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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  • Linda F.
    Linda F.

    I think this is very good advice.

  • Kimberly D.
    Kimberly D.

    Great Advice! Thanks!

  • vinson s.
    vinson s.

    thank you

  • JANE K.
    JANE K.

    Beyond.com
    What to Do When Asked About Your Previous Salary
    Posted by Staff Editor in Career Advice • Apr 29, 2010

    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
    JANE K. • Delete • Today
    It has proven to be true-responding with: "I hear you saying my qualifications match the needs of your organization, which would be our goal to help this organization succeed by utilizing your vision and my skills set to enhance the customer/client/consumer rapport and reach the maximum profit, all while making the customer happy." The Salary can be flexible as long as it's comprable to the service expected." Future Employer: " What would this salary look like to you, for your services ...that is?" INTERVIEWEE: "I am considering 70K, however the work environment, benefits, and growth are important to me. I like what I do and I am confident we can be a good fit. Thank you for your time". Follow up with Employer via email:
    "Mr. X, it was a pleasure meeting you. Thank you for meeting with me and explaining the opportunity and your organization to me. I understand you are interviewing candidates, however given the opportunity it would be a pleasure to work with you. Looking forward to speaking with you again.
    Thank you. Jane Doe, M.Ed. Prof. Clinical Counseling"

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Mitchell B thanks for your comment. NEVER accept a job without knowing the salary range. If you accept it and the salary is too low, you are going to be miserable and won't stay in the position for long. It's best to have all of your ducks in a row. You should know, prior to the interview, what the salary range is for the position. Do your research ahead of time so that you can avoid any embarrassing moments when you get to the salary question.

  • mitchell b.
    mitchell b.

    First get the job then onced confirmed then negociate salary

  • Marion C.
    Marion C.

    Thank ypu!!!

  • Soichy H.
    Soichy H.

    Thanks for the advice!!

  • Sam DeLeon
    Sam DeLeon

    Thanks

  • Maria S.
    Maria S.

    Thanks for the exellent advice .

  • Barbara Roberts
    Barbara Roberts

    this is something i have always wondered about how to gat to this point and what to do , So thanks

  • Sylvia N.
    Sylvia N.

    Thank you I really do appreciate this advice.

  • Nicholas F.
    Nicholas F.

    Thanks

  • Dorothy N.
    Dorothy N.

    Excellent advice. It also helps to have another offer to use as leverage when stating your salary requirement.

  • Lakesha Washington
    Lakesha Washington

    Thank you.

  • CHARLES T.
    CHARLES T.

    THANKS

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @John thanks for your comment. So sad. All you can do is keep applying and explaining your situation. I can understand a company's hesitation. Sure you are saying now that you can live on a much lower salary but you haven't really tried it yet. You could get into a position, with a lower salary, and be miserable - maybe not because of the salary but unhappy with a position that is less than what you are used to. It's like taking a CEO and making him a customer service rep. I am guessing that's how companies are viewing it.

  • JOHN W.
    JOHN W.

    I am living this situation currently,relocated from an A market making 6 figures a year to a C market where the average salary base is a little above half that. Been on numerous interviews and the feed back I get is I have too much experience or I would be happy enough to stay based on compensation, even though I discuss the understanding of a different market and cost of living base.I even explain why we relocated for those reasons and that once my house sells my financial needs will change to much lower level of the market average salary base. Still no offers or opportunities

  • 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!

  • ALICIA G.
    ALICIA G.

    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.

    Thanks

  • minni F.
    minni F.

    Thanks that were very helpful

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