How to Answer the Question ‘What Was Your Last Salary?’

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Salary talk is a prominent topic in an interview, and the candidate will have to be prepared for this. Even before the face-to-face meeting, this question will come up. There’s a good chance that employers would ask about the salary history and details. But remember! This is your business, and no one else’s. Even though the employers ask for salary history, don’t give the details and history. Instead, mention the salary expectation and target. Just include a sentence in the cover letter saying, ‘In this job search I’m focusing on roles in this salary range.’

Determine your salary target, at the beginning, itself, when you begin your job search. Don’t use job ads or job interviews as the market-value research process- companies now are trying to play it very cheaply. There may be a company that will delude that they can quickly get a 15-year experienced person at say $60k, this is so false. Never reduce your market value by resorting and accepting other people’s delusions.

Again, there would be employers who will say, “We pay under market.” Under market means less than the rate ongoing in the job market. The market rate is what other companies are paying. When an organization says “Our Company pays under the market”, means that they couldn’t care less what the candidate value is in the talent marketplace. Their expectation is for a candidate who doesn’t know their worth and is willing to work from them like slaves with fewer wages. Don’t fall for that! In a face-to-face interview, the topic of salary will come up. Remember, your salary history is your own business. If they ask about salary history, answer with your salary expectation.

salary historyIf you believe that employers are everything and you don’t have value and that the employer is don’t a huge favor by hiring you, then that is wrong! You wont be able to effectively job hunt that way. When a person don’t see their value, they will invite employers who will undervalue and mistreat them at work. Be strong and don’t fall for the delusion. People who want to get the cheapest help in terms of employment aren’t worthy of your services.

In an interview, if you see that the employer won’t let go of the salary question, then that’s a red flag right there. Employers need not know the past salary of a candidate, and it has nothing to do with the job. If an employer can’t evaluate the talent of a candidate based on the resume and the person, then they are not smart employers.

It is better not to work from them, considering their pressure about the last salary. There are many brilliant and creative interviewers, go for them. If you’re stuck in an interview with a person who can’t understand your value and pressing for the last salary rather than the salary expectation, your next question to yourself should be ‘How do I get out of here?’ If you don’t want to face a situation like that, step outside and contact the hiring manager directly.

The talent marketplace and professional world are changing day by day. Switched-on managers know that talent drives profitability and growth. Those are the employers the person should look out for and start conversations with, and go away from employers who ask you next time ‘what was your last salary?’

Jane Harper
Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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