5

Several resources indicate and suggest that you should not disclose your previous salaries in your past employments for the reason that there's a chance that the potential employer could "lowball" you and offer you a slightly higher salary compared to your previous, but a largely lower salary compared to their expected range.

However, in the case of a history of a higher-than-average salary, should disclosing my previous salary be OK in terms of getting a higher salary?

  • Don't you feel this is going to vary from company to company? Not everyone uses the same strategies. – user8365 Oct 6 '14 at 13:40
7

I think it is definitely more advantageous to keep your previous salary a secret when you're earning below (or right at) market rate.

However, when you're making significantly above market rate, being coy about your salary history can result in you wasting a lot of time, for example, by getting all the way to the end of an interview process and being offered 30% less than you current salary. It's happened to me more than once, and it's extremely frustrating. This is why I now like to have a conversation about (at least ballpark) pay as early in the interview process as possible.

These days, if a potential employer asks me directly about my current/previous salary, I just tell them. About 50% will immediately balk and cut off all contact with me. Others will try to tell me how their fantastic culture/foosball table/etc. makes up for their lower pay... then I can say "No thanks" and move on. This saves a lot of time and energy :)

  • 2
    A great refreshing view on the other side of the spectrum. I also get tired of all the processes when you get to know at the end of all of it that the company's and your salary expectations are way off. Time is a valuable resource. – Zaenille Oct 6 '14 at 14:23
3

In my opinion no, you should never ever provide your previous salary. Even if your previous salary is higher than average, the salary they are going to offer you may still be higher than that. Simply tell them the salary you want (with padding for the sake of being able to negotiate down if needed, of course).

If your previous salary has left you with high expectations, and you're worried that they might balk at your requested salary, you should definitely feel free to say that your previous salaries have been higher than average as your employers have recognised your true value to the companies you've worked at. Just don't give them a number.

  • 2
    How many jobs have you landed where you refused to give your previous salary when asked? – user8365 Oct 6 '14 at 13:37
  • @JeffO I have landed both my second and third jobs without revealing my previous salary in either case. In fact, in the case of the second job, I am almost certain that the hiring manager respected me more for giving calm, rational reasons for refusing to give the number, and that it certainly led to a hire salary offer. If a company turns you down because you won't reveal personal salary information (even when you gladly tell them your salary preference independently of whatever your former salaries happened to be) then it is a bad place to work and being rejected by such a place saves time. – ely Oct 6 '14 at 14:28
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    I am happy to see more and more people making it socially acceptable to keep specific salary information private during hiring. It should not be socially acceptable for companies to act as though they are entitled to get that info. You should make a job offer based on the value you predict the employee can add to your company. That number is very specific to your company. Maybe someone took a low salary in a previous job because of an emergency situation, or any other circumstance. The previous salary is just not the right marker for translating the candidate's projected value into wage. – ely Oct 6 '14 at 14:31
  • @JeffO we have a bit of a different culture here in Australia, I've actually never been asked about my previous salary. – Nick Coad Oct 7 '14 at 22:42
  • @EMS - I can think of one job where I refused (no idea if a gave a good reason) and didn't get the job. I already had a job and it was probably a good thing I didn't get the job, but that's not always a luxury I can afford. It does seem like 3rd party recruiters seem to ask this question the most. – user8365 Oct 14 '14 at 16:35

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