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Employers asking for job seekers Salary History

By garym ·
I am currently employed by a company that probably pays its IT staff in the lower 20% of the normal IT salary range. After a number of years of not getting ahead, I am looking for a move to get ahead.

However, one thing I find is that many of the Hiring managers out there are always asking for your Salary history and it is even on their application forms.

In one interview I went on the interviewer asked me out right why I was looking for a 20% increase.

In my opinion, my salary history has no bearing on the job hiring/salary negotiation process and that one should be paid according to your skills and what you bring to the table and what the job market dictates is the current salary range for the position you are being hired for.

My questions to you all are... Is it appropriate and alright to decline to share one's salary history with a prospective employer? If so, how can you do it without creating an unnecessary issue out of it?


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I never tell them that

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Employers asking for job ...

I tell them what I'm looking for.

I aren't trying to get them to give me a job, they are trying to get me to do one.

This attitude sometimes upsets them, but it saves a lot of time, not talking to people who can't afford me.

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I like that attitude

by chris_abiodun In reply to I never tell them that

I like that attitude. me thinks I'll borrow a leaf from this aproach.

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Well you need to be able to back it up, wouldn't

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to I like that attitude

advise it early on in a career.

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by marketingtutor. In reply to I never tell them that

Perfect reply Tony. Couldn't have said it better. That's why I'm self employed. I don't need to have someone tell me what my earning limit is. I have skills and experience, and if someone wants it, its $70 per hour. Take it or leave it.

If you're good, and you set a reasonable price, people do exactly that. They take it or leave it. People are like that. You get the bargain hunters, and then you get the value hunters. I look for the latter. I could charge $80 per hour for my services and still have plenty of business to keep me busy. Wisdom sells at a premium.

People will pay a lowly mechanic $55 per hour to fix their car. How much more should they pay to someone who will give them what they need to earn enough to buy two cars and a house?

You set the price to what you feel your talent is worth to a propective client/employer. You'll soon find out if its proportional to your skills.

They ask you for salary history so that they can pay you as little as they have to when hiring. When they ask you about it, you can honestly hold your ground and let them know that you don't share that information. They can pay you what they would expect to pay someone for the work your going to do for them.

Asking salary history is like a car salesman not telling you the price of the car until you tell him how much you make per year, and how much cash you have in your wallet. Its a terribly inappropriate question that helps them get around paying someone what they're worth.


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Private and Personal

by fredbrillo In reply to I never tell them that

That kind of information is quite personal and private.

Thats why the new question on this subject is something like "what are your salary requirements?" rather than "how much are you making now or in previous positions". Thats really none of their damn business. I always ask the interviewer to share their salary information with me....or in a more professional tone, ask what the salary budget is for the position.

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Salary history is kind of ridiculous

by jneilson In reply to Employers asking for job ...

What does it matter to them what your making, you have an amount you want/need to earn, they have an amount their willing to pay. It's really funny to me that an interviewer would ask you why you want to make 20% more.

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Why 20% more?

by marketingtutor. In reply to Salary history is kind of ...

Yes, I agree. Its odd and even wrong for him to ask you that. A reasonable question may be something to the effect of "Why do you believe you deserve 20% more?"

Though I must say I am against the whole salary history request thing in the first place.


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I've never given my salary history.

by jneilson In reply to Why 20% more?

But I always state my required salary when inquiring about a job. My current position listed the salary in the ad, which is my usual criteria for submitting a resume. My boss isn't interested in what I had been earning either.

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Application Culling

by TheChas In reply to Employers asking for job ...

Years ago, I was in a hiring position.

Even back then, it was common to get a couple hundred responses when we ran a help wanted ad.

The company I worked for knew they were paying on the low side of the market. In order to reduce the amount of resumes we had to look through, 2 types went into the trash right away:

Those who were already making more than we could pay them.

Those who did not include a salary history or wage expectation.

Why waste the time of the company or the applicant if there was no way you would even be able to pay someone what they are making in their present job?

Most of the companies I have worked for have had strict wage structures. It was NEVER an option to pay someone more than the top of the salary range for the position. NEVER!

Likewise, these same companies had very little money available for "merit" increases. If we could not give an applicant a decent raise to come to work for us. We knew they would leave after a couple of years with no significant merit increase.

Yes, there are risks in letting a prospective new employer know your wage history in advance. Still, I am more than willing to take those risks as I have seen far too many resumes go in the trash for not including salary history when it was specifically requested.


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My experience

by JamesRL In reply to Application Culling

Four years ago, I was laid off from a nice management position with great salary. I had been there through the .com boom and that was reflected in my salary.

I had also done some contract work at a pretty decent rate.

Then I applied for this job, at a much lower salary and position level. I wanted a full time position and some stability, and I was willing to trade off some income to get it.

As part of the interview process I had to fill in a form, and it asked for the salary history. It also said in no uncertain terms that they would not consider an incomplete application.

I had two good interviews, and then a third. At the third, the hiring director was honest with me about her concerns that I would not stay once the economy picked up. I must have successfully convinced her that I liked the opportunity the company and the stability it offered. She came back with an offer for a position level higher than the job was posted at, and I've received a promotion 2 years later.

I've also asked candidates directly about the salary expectations because I know we are about a 50% percentile payer, and there isn't much point in beating around the bush about it.


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