Search
Advice » Salary & Benefits» Salary Information » Salary History: How Much Sho ...
Salary History: How Much Should You Tell?

Salary History: How Much Should You Tell?

By Margaret Steen

At some point during your job search, you will likely be asked about your salary history -- how much you're making at your current job, and how much you made previously. Should you tell? Is there any way to avoid telling? And why do potential employers want to know, anyway?

When forming a response to these questions, it helps to understand employers' reasons for asking.

Employers tend to use your past pay as a gauge of your market value, says Richard Phillips, a career coach and owner of Advantage Career Solutions in Palo Alto, California. They also want a sense of what salary you'll be expecting. If it's tens of thousands of dollars more than the employer can pay for the position, it's probably not worth wasting your time or the employer's on further discussions.

"It's a way to figure out if we are all playing in the same league," Phillips says.

Play Your Cards Right

Of course, this information also gives the employer a leg up in the salary negotiation process. "We're going to play poker," Phillips says. "You're going to show every other card of yours, and I'm not going to show any of my cards."

Because of this, Phillips recommends not offering salary history in an initial written application. If you're filling out an application, put dashes in the box for salary history, indicating that you saw it, he says. If you're responding to a job posting that says to send in a resume and salary history, just send the resume. If the employer is interested, someone will call to ask for more information.

"Then you're in a dialogue," Phillips says. At this point, instead of telling the employer your current or past salary, ask what range they expect to pay for the position. You could also offer to provide your desired salary range.

The Strategy Could Backfire

This approach does have pitfalls. First, some employers may not call, choosing instead to focus on applicants who provided the information on the application.

"My take on it is that if you are a qualified candidate and they are going to ignore you because you did not send in your salary history, you do not want to work for that organization," Phillips says.

Even if you make it to the conversation stage, simply stating your expectations may not work.

Tell the Truth

"They could say any number for an expectation," says Lori Itani, an independent staffing consultant who focuses on high tech companies. When Itani talks to candidates, she asks for their salary history. "Everybody I talk to ends up giving that information out," she says.

Itani is looking not only at whether the candidate is likely to be happy with the salary the company can offer, but also at whether the person has received raises when changing jobs. She also notes that employers can verify this information, so it's critical to tell the truth.

In the end, Phillips says, it's not usually a problem to give the employer the information. If bonuses or stock options were part of your pay package, mention this when you give salary numbers -- it could make a case for paying you more. If you know the position you're interviewing for pays less than you're making and you're OK with that, say so.

And remember that when the company actually makes an offer, you can still negotiate.

Latest Jobs

Sears
Posted: 12/18/2014
Queens, NY, 11101
CyberCoders
Posted: 12/18/2014
San Francisco, CA, 94104
Sweet Financial Group
Posted: 12/18/2014
Trenton, OH, 45067
CyberCoders
Posted: 12/18/2014
San Francisco, CA, 94104
CyberCoders
Posted: 12/18/2014
San Francisco, CA, 94104

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.11.10.17-317
eTrustLogo