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How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn

Liz Ryan
CEO and Founder, Human Workplace

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How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?"

December 17, 2013

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When I was a kid working at Burger King, the minimum wage was $2.75 an hour. I didn't last long at that job. I got fired for calling in sick to go see the rock band Boston play at Madison Square Garden. Nonetheless, if the US Federal minimum wage had risen at the same rate as inflation, it would be over $20 an hour by now, instead of seven dollars and change. What does that tell you? Real wages have dropped like a stone since I rocked out with my North Jersey homies in the nineteen-seventies. Annual salary increases at most large and medium-sized employers have plummeted or disappeared altogether. That means your best hope for keeping your income in line with the cost of living is to change jobs every now and then. There's only one problem with that plan. When you apply for a job at a new company, their first question to you is likely to be "What were you earning at your last job?" The less you earned, the smaller your new job offer is going to be. Your past, unexciting wages will dog you forever! If you were earning $52,000, your new job offer might come in at $53,500. If you earned two hundred and forty-five thousand dollars a year, expect a job offer around two-sixty. Notwithstanding the exacting pay grades, salary charts and ranges laid out by bureaucrats the world over, the strongest predictor of a new hire's starting salary is whatever he or she was earning at the last job. That's discouraging - and pathetic! If an organization doesn't know how to value your talents other than by looking at what somebody else paid you in a completely different situation, they don't know squat about the talent market. How are you ever going to increase your earnings if

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How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn

every time you change jobs, you get a tiny raise over what they paid you at the last place? Drinking toxic lemonade over the years, we've gotten used to the idea that the question "What were you earning before?" from a prospective employer is perfectly reasonable. It's not, of course. Your personal finances are your business. When we call the plumber because our tub drain is clogged, we don't ask "What did you charge the guy down the block to unclog his drain last week?" If we do, the plumber is going to say "My rate is $95 an hour. Do you want me to come over, or not?" Plumbers have avoided the weenification process the rest of us have subjected ourselves to. I'm generalizing, of course - I haven't met every plumber in the world - but my impression is that plumbers and other tradespeople are way ahead of the suit-and-tie crowd when it comes to saying what they think. They don't become mealy-mouthed and hesitant the way business people so often do when they really should speak up, on the job search or on the job. They don't fawn and grovel the way job-seekers have been taught to do, and are still being encouraged to do by experts who tell them to please everyone, say anything, and be anyone the employer wants them to be, just to get the job. That's what passes for job search advice today -- advice about how to scrape and bow and beg for a job. Sickening, isn't it? We can de-weenify ourselves any time we want. The first step in draining the toxic lemonade from our veins, of course, is to realize it's there.

For some reason nearly all of us have come to believe that the most intrusive personal questions are perfectly fine when they're asked in the context of a recruiting process. That's ridiculous. You already know my feelings about the heinous interview questions "With all the talented candidates, why should we hire you?" and "What's your greatest weakness?" The question "What were you earning before?" (or the variation "What are you earning now?") falls into the same category. These are all questions that one adult lacks the social right to ask another. Yet we happily bleat "Oh, I was earning sixty-eight five over at Miles Prower Products" because we believe that in the hiring process, employers have the upper hand. Employers will have the upper hand in your job search as long as you give them it to them. When you decide that you have something valuable and unique to bring to your next organization -- when you really believe it, and act out of that conviction -- you'll quickly move past the managers who don't deserve you, and focus on the ones who do. You won't hand over confidential information about your past salaries, because that's nobody's business but your own. Here's what you'll do, instead. You'll give your prospective next boss the information s/he really needs to make the Go/No Go decision, which is your target salary level. With that number, your boss or recruiter can quickly determine whether it makes sense to keep talking with you or not. They don't need your past salaries to make that call. So why hand your personal information over? Here's a script to illustrate how your conversation might go.



How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn

RRRRRRRRRRRING! IVO, a programmer: Ivo Sega here. CAROL, a company recruiter: Hi Ivo! It's Carol from Vector Industries. Thanks again for coming out to meet everyone last week. Josh, our CTO, was really happy to meet you. IVO: No problem. I was happy to meet him too. You've got some interesting projects going on. It could be a lot of fun to tackle one of them. CAROL: I'm glad to hear it. Can you come back and meet more of our team next Tuesday at three p.m.? IVO: I'll have to check. I have some things I have to do on Tuesday afternoon. Can I ask you a related question? CAROL: Shoot. IVO: I want to check on the salary range for this position, so that I don't waste your time or Josh's if we aren't in the same ballpark. Are you the right person to have that conversation with, and is this a good time to do it? CAROL: I can get into that topic. What were you earning at Sonic Systems? IVO: In this job search I'm focusing on jobs in the ninety-five to a hundred-kay range. If this job is in that ballpark, it makes sense for me to come back for a second interview. Is this position in that salary range? CAROL: That could stretch the budget a little bit, but it isn't out of the question. What were you earning over at Sonic? IVO: You know Carol, the key for me is to make sure we're close enough to continue the conversation. It sounds like we are. Do you want to double-check that salary range with Josh before we set something up? CAROL: I can do that, but I can't help but notice you're avoiding my question. Do you want to share your last salary with me? IVO: I really don't, because that information isn't relevant to our conversation and frankly I'm not going to ask Josh what he paid the person who had this job before me. You've got confidential information that you can't share, and I'm in the same position. Over the years I've had royalty arrangements and incentive programs and base salaries that all made sense for me and the organizations that paid me at the time. I wouldn't expect any of those arrangements to map to your situation, and that's why I like to check the salary for each new gig against what I need to earn. CAROL: I know that some of our departments do salary-history checks as a part of their background check. Would you give us permission to verify your past salaries at Sonic and your other employers, and/or could you bring us a W-2 if we needed it? I'm just checking. I don't know Josh's thoughts on that issue. IVO: Thanks so much for asking, Carol. I definitely wouldn't be comfortable with that. Like I said, I'm not asking Josh to open the vault and tell me what he pays my prospective coworkers or what he pays the contractors who work for him now. That isn't any of my business, and I feel that my past salary information is confidential too. I'm sure you understand.



How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn

CAROL: You're not the first person who's shared that point of view with me, and I do understand. Some of our managers are pretty old-school in that respect. I will pass on the information to Josh and confirm that he wants to do a second interview, and my gut says that he will. IVO: That sounds fine. I'll wait for your call. No one is going to overvalue your services, but plenty of people will undervalue them. You have to value them first, and valuing yourself includes knowing when to say "I'm not comfortable with that request." When you find your voice, your muscles grow. When you cave and cower and pretend that going along with any off-the-wall request or demand is the safe -- and therefore best -- option, your flame will shrink. You will take less and less appealing and lucrative projects because you won't know where your own bottom line is. That is the opposite of empowerment. You will be a pawn in somebody's else game until the day you say "No." You will find your line in the sand, that day. You will find that keeping your head down and going along with presumptuous requests -whether someone wants your salary history or expects you to work until midnight on your birthday -- is not a viable career strategy. It's bad for your income, your health and your precious fuel tank. Your parents didn't raise you to be a wuss, did they? You can start draining the lemonade from your veins right now. You'll be happy when a recruiter or hiring manager says one day "What, you won't share your past salary information? Well, you're out of the running here, in that case!" You'll be elated to hear that, because you'll know that you would have hated working for people who value your privacy so little and whose gauging-a-candidate's-market-value skills are so weak. What could you learn from such people? If you're not learning, your flame is dimming, and you don't have time for that! If you balk at our script and think "That will never work in real life," be assured that this approach works brilliantly for job-seekers every day, but only for people who have healthy selfesteem. If you have been so beaten down by the Godzilla world that you believe you have no power in the employer-employee equation, then your fearful conscious brain is going to scream "I could never say that!" That's okay. It takes time to build your mojo after it's been squashed. You can keep your compensation history to yourself, the way every plumber and consultant does. Your muscles and mojo will grow when you do. It's a new day, and the Human Workplace is already here. Will you rise to the occasion? Note: in the illustration at the top of this story, Liz drew a manager interviewing a job candidate across his desk. Of course, we don't actually recommend that you interview a candidate with a desk between you. Get out of your chair, walk around the desk and sit down with the candidate in your extra visitor chair. That way you can have a level, person-to-person conversation. Get the desk out of the picture! For more guidance on Interviewing with a Human Voice, the Human Workplace interviewing program, write to Michael Wilcox at



How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn

About Liz Ryan and Human Workplace Our company is called Human Workplace, and our mission is to reinvent work for people. Our CEO, Liz Ryan, was a Fortune 500 Human Search for people, jobs, companies, and more... NetworkResources Jobs vice president Interests for years. Now she is the world's most widely-read career and workplace advisor and an electrifying public speaker. You can invite Liz Ryan to come to your city and address your company or conference audience. Liz will get your audience on their feet! If you have never seen Liz Ryan live, you will see what the excitement is all about! Liz Ryan uses a mix of theatre, business education and evangelical fervor to create an electric spell in the rooms where she speaks. She'll sing, draw, make you laugh, make you think, and shift your lens on business, work, life and your own path. Here are more ways to connect with Human Workplace: 1) Check out our Winter Holiday Special offerings! This is a great time of year to reflect and make a plan for 2014! 2) Join our LinkedIn Group, where we distribute a new, free downloadable Mojo Builder exercise every Saturday! 3) Partner with Human Workplace to help us design the blueprints for life and work in the 21st century! JOIN us as a free Friend member, a premium Individual member or an Employer member and bring Human Workplace materials and tools to your own career, job search and team! 4) FOLLOW Liz here on LinkedIn and on Twitter: @humanworkplace 5) LIKE our Facebook page! 6) LISTEN to Liz Ryan's podcasts on Soundcloud. 7) CHECK OUT our colorful Pinterest board to get some inspiration! 8) REACH us to talk about your own reinvention, your Team's Mojo or Sticky Human Issues in your workplace. Or, download our Whole Person Job Search and Reinvention Catalog and browse it for ideas! 9) START a Human Workplace Fan Club or discussion group at your workplace! Ask our Operations Manager, Michael Wilcox, how to get started: 10) JOIN a Human Workplace 12-week virtual coaching group like Reinvention Roadmap, Job Search after Fifty, Grow Your Thought Leadership Flame or Breaking into the Hidden Job Market!




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How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn

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Ben Leeds Director at Connectus - Technology Recruitment Interesting article but I actually disagree with your views. If a recruiting manager asks a question and you as an interviewee are unwilling to answer it then it causes trust issues. What is wrong with an open and honest approach? If you can justify that your salary was X but you're looking for Y then why not be upfront about it. I do understand your point and there is a danger of an under offer but how long will you stay in a job where you feel under-valued? We've had people lose out on offers because they've refused to answer what is a simple / straight forward question. Jobs are generally well bench-marked and not all companies are out there to try and save a few pounds / dollars / euros. If you value your staff and want to keep them happy then you'll pay them what they're worth and more importantly keep them engaged.
Like (179) Reply(33) 7 hours ago

Leatha Medina, Donna Wilczek, Rich West (, +176


33 Replies

How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn

Michael M. Obradovitch II, Esq. USPTO Registered Patent Attorney & Chemical Engineer; Realtor Give the people a straight forward answer -- without any doubletalk or equivocation - as to why you are asking for previous salary information and how that is relevant to the job you're looking to fill assuming the individual you called in for the interview is a good prospect. It's flat out irrelevant. Don't use "salary" as a crutch for your evaluation of the applicant (based on salary band info) or that information to the detriment of what to a first approximation you consider a suitable individual -- and, editorially speaking, you know you do and you will. Trust issues? Come on .... let's not go there!
Like 2 minutes ago

Michael MacLeod Human Resources Generalist at I completely disagree with your approach Ben. You say there is nothing wrong with an open honest and approach, so why not disclose your current/previous salary. But companies rarely provide what they were planning to pay the position in the first place, they absolutely refuse to disclose that information to the applicant. So how is there an open and honest exchange on the topic? The fact is, most companies keep their salary information close the to the chest in an attempt to get a person into the job with a salary under the planned budgeted salary for the role. And the fact that you have had people lost out on offers with your company because they've refused to answer this questions shows how inept your company's recruitment processes are.
Like (1) 4 minutes ago

Dr. Dave Dulany

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Nigel Job CEO/Managing Director at Remtec Search and Selection Ltd Absolutely terrible advice. The only candidates I have ever had who refuse to share this sort of information are the non-team playing chancers who have something to hide and who are looking for wholly unrealistic salary increases that they are almost certainly not worth . Refusal to answer basic level questions demonstrates issues that will make that person most likely not suited to most employed situations. If you want to be outside the mainstream, do what I did and set up your own company. If, on the other hand, you want to take someone else's dollar, pound , Euro or Yen, understand that you will need to play by some conventional rules, and refusing to answer questions that all your competitors happily answer is really dumb. If you want to play it cleverly you say "my current salary/package is "x" . However I consider for these reasons I am underpaid, and so my target salary is "y", and I am currently under consideration with three other companies at this level (assuming there is truth in that). Pretty easy really!!
Like (110) Reply(10) 7 hours ago

Charlene Beairsto, Sarah El Batanouny, Mark L. Clark, +107

10 Replies Grard H. ZANOU GENERAL MANAGER, WEBPRESENT CANADA I really do not like this '' If, on the other hand, you want to take someone else's dollar,'' this is the type of mentality some manager still thinking in 2013. Nigel Job, it is NOT someone else $$ it a business relation. You employees are your business partners, they are not your slaves. If you can do the job yourself, why then are you looking for someone else ?
Like (2) 23 minutes ago

Dr. Dave Dulany and Nassir Jamal Dr.

Tomislav Sola Building Science Consultant I don't like the "if you want to take someone else's dollar" part because you don't



How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn
take it, you earn it with your time and effort. It should be a win-win situation. In an interview you are on a par with your interviewer.
Like (6) 49 minutes ago

Alexandra Eno, MARC EDDY ALEXIS, Victor Kelly IEng MIGEM, +3

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Rob Bradley Owner and translator/editor at Turnaround Translations Surely the only answer that's relevant is "not enough to keep me"?
Like (121) Reply(6) 8 hours ago

Chris Collins , Dale Walker, Mark L. Clark, +118

6 Replies Bill Todd BSc.EE MBA Project Leader at B+B Dynamo Ha! That's really good! And it's most likely is true too
Like 15 minutes ago

Rob Bradley Owner and translator/editor at Turnaround Translations Obviously salary is not the only concern. Together with any number of factors job satisfaction, friendly co-workers, fringe benefits, perhaps even a window cleaner who strips off his shirt everyday to drink a soda salary is one element in an equation where the result, if all is right, equals employee retention. If any one of those elements changes the co-workers move away, the window cleaner gets old and fat the equation becomes unbalanced, unless another element compensates. Either way, a point may come when, no matter what, you are no longer happy with what you are earning. Your living expenses might be rising faster than your pay, you might be expecting a child. This article is specifically about applying for jobs with a view to earning more money and significantly more, otherwise the whole issue of whether or not to reveal your current salary is moot. Id also like to point out that my admittedly glib answer, to what many perceive to be a rude and intrusive request for irrelevant information, is more useful than it might perhaps appear. Say, as a job applicant, you feel or are told that you need to answer the question or else miss out on even being considered for the job. You can tell the hirer that you are willing to answer, but that he or she should bear in mind that your current salary no longer reflects your worth, that what you are earning now is not representative of what others with your qualifications and experience are earning, and that your employer is unwilling to meet your demands.
Like (1) 17 minutes ago

Rich West (

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Priti Batra 2nd FOUNDER at TAB PLACEMENTS Hi Liz, I am a recruiter based in Delhi, India. We are committed to both our client to find the best talent as well as the candidate who is depending upon us to guide and get offered the best as per the industry benchmark. At one end we have candidates who are often misled by the industry salary standards as hear about inflated and exaggerated packages from their friends/colleagues. The other end we have clients who have strict hiring budgets for that year and wish to keep parity within the organization. We are often drawn into hard-core negotiations at both ends and do not think that without the knowledge of last drawn salary can we get to a successful closure. The plumber will also be checking with his colleagues about the going rate for an odd job and will base his expected fee on same.Will love to hear from you what you think about this situation in which we find ourselves embroiled on a daily basis. Thanks
Like (30) Reply(5) 10 hours ago



How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn
Naheed Monower, Derek Moore, CSAM, J. Orellana, +27
5 Replies Tatjana Ebeling Hospitality professional with 7 years of experience in L&D and Operations Hi Priti, thank you very much for your view. I have applied and worked in various countries across Europe as well as in Dubai, and am currently looking for a position in India. I have never encountered the question of what I have previously earned anywhere else, but in India it's everywhere. I have to agree with Liz. While I do understand your position as recruiter, for a negotiation you need the salary range the company is willing to offer and the applicants expectations(!), not previous salary.
Like (7) 1 hour ago

Nassir Jamal Dr., MARC EDDY ALEXIS, Carissa Strickland, +4

Sanjeet Manchanda Business Analyst at ITC Infotech Hi Priti, Glat to read your point of view. I beleive there are two things here: 1. India is a huge talent pool probabaly one of the largest in the world. Hence the supply & demand forces work much stronger in the Indian context. 2. I believe the Indian market is now heading towards a change where talent wants not only a good compensation but the best compensation for his talent. Here, Consultants like you can help the organizations to do a detailed analysis of the open position & come up with a genuine budget they are willing to spend for the given position. Ofcourse, that would mean a much stringent & scientific screening process and a much more involved role of the consultants & not just being the 'head hunters' as they call it! What do you think?
Like (4) 5 hours ago

Carissa Strickland, Arti Negi, Amit Sharma, +1

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Shalini Goyal Analyst Developer Hi Liz, I am actually really impressed by your idea of not sharing the last salary and asking for what you expect or deserve in your next role. But I wonder how many such cases are actually considered by the Employers. In fact, most of the organizations simply state that your next salary would be the base to decide the next one. It is sort of a mandatory question people have to answer. Please suggest if it would be really right to tell straight that we are not willing to share our last/current salary? Thanks.
Like (46) Reply(6) 8 hours ago

Santosh shiv Tiwari, Heather Ellis Judkins , Frank Rabusic, +43

6 Replies Marvin Lorica, ZCE Technical Director at MDLWare Know to value yourself first before others value you.
Like (4) 2 hours ago

Douglas Fisher, Carissa Strickland, Richard Meza, +1

vivek vashistha doin wht Heart says..followin ur Dreams..n being mad abt ur Passion..can



How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn
only make u stand 'OUT F D CROWD'... I think of it as a complete game of ur own talent and 'hold' on the work which u do , if u r sure enuf that u can really do something different from the other same level people ... then go for something like this ... n the person who'll value u will not reject the proposal.
Like (3) 5 hours ago

Carissa Strickland, George Oryang, and Theodosia Tzanoudaki

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Kevin Gee IT Consultant, Services and Solutions Architect It's hilarious how the recruiters commenting think the advice is terrible - clearly shows their agenda.
Like (43) Reply(11) 4 hours ago

Dale Walker, Naheed Monower, MARC EDDY ALEXIS, +40

11 Replies Katie Villarreal Recruiter at Cameron Search Staffing Kevin, I'm sorry you've had bad experiences with recruiters, but I would tend to look at the responses in a slightly different way. As recruiters, we are constantly negotiating compensation offers while you will likely only be doing so a handful of times in your career (maybe more if you're a consultant). As such, we would be the experts in how the response above is perceived. Frankly, I don't know of any client that would take the above response well. I ask for the salary history of my candidate as well as what they're expecting to make and will disclose the potential range of the position to my candidate as well. I can also tell them whether or not their expectations are in line with the other applicants I'm seeing, or if they would have better success at the job at a different salary (be that higher or lower). I advise my candidates not to enter into the salary conversation with clients, and provide them with language that gracefully keeps them from having to disclose current salary information. However, if you're negotiating on your own (as the above candidate is), then responding in this way comes across as abrupt, somewhat selfish, and evasive. Likely this will turn the hiring manager off and raise major red flags with the company. Even if they would have offered a salary in the range the candidate was seeking the above response creates concerns that may cause the offer to not happen at all. As a side note to your view on recruiters, a good recruiter is going to advise you of what you need to have the best chance of gaining an offer on the position. If that salary is not in line for the role then you shouldn't be submitted because it isn't the right fit for you, or the recruiter should go to bat for you to see if the compensation has any flexibility. If your salary expectations are out of line with the market, then they should advise you of that. If you're feeling that recruiters are not gaining you the appropriate compensation offers either you're working with the wrong recruiters or have salary expectations that are out of range to the current market.
Like 9 minutes ago

Frank Kruller Manager, Technical Support at VMware I have dealt with all sorts of recruiters, headhunters, placement specialists so please make no more assumptions: I'm very sorry but here's how I see it from two perspectives: 1. As a hiring manager, you stand between the budget I have and the talent that is ultimately driving my business. There are many other factors that motivate talent and performance, but salary is what gets them through the door. You essentially reduce the value of my money. 2. As a prospective candidate, you stand between me and the wage potential of a job. You essentially reduce the value of my job Either way, your job is a middle-man that gets paid for nothing once the deal is done.


Like 17 minutes ago

How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn

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Oscar Prajnaphalla Corporate & Marketing Communications Manager A killer quote here: "If an organization doesn't know how to value your talents other than by looking at what somebody else paid you in a completely different situation, they don't know squat about the talent market." Thanks Liz for sharing. Very much appreciated.
Like (54) Reply(2) 7 hours ago

Daryl Hogg, Carissa Strickland, Matthew Cohen, +51

2 Replies Michael MacLeod Human Resources Generalist at John, given that logic, why ask the question period? How do you know someone isn't embellishing their previous salary to ensure an increase in their next role? During the recruiting process, hiring managers should focus their attention on the person's ability to do the job at hand. The salary for the position should already be determined when creating the job description and before the job ad is even posted. If the person is capable of doing the job at hand, then they should be worth the money the company was planning on spending on the position in the first place. The salary shouldn't be recalibrated at the last minute based on the person earning less at their previous employer.
Like (1) 18 minutes ago

Gloria Goosby

John Bladt Manager, Analytical Quality Assurance at Undisclosed How is the company supposed to value your talents when they don't even know you? Based on your resume? Like people don't inflate their accomplishments or embellish their responsibilities.
Like (6) 4 hours ago

Derek Moore, CSAM, Emma Quarterman, Phillip Marsden, +3

Jeff Rankin Client Services Business Professional I ran into a similar situation with a software company a while back. The internal recruiter contacted me about a job she had and was pushing for my previous salary. I was able to talk around it and get her to give me the range of the position without giving her my salary but she kept pushing for the information. I didn't know what to do so I reached out my job group for advice. Some said tell her or she'll find someone else for the job and others advised that I refuse to give her the salary. It wasn't until she told me that she wouldn't move me forward that I caved in and gave her my previous salary amount. Once I did that she told me they would only be able to pay me what I had previously been earning or less which was less than the range earlier discussed. The whole thing left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a dislike of recruiters.
Like (21) Reply(6) 8 hours ago

Joanna Smith, Pat White, Mark A. Parsons , +18

6 Replies Michael MacLeod Human Resources Generalist at I don't think you can necessarily blame the company in this situation. It sounds like they had a plan for what this position would be and who they would need to fill it. They already had the plan of paying this position within a range that was lower than your current salary. I think this bad experience is the result of the recruiter. Your current salary was inconsequential to the search. She should have just asked you for your salary



How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn
expectations and matched that against the planned salary range. And then left it to you to decline or proceed with an interview. Sorry to hear you had such a bad recruitment experience.
Like 36 minutes ago

Derek Moore, CSAM Recruiter of Architectural Building Product Professionals By you disclaiming what you were earning to her, she was able to save the both you time and hartache. I think you are viewing things complete wrong. You should be grateful.
Like 43 minutes ago

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Andrea Gavazzoni Founder at Piri Piri I agree that you have to avoid the question but I wouldn't support your suggestion on how to do that. Here's the best answer: "My current/past salary is/was so much above average that I've found it is counterproductive to disclose it, as it usually discourage potential employers. I'm interested in the role and I'm sure your are going to offer me an attractive package. It's not a matter of earning a dollar more than before, I want to look at the bigger picture".
Like (39) Reply(2) 6 hours ago

Patti Grimes, AIA, LEED AP, Gustavo Jacovazzo, Ania Lokaj, +36
2 Replies Tatjana Ebeling Hospitality professional with 7 years of experience in L&D and Operations Ha, great way to turn the situation around! "So much above average" might be a bit over the top but love the general sound of it.
Like 1 hour ago

Mark Lucio IT Recruiter at Kelly IT Resources LION [6000+] The thing that I think most people don't realize is that most of the recruiters (and especially HR) don't really understand a lot of the job duties that the candidates they handle on a daily basis. A good recruiter should be able to determine whether a candidate has the right experience / skill set for a job but most "key word search" recruiters can't unless they get the previous salary which is why I believe they ask. For example: Recruiter A has a $90K per year Network Engineer role that Candidate B applies for. Candidate B discloses that they were making $40K per year in her last job which tells Recruiter A that they were probably not at the Engineer level so they look for other candidates. Candidate B COULD avoid the question and get to the first interview since the recruiter / HR person doesn't know the right questions to ask, but the hiring manager would weed them out anyway because of lack of skills (they should be able to tell from the resume but some are a little embellished).
Like (1) 1 hour ago

Neeraj Mohandas

Daniel Walker Technical Sourcer at Google I really don't agree with any of this article. As a recruiter i always ask "what is your current salary?" and "what is your target salary?" if they are currently on $50K and are looking for $250K i would want some justification on why they are looking for such a huge rise or why they were so undervalued at their previous employer. If i was to have such a defensive conversation like the one outlined above with a candidate it would throw up red flags for me instantly, i need all the information i can get to give the best experience possible to both sides, hiding things from each other will leave a bitter taste and



How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn
cause complications further down the line. Als in the current market with some candidate having over inflated expectations and companies having tight budgets i find it better to deal in facts not wants, needs and emotions. Even with a candidate avoiding the question and asking what the position is paying, this data will be sourced from what others are earning to keep things competitive and fair. In regards the the plummer scenario, he/she will get his/her estimates from a similar source. i.e industry stats, colleagues and competitors. i often get asked by service staff "what is the best quote you have had so far?" I tell them to allow them to be competitive as i would expect a potential employer to do also.
Like (22) Reply(6) 7 hours ago

Derek Moore, CSAM, Leah Aurora Fuller, Kari Hannah (, +19
6 Replies Brandon Hansen Customer Focused | Tech Marketer | Industrial Automation | 4 Ps | Channel Manager | Instrumentation | Tech Trainer I appreciate the honest feedback from recruiters on this topic. When I'm applying for a position at a new employer, the new position's duties and responsibilities are NEVER a 100% match to the duties and responsibilities of my previous position. I'm sure you all in encounter this frequently as well. Many of the recruiters have said that they absolutely require a candidate to share their previous salary from a position that is (at best) similar to the position that is being filled for salary justification purposes. If that is your expectation, then would you be willing to go back to your client (the employer) and gather the current salary for every employee working in that role and similar roles along with the justification for each current employee's salary to share with the candidate? If it is reasonable to require the candidate to share that information, it seems like providing that level of detail to the candidate would be part of the open, frank, and honest discussion that you're striving for.
Like 36 minutes ago

Denyse Pashup Director, Human Resources & Recruitment at UCI-FRAM Group Daniel, like you, I ask their current or last salary and I also ask what their expectations are. I use this as a basis to determine the offer. Like you, if a candidate earns $50K today but expects $250, we need to have a conversation to justify the expectation. I work within the salary bands established by my company for the position but I also work to get the candidate the best offer possible for the position given their knowledge and experience and one that meets with their expectations. If I deliver an offer that is below their expectations, I have that conversation well in advance so they are not surprised. I wouldn't dream of wasting someone's time if they weren't in the salary band I am offering or if we could not meet their expectations. To tell a candidate to withhold this information is bad advice. It creates a defensive conversation and would immediately throw up red flags for me. I prefer an open, honest and frank conversation with my candidates. And, for the record, if a candidate was making $52,000 ... I would never dream of offering a candidate $53,500 and expecting them to leave their job for that kind of an opportunity.
Like (6) 1 hour ago

Dr. Dave Dulany, Derek Moore, CSAM, Samer Adra, +3

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Larry Kessler IT Solutions Business Executive | Moving IT to function as a Value Center from a Cost Center Ask what is the organizations hiring range? Then you can say thats ok with me, or mid to upper range would suffice. Also - unless numeric values are required, always answer open to new salary. Say: If I fit your requirements with the relevant skills. Pay me what this job is worth.



How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn

Politely say: "My previous employers wanted that information held private. Im sorry, but that information is protected by non-disclosure agreements I signed with my former employers. I have an obligation to not give it out. If I were to work for you, I would have the same duty to protect your companys sensitive business information.
Like (27) Reply 5 hours ago

Katie Turner, Meg Kauffman, Sren Fuhr, +24

Michael M. Obradovitch II, Esq. USPTO Registered Patent Attorney & Chemical Engineer; Realtor Interesting article and an important issue. Liz makes good and important points that dovetail with some of my views/thinking. Rule #1: Never ever negotiate against yourself by blurting out what you made in your last job. It's irrelevant. It has absolutely nothing to do with what you're bringing to the party at the new company or the demands of your new job. Rule #2: Always but ALWAYS do your homework. Seek out regional salary reports and "percentile bands" for the kind of work you do. Going into an interview without that knowledge is self-defeating. These statistics are widely available. Rule #3: Remember that "enlightened" employers have an inviolate HR policy -- at least in the US -- regarding disclosure of personnel information. When it comes to former employees they will generally not disclose anything beyond: whether or not you are eligible for re-hire (if that), your dates of employment and classification (title) you held. Rule #4: Like Liz says, if pressed, "give your prospective boss the information s/he really needs to make the Go/No Go decision, which is your target salary level." Keep it at the 75 percentile band. If they want you bad enough they will give it to you or at least attempt to negotiate. If you don't get a counter offer, they didn't want or need you badly enough. Don't accept anything below the 50 percentile band for "it will forever haunt you." Just some thoughts based on the experiences of other informed people.
Like (24) Reply 7 hours ago

Victor Kelly IEng MIGEM, Brian Gordon, Robert Alexander, +21

Amy Watt Fashion Fringe Intern at IMG As a student who has yet to get her first salary, I found your topic incredibly insightful. A lot of entry levels job I am applying for at the moment ask for my previous salary which has only been part time work. Its really important for people to understand their value and what they can offer a company. I find that a lot of people are so happy that some one will hire them that they do not truly understand their own worth.
Like (11) Reply(5) 7 hours ago

Tannis Troyer, Pat White, Roslyn Love, MHA MBA, +8

5 Replies Michael MacLeod Human Resources Generalist at Amy, if I can offer some advice for your future job search. If your part-time work was relevant to the current industry you are trying to get into, multiply your part-time salary by 2 so you have a full-time salary to compare it to. Technically, you were still doing the same level of work as a full-time person, just working less hours. But I would take advice from Liz's article and redirect the conversation onto what your salary expectations are for the role you're applying to. But research industry standards so your expectations don't get too high for an entry level role. All the best for your job search!
Like (1) 14 minutes ago

Leonardo Gala Jr

Amy Watt Fashion Fringe Intern at IMG Great advice Tatjanna. I firmly believe that you should pick enjoyment and interest over salary. However its becoming increasingily difficult to find entry level jobs in sectors that would even offer that enjoyment and interest. It's as if companies have become disconnected from their employees. With low salaries and few jobs, graduates and other job seekers are going to become more and more disheartened


and unmotivated.
Like 1 hour ago

How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn

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Farhan A. Estimating /Precontracts - Seeking New Role - Now! Job Hunting &/or Freelance work at C13 Excellent Topic! If someone is really pressing you to get the past salary info! it means that organisation is not the best one to work for! Good structured businesses tend to have structured pay scales and will treat each employee as per their traits they have rather then the package they were getting earlier.
Like (15) Reply 9 hours ago

Tannis Troyer, Roslyn Love, MHA MBA, Elena White, +12

Ahmed Munasser Translator/Copywriter at Occidental Petroleum of Yemen Dear liz, Your article reminds me of a little chat early this week with one of my friends who was waiting crazily to get his new job. He asked me for an advice, as I am always his sincere advisor in the hard times. What I told him was not diffrent from what you say. I told him that his past salary history is his own bussiness. Even he is asked to disclos such information, he should apologize diplomatically pointing out that is something that he likes not to speak about it, as long each one of us has his own confidential stuff. I also told him to upgrade his previous expectations a little bit and be confident of himself and of his future. Nothing will happen if he didn't get the job. It's better than he remains underestimated forever in the future because of his childish way of thinking. My advice to him was to go there raising his head and thinking of nothing except that he is a human and he has knowledge and skills and above all credibility and ethics. If they want him, they will accept his request, and if they don't want him, whatever he does by lowering himself will lead to nothing. He was hesitent at the beginning, then after listening to the whole story, he became completely confident and I noticed that from the smile on his face. He thanked me from the bottom of his heart and told me " you are my light. I am lost with you. You are in my heart and mind". he could have continued thanking me forever, if i hadn't stopped him. I told him" we are brother.". The most importnat thing is that you remember what I have said to you, and forget about your current stinky situaton and go as if you are the king of the world. He gave me a big hug and said good bye!. THank you, dear Liz. Great post as usual!
Like (8) Reply(2) 7 hours ago

Gerard (Gerry) Howard, Greg Finch, Elena White, +5

2 Replies mostafa eid,ESAA senior auditor at Mazars alslam 3alikom what should i do if i want to join with this job as stage to make benefits like working in famous company then i will leave it and asking for the salary i need in other place in or out my country.
Like 6 hours ago

Saad Waqar Student at SZABIST Height of self obsession! And you are a good story teller i must say!
Like (5) 7 hours ago

Jennifer Aikins-Appiah, Thomas Yang, Priyank Jammar, +2

Jonathan Krogdahl Executive Search (Real Estate & Construction) & Resourcing Consulting I am sorry I have to disagree - if I had someone doing that to me, I would immediately suspect skeletons in closets and want to know the real facts. I think I do this well with my candidates and have got them healthy increases when it is warranted and small increases when it is not. Indeed, I have just had a whole lot of work done to my house and I asked what they were paid



How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn
to do the job down the road and then asked the builder there if it was correct. To m,e past salary is still the BEST indicator of how someone values themselves and is the key to negotiating an acceptable salary in their next role.
Like (3) Reply(1) 6 hours ago

Andrew L. Pryor (VPHR), Thomas Yang, and Jenny Nash

1 Reply Colin Jones Development Technologist at Haribo Terrible indicator in my case, and I'm no doubt the only acception here. My first job under-offered me, but I took it because I wanted more experience and subsequently the company failed to increase to market value despite my role extended into senior duties. If my current job took that salary as an indicator to how "someone values themselves", then I'll still be undervalued. I had 2 successful job offer before I left that company and both new companies did not ask my current pay in numbers. They asked how I felt I was valued. Both gave a similar offer, and both match above market value.
Like (10) 6 hours ago

Andrew Robinson, Erin Long, Tiffany Kraus , +7

Larry Caracciolo Quality Systems Mgr (contract) at Seattle Aero LLC It's a tough chaw to swallow for the hiring mgr when you earn more than he/she does. ;-)
Like (10) Reply(2) 10 hours ago

Michael MacLeod, Ha Hoang Hong, Nick Raubenolt (1,800+), +7

2 Replies Michael MacLeod Human Resources Generalist at Absolutely agree with you Larry. I used to work for a company like that, they paid horribly and were incredibly cheap when it came to employee compensation packages. Yet they always thought they deserved the best talent for any given position. There were a lot of arguments between myself and hiring managers to get it throuh their heads that if you want the best talent, you need to pay best talent costs. And in a lot of cases, the best people were often already earning more than department VPs or Directors. I'm talking a project manager earning far more than the Director of Operations they would be reporting into. And they could never understand why they wouldn't want to come work for them.
Like 1 hour ago

Joe Chandler, PMP, ITIL [LION] IT Service Manager That usually means one of two things: 1. They have been at the company a long time and raises haven't kept pace with industry standards, or 2. They are a very poor negotiator. That said, there are a number of fields where you may manage a group that has more highly skilled/highly educated people than you. I have managed a team where one or two of the team members made 20% more than I did. But they earned it - they were very senior people who were making the company money.
Like 1 hour ago



How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn

Viveck Karwanyoon President - Operations at NEESA Ventures Pvt Ltd Agree with Shalini 100% . there was a time when in my initial career days I have got what I demanded, but now it doesn't seem to work, at least in India..
Like (5) Reply 7 hours ago

Thomas Yang, Sanjog Kumar Dash, B Malathi, +2

Graham Watson HR Leader OD Specialist Change Manager I tend to agree with Liz on this and also understand the point you make Priti. One way to overcome this problem, as both a candidate and recruiter is to market price the value of the job/profession in it's industry and market/location. That should always be part of the brief (whether in-house or agency) in terms of range of affordability. There are some good (publicly availably) Global salary surveys out there - I prefer Robert Walters and Hudson in terms of global coverage and the split between private and commercial sectors, and they cover many roles and levels. Therefore, in line with what Liz advised in terms of valuing the capabilities we can offer, the question a recruiter might ask is what is the basic salary range you are looking for, versus what did you earn in your last job. Then both parties are then in a better position to negotiate the value proposition.
Like (5) Reply(2) 9 hours ago

Thomas Yang, Sarah Natasha Corcoran, Shamsher Bahadur Singh Chauhan, +2

2 Replies David Berndt Retired QA Engineer and Six Sigma Green Belt Thanks you for the information on where to get the basic salary ranges for the position you are seeking (location & job) - it makes sense to know the territory you are entering.
Like 35 minutes ago

Michael MacLeod Human Resources Generalist at I agree with your point. But I still don't think the question of what someone earned in their last job should ever come up in the recruiting process. It would make more sense to use Global salary surveys to cost/budget the role you need against industry standards, this should be done as part of creating a job description and before a job ad is even posted. That way you can focus on what the person's expectations are compared with what you are planning to pay. Furthermore, you can focus on one simple question - is this person worth what we are going to pay him? (or other variations). If the answer is no, then you have your answer of whether you should hire or not.
Like 1 hour ago

Haris Anwar Product Development Engineer Not sharing the salary is like keeping some cards in your hand. If an employer values you with salary is like measuring the worth of a bread in extreme hunger. If he needs you, he will come at some compensation point. Learn to love and value yourself
Like (4) Reply(1) 1 hour ago

Ty Decker, Ugonna W., Pedro Ferreira, +1

1 Reply Pedro Ferreira Sell your property in China - Good thinking! Very difficult to practice, but only very few people get to that realization and act upon it. Respect Sir!


Like 1 hour ago

How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn

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