Salary history – sharing it can affect your negotiation power in the job application and interview process. But, before you start talking salary history, make sure you understand what the employer wants to know. When employers ask for your salary history, they want to know how much you earned in each past position and they’re usually especially interested in your last position. But when they ask for your salary requirement, they want to know what you expect to earn in the position they have available. Be clear on the difference – and learn how to manage questions about salary history before you start sharing information.
Sharing salary history: five questions to ask yourself
Choosing to share your salary history can be complicated. You may want to consider the following advice about salary history:
1. Does sharing your salary history put you in an awkward position for negotiation? If you were underpaid at your last position, it may be difficult to make the leap to higher pay, once the new employer knows.
2. Does providing your salary history violate non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements you signed at previous jobs? Some employers consider salary information to be critical to their success and might consider your release of salary history to be a breach of contract.
3. Do you consider your past salaries to be private? Although we live in more open times now, many people consider their personal salary histories to be private matters.
4. Are you willing to walk away from the job? Some employers refuse to interview or hire without knowing your salary history. But if you shift the focus to the unique contribution you can make to the company, they should be more interested in the value you offer.
5. Are you willing to share your salary history or requirements before you really know the value you offer? If you state your salary history in your cover letter or resume, you effectively set a ballpark figure in the employer’s mind. And, if you state your salary requirements in your application or the early stages of the interview process, it will be difficult to negotiate upward once you know the true demands of the position. For example, you may have different salary requirements, depending bonuses, benefits, vacation time, flex time, training opportunities, hours of work, overtime requirements and so on.
Once you volunteer your salary history, it can be difficult to regain strength in negotiating. Consider keeping your salary private – you can say that you think of your salary history as a personal matter or that you’re bound by non-disclosure agreements, if necessary. Then state your salary requirement to shift the focus to the job at hand.
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