I was interviewed at a place (an IT company) and when I was asked my current salary, I replied that I can't disclose it. The hiring manager said "oh, really? that is strange!"

That made me wonder, what was wrong about it if I want to hide it.

  • 1
    It's none of their business. However you want to word that is fine. "I can't disclose that" is perfectly acceptable. They're trying to gauge how little they can pay you and get away with. If they don't like that you won't disclose your current salary then walk away.
    – joeqwerty
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 15:06

3 Answers 3


No, it's not unprofessional to hide it and in fact you want to be careful how you answer this so you don't end up with a lowball offer. I work in IT too and this seems to be a common question in interviews. They've asked you the question to see whether you fit into their hiring budget.

It's come up in just about every job interview I've ever had, and you'll typically be asked what you are earning now or what salary range are you looking for. I always reply with an expected salary range like Gregory suggested in his answer.

There are websites you can use to see salary ranges which apply to your role, area and level of experience to help you pitch this realistically.

  • 1
    Most companies will try to pay you as little as they can get away with (non minimum wage roles), and providing them your current salary gives them a useful bottom line. There are websites you can use - search for "IT Jobs Watch {your country}".
    – Justin
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 7:59

No, it's not unprofessional to hide your current salary. It's somewhat unprofessional to ask someone for their current salary.

They may have thought you meant you were legally not able to disclose it, hence the surprise.

If they press you, I think the best way to respond is to say: "I am looking for a renumeration in the range between X - Y, which is comparable to what I currently earn."

In my experience, on either side of the table, the current renumeration of the candidate hasn't come up. I am based in Australia.

  • A lot of the contracts I have signed in the UK expect you to keep company information confidential Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 14:24

It has become quite common for employers to ask prospect employees this question in an interview. They sometimes claim this is to see whether they can fit you within their budget, but in my opinion that is an excuse:

The really relevant information for them would be what salary you expect from them, not what your salary was with the last employer. Your current/former salary is only relevant for someone who wants to lowball you; in order to gauge whether you fit into their budget, they only need to know what salary you expect from them.

This is why I never disclose my current/former salary in an interview; I always deflect that question by stating my expected salary instead. So far, I only had one situation where a prospect employer insisted on getting information about my current salary (which was a red flag for me) so I revoked my application for the job.

Last but not least, I have often seen deployment contract paragraphs specifically forbidding the employee to reveal their salary with any third party (except government agencies); so I'd say it's definitely not unprofessional of you to refuse to reveal that information.

  • 2
    Also, in some places that question is illegal to ask by law. Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 7:22

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