a call back asking what my salary was. I asked the HR if salary was their main concern, why they did not state the salary in their ad and save themselves time.  She had no answer that made sense.
Posted by: Davood
Very good interview tip.Be honest to yourself and the employer.Tell them how much you expect your salary must be against you will put on the table regarding your skills and ability.Put a short term condition saying that I expect to get at least xx but after the elapse of the agreed short period I expect to get xx+yy.
Posted by: kathy
-- It is touchy, especially if you have been taking courses or updating skills in any way!  Being prepared is the way to handle the situation, with two simple sentences.  "The total compensation I received in my last job included 4 training days, a national conference, a 401k contribution and salary.  I would estimate my total compensation at xx.  Since then I have independently improved my skills and created this portfolio for you to see - which aside from my experience adds addition value to what I can do for xyz company.
Posted by: Antonette
Two weeks after I was laid off last year, I started looking for a new job and on my telephone interview, I was asked what was my ending salary and I was totally honest., he responded, that's not a problem since it's within our budget.  Then,on my second interview, he asked me, If I offer you this job at a lower salary, would you accept, just answer yes or no., Well, I asked how much lower and he didn't say and he did not want to hear any of my justification so, I said NO! Thank you so much for your advice.  I do appreciate them.
Posted by: Bob Dethlefs
I was told by an employment specialist that you should never give your past salary or requirements.   Simply say in an interview that you would like to know what you are worth to their company and have them give you a salary - you can negotiate from there.  If pressed, follow the advice above.I was also told to put "will discuss in interview" or something similar on applications under salary requirements.I did that on one application and the HR person from that company called about it.  When I hesitated on providing the information they said they would get my salary from my current HR group.  I later found out that that is illegal.
Posted by: Erica Levey
I am wondering if and why prospective employers have the right to know personal information of this nature. Do they really? Since they have their salary range pre-budgeted, this question seems to me to constitute their means of quickly gaging whether you fit into their range. I don't let that intimidate me. The advice is good to state what one's current expectation is and to suggest that one's past is not relevant to the current opportunity!!
Posted by: Lisa
On telephone interviews I have been asked that question before and it worked to my advantage.  They offered me more so that I would take the job!However, I also have been asked what would be the expected salary that I'd want to be paid and also what would the least acceptable amount be?  I have turned down interviews after finding out that the job was going to pay less than what I was comfortable with.  It seems that they want you to do so much but for so little.  Because of my experience I know what I am worth and what my needs are, and I don't think I should have to lower my standards.  On the other hand, it's hard to find a job these days!  I'm afraid that if I take a job that would pay less, that I won't feel good about myself and that I have just "settled" for anything that came along.  The longer I am out of work the more frustrated I become.  I don't want to miss an opportunity because I was honest.  I guess the best thing to do is wait to be offered the job and then talk about wage.  Then assess the amount of responsibility of the job with the wage they are willing to pay.
Posted by: Jim
All the CHEAP bastards that I have met in the last 14 months, of my unemployment, want a real "bargain" employee! These morons know that times are rough so they are cutting salaries in half. There are some companies in Los Angeles that, if I had taken the job, it would have cost me money to show up. My commute, car maintenance, and drive time would have eaten up any "income" the job provided.
Posted by: Arnold
By giving up any information as to salary requirements, income goals, or history you have now taken the focus away from your qualifications and introduced money as a determining factor. It is best always to explain the pitfalls of discussing salary from both ends (as hitting their number is a real crap shoot) and tell them that you want to be considered because of what you bring to the table and your ability to solve their needs employment. Whether they offer you the position or not, it shouldn’t be tainted by money.  By eliminating the salary factor you now have the opportunity to WOW them. If you do impress them well, there are stern possibilities you may have earned an offer in the higher end of their pay range.  The two pitfalls avoided when not alluding to salary requirements are: if you say too low in these challenging economic times they may take the opportunity to save on payroll; if too high, you may have priced yourself out of the opportunity.  In sales the cardinal rule is never discuss money until you’ve had the opportunity to justify value. Interviews are sales opportunities. How well you portray your value should be what determines the size of the compensation package. Your needs and wants should never be discussed, including compensation, until and if you are offered the job. If not, then your needs and wants are mute points.   
Posted by: Patricia Miceli
Very good suggestions for handling this sensitive salary topic. I recently had this question asked in part of a telephone interview and I was honest. He said honestly that they were looking to pay in a lower range and I said that's fine because based on the job description it appears I wouldn't be doing exactly the same job. This allowed the recruiter to continue the interview process and set me up with an interview. You will prove your worth on the job and hopefully be recognized for it.
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