1

In India I don't know why but most of the HR person usually ask about previous pay. What's the point of asking this?

This is not duplicate of How to respond to a direct ask of salary earned and expectations? as I am looking for reason on why HR would be concerned about previous salary.

Is it because they wan't to hire the applicant at minimum wage possible?

if that's the case then would it be fair in a company if two people who are doing the same work are paid very differently just because one person's previous salary was less?

  • 5
    Possible duplicate of How to respond to a direct ask of salary earned and expectations? – gnat Mar 26 at 15:29
  • @gnat That is looking at the response. OP is looking for the reason behind it – Twyxz Mar 26 at 15:31
  • @Twyxz top answer in there covers just that: "you've got to look at it from the company's point of view. They're looking to save themselves time interviewing someone who is completely out of their budget. Previous salary is a good guide to how negotiable your expectations are likely to be..." – gnat Mar 26 at 15:33
  • "Is it because they wan't to hire the applicant at minimum wage possible?" That's usually the case. – sf02 Mar 26 at 15:41
  • I know this is India, but the state of California recently made asking the candidate's previous salary illegal: sfgate.com/business/networth/article/… Now the companies tend to ask "What are your salary expectations for the role?" instead. The debate on how this salary information is used is why this practice was outlawed in California in the first place. – jcmack Mar 26 at 19:45
7

I disagree with Snow's answer, it's not a sanity check to measure you have realistic expectations it's a cunning tactic of bargain that exploits introverted and low steem individuals all they want is to low ball you in hopes you're being underpaid and you don't realize

Asking for 20% more of what you currently make gives them leverage to question your entire career this puts them in psychological advantage, and I see them do this all the time with juniors and mid level

This is why many people refuse to talk about it none of their business Just do your market research and give them a number of what you expect as salary no need to tell them how much you currently make

  • Your last paragraph doesn't help. My Indian colleagues are telling that they have to show their last pay slip. – Chris Mar 26 at 22:19
  • I didn't see the India tag, it really depends on the market if India has over supply of developers then I guess you got no choice whether you subdue to their demands that's another question but I answered as to why they ask for it – Roberto Torres Mar 26 at 22:26
  • Your answer is fine. I just wanted to give you that hint. Btw he didn't ask for a solution explicitly, only for the reason. – Chris Mar 27 at 5:11
  • If I earn 20k I say I earn 23-24 so I ask for 25-26 . – lois6b Mar 28 at 8:12
3

Over and above the generic case of screening a candidate for the allocated budget for the role, this is more like part of a recruitment strategy, to choose the "least expensive" candidates, in India.

This is strange, but true, that many of the Indian organizations (software-oriented) has a very wide range of pay-scale for similar positions, and they want do offer the new salary based on the previous payout, plus a certain amount of hike.

Usually, the amount you can expect is : (previous pay + 20-30% of previous pay) i.e, 20-30% increase overall.

Is it because they wan't to hire the applicant at minimum wage possible?

Yes, it's weird, but real.

  • So would it be fair in a company if two people who are doing the same work are paid very differently just because one person's previous salary was less? – anal Mar 26 at 15:41
  • @newguy Don't be surprised of you experience one such case firsthand. I experienced a case, where the salary of a lead (E3) was less that a senior engineer (E2), just because the former was hired from a very small company where the payout was significantly less. Obviously, this arrangement did not last long, but it happened. – Sourav Ghosh Mar 26 at 15:43
2

In India I don't know why but most of the HR person usually ask about previous pay. What's the point of asking this?

It's a lazy way of gauging the value of an applicant. The thinking goes that if the previous employer only thought they were worth X, why should I pay a whole lot more than X?

As a hiring manager, I've had to battle with upper management on many occasions, in order to pay a new hire what they were worth, rather than just a percentage above what they received in their last job. I didn't always win that battle. It always seemed foolish and short-sighted to me.

In parts of the US, it is now against the law to ask salary history questions. It has been deemed as discriminatory (particularly against women who on average make less than men for the same position). Instead, many potential employers will ask what salary you are looking for.

1

It's a sanity check to make sure that your expectations are realistic and that you're a match for the role being offered.

The employer knows that you're not going to take a pay cut before moving to them.

They also know that most applications ask for 5-10% above what they're currently on.

It's also a check on your pay grade. If you're being paid way less than the current job has a budget for, then it's an indication you're punching too far above your weight. If you're asking for far too much, then you're applying for the wrong job.

You could lie about it to get what you think is a good deal, but the salary will be covered with the references, so the lie will be found out. So most people are truthful when answering this question.

  • 1
    Lying would not get you very far, as some of the company needs (mandates) providing the pay-slips from previous organization. :) – Sourav Ghosh Mar 26 at 15:33
  • 1
    @SouravGhosh True that and this is again a very bad practice according to me. – anal Mar 26 at 15:37
  • @newguy your bad practice is current practice in many places... just because you don't like it.... – Solar Mike Mar 26 at 15:38
  • @SolarMike I would love to know other places who implement this. I mean asking for reference or proof of previous employment is OK but if you asking for pay slips then it's weird and bad according to me. – anal Mar 26 at 15:40
  • 1
    Maybe India is different, but very few US companies would reveal how much a person was paid while employed with them. – Keith Mar 26 at 18:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.