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When I go for an interview I'm usually asked what my current salary is.

Can the interviewer check this?

Why are they asking?

  • If the employer runs a credit check, they're going to see your income, as inferred by monthly payments for rent, mortgage, car payments, etc. This gets interesting in two dimensions, the first is whether you have income from other sources, the second is whether you are living within your means. In certain roles the first could raise an alarm - particularly if you were in a purchasing role for an organization or government entity. The second is an indication of whether you can effectively manage assets. This is of particular interest when people are employed as developers or server admins. – Meredith Poor Aug 2 '13 at 15:43
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In the united states most employers will only confirm that you did work there, the dates of your employment, and a job title. The job title doesn't tell you anything because there is no standard table that converts a tile to a pay scale.

When your current employer is contacted because you are applying for a loan they will also confirm your salary. The bank is making sure that the information on the pay stubs is legitimate.

In many cases both inquires are handled by a office, or somebody at the end of a 1-800 number. I have seen companies advertise two different numbers depending on the reason for the inquiry.

Why are they asking? They want to gauge the range of salary you will be looking for. The range for you will depend on what you are making, your reason for leaving, current employment status, your prospects for getting several offers. It is also based on how realistic your goals are.

They don't want to waste their time pushing you for positions you will never take. Or waste your time so that you won't work with them any longer.

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    +1: I agree with most of what you said except for this: They want to gauge the range of salary you will be looking for. // If they wanted to gauge the range of salary that you'd be looking for, then they would ask directly. Instead, they ask what your current/previous salary is/was to ensure that they can pay you only an acceptable premium above what you're currently being paid (nothing more). – Jim G. Aug 1 '13 at 13:29
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    Some people lie, or don't want to tell the recruiter/interviwer. If companies gave salary info over the phone then the new employer would know they had accurate information. Candidate says I make 80K and would like to get a raise to 90K. Employer tells the recruiter they make 70K. – mhoran_psprep Aug 1 '13 at 14:33
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In many areas there are services that keep track of your salary history through various means. If is absolutely possible for an employer to verify whether or not you tell the truth.

When I am asked about my salary history, I usually respond with something like "I'd rather give you a range that would be acceptable for me to accept a position like this, it's $xxx,xxx to $xxx,xxx."

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    The link you reference offers verification of employment to businesses and verification of income to credit reference checks. There is nothing in what they write to indicate that they will provide income figures to people checking job references. – DJClayworth Aug 6 '13 at 15:52
  • Almost every single waiver that I've signed for employment background checks has said that the waiver allows the potential employer to do both credit and criminal history background checks. Even so, this is just one of many. If an employer wants, there are many outlets they can use to get your past salary. – Hi pals Aug 6 '13 at 17:27
  • Background checks are usually done after salary negotiation. – DJClayworth Aug 6 '13 at 17:39
  • I'm not sure what that matters? Do you think that an employer that's found out you're a liar will keep you employed? If you're in an at-will employment state, you're likely done. I'm no lawyer, but I can imagine that lying during your interview is cause for termination even in non-at-will states. – Hi pals Aug 6 '13 at 18:36

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