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Today I went to an interview. We talked for awhile and then the interviewer said "ok great, fill this out for me! I'll be back in a minute" and left me with an application form to fill out. A lot of it was standard, name, references, past work etc. but it also asked for the wage of my past jobs.

Is it legal for a potential employer to ask? I think it's not legal for them to penalize you for not giving the information, if I'm correct. What are the pros and cons of disclosing how much you were paid in past jobs?

At the end of the application form it said "sign here to verify that you told the full truth, nothing but the truth and omitted nothing". This led me to believe I wasn't supposed to leave out the information.

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    That said, the form you were asked to sign is a nasty piece of manipulation... good luck
    – rath
    Feb 25, 2017 at 11:42
  • Cross out the words "and omitted nothing" and initial it. If asked say that you don't have the exact salary numbers memorized.
    – Brandin
    Feb 25, 2017 at 11:55
  • @JoeStrazzere I was under the impression certain things are protected by law and that if you decline to answer they can't (legally) not hire you because of it. Is this not the case with salary of past jobs? It may be considered confidential.
    – GomesB
    Feb 26, 2017 at 7:52

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They can ask you anything they want, and you can refuse to answer anything you want. It's just an interview.

Pro's of giving up those details are not many, mostly just complying and making their job easier for them and therefore perhaps having a better chance of landing the job. Hopefully they're not just asking to see what the competition pays.

Cons are many, but mostly it weakens your negotiating power and puts you at a disadvantage. And there is zero guarantee that giving the information will get you the job.

Solutions are up to you. My personal one is that I can't disclose it, it's between me and my erstwhile employers. If they push me on the point after saying this, I don't want the job because the only reason I'm changing jobs is I want a LOT more than I was getting and I have no intention of weakening my negotiations before they even start. So I counter with an expected salary range instead. In your case I would leave those fields blank or fill them in with N/A.

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  • That's a good tactic. Just say your past employer asked you not to disclose how much you were being paid.
    – GomesB
    Feb 26, 2017 at 7:53
  • @GomesB or just say you have a NDA agreement and cannot discuss any details like that, quite frankly it's none of their business anyway.
    – Kilisi
    Feb 26, 2017 at 8:20

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