So, what should you do if a prospective employer asks about your salary? Talking money is often the trickiest part of the interview process. It’s one thing to negotiate your salary when you have an offer in hand, but if you’re working through interviews what should you say if you’re asked “what do you make?”
PayScale, the compensation software company, has unveiled the findings into a survey exploring how people handle the salary history question during interviews. You may be surprised to learn that legally, interviewees are under no obligation to disclose their salary history. In fact, doing so may suppress their salary for the duration of their career. In essence, what you earn is nobody’s business but your own.
This is because the market value of an employee is not based upon what you made in previous positions. Instead, it’s based upon what workers in the same job, who possess a similar skillset and experience level, are making in the same labor market.
PayScale surveyed their users to learn more about how often prospective employees ask the salary history question, whether it is asked more or less for certain types of workers, how likely interviewees are to answer the question, and whether refusing to answer has any effect on an employer’s salary offer.
It turns out 43 percent of respondents were asked about their salary history during the interview process. Nearly one quarter of those who were asked declined to answer. A woman who is asked about her salary history and declines to disclose earns 1.8 percent less than a woman who discloses. If a man declines to disclose, he gets paid 1.2 percent more on average. Refusing to disclose salary history is most common in the highest income brackets and for jobs at the Vice President and Executive level.
So, if you’re in an interview and the salary history question comes up, PayScale advises it’s always best to do your research in advance into the market value for the role. That way you can focus on your professional value, as in what you should be getting paid, versus what you are currently earning. If the salary history question is asked you’ll be ready to deflect it and point to data showing what you would expect to make in your new role instead.
If you want to learn what you should be getting paid, take PayScale’s free Salary Survey to discover what people like you are making in your area.
Post by Octavia Goredema @OctaviaGoredema