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Don’t Want to Reveal Your Salary History? Say This Instead

Topics: Negotiation
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Should you reveal your salary history during a job interview? Surprisingly, the answer might be yes — if you’re a woman. PayScale’s report, Is Asking for Salary History…History? reveals that women who refuse to give their salary history earn 1.8 percent less than those who disclose it. (The opposite is true for men, who earn 1.2 percent more on average for keeping silent.)

Regardless of whether it’s in your best interests or not, it can be very hard to resist revealing your salary history during interviews. Although employers should price the job, not the candidate, many still insist that they need to know what you were paid previously. If you choose to keep your prior pay under wraps, you’ll need to come prepared to dodge the question gracefully.


Provide your salary requirements instead.

You should be paid based on your skills, industry, geographic area and experience, rather than your salary history. So, refocus the conversation on the job under consideration. Use PayScale’s Salary Survey to get a free salary report with an appropriate range for the job.

Be comfortable with quiet.

It can be challenging to hold your ground during tough conversations. Hiring managers have these kinds of meetings all the time, so they can be quite good at it. Some might leave silence hovering there over the table to see whether or not you’ll fill it. Don’t. Once you’ve declined to answer the salary history question and said all you want to about the matter, stop talking. It can be tempting to explain more about your position when you don’t get a response. But, feel confident that you’re doing the right thing and refrain from filling the silence with more information than you really want to give.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Consider walking away if you’re pressed too much.

You should be evaluating the people and the company that you’re interviewing with, as well as the other way around, during the job search process. If you find that you’re being pressed too much to give your salary history, you should take that into account. Ask yourself if this is really the kind of organization you want to work for, and consider letting them know about your concerns. Job seekers have rights and limits too.

Be sure to check out PayScale’s report, Is Asking For Salary History … History? for more information.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever been pressed to provide your salary history? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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