Why do Employers ask about Salary History?

Salary History

Salary History: When participating in a job interview usually applicants are worried about their skills, appearance, and mannerisms, and how to answer the employer’s questions. Some of the most frequent questions during an interview refer to education, the last job, or salary. Many candidates consider salary questions an unfair one because they want to earn more than their previous job.

Applicants usually tend to lie in an interview when asked about the salary, but employers can easily check with the hiring managers from the company they worked for previously. So, if the employer discovers that the candidate lied about his previous salary, they will not be considered for the position. The question remains: why do employers ask about salary history? Below are some reasons as to why they ask:

How valued were you at your last workplace?

First employers ask about salary history before offering the job because they want to see how qualified and how valuable you are. For example, many employers offer salaries concerning the candidate’s experience and skills in a specific area of work.

They need to know how much your last employers were willing to invest in you financially. That informs them about your competency skills regarding the job at hand. The best thing you can do is to describe your experience, skills, and qualifications so that the employer can see if you are as qualified for the job as other candidates.

Do you comply with the budget allocated to the human resources/recruitment cell?

Certain funds are allotted to the human resource or recruitment department of every company well in advance. It is from this budget that the recruiters plan the salary for the prospective employee. This is the reason some employers ask about the salary because they want to know the salary range that the applicant has received.

They use this information about the salary history if they are about to hire someone. This information also tells them if the applicant is too expensive to hire, and if this is the situation, they will choose another candidate that will fit their expectations and budget.

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The ideal reaction of the employee to this question

When asked this question, the candidate should make it a point not to show any anxiety or contempt.

Some tips on how to react correctly to this question: It is best to give a salary range to the employer. You should not commit to a number or offer a price below or above what you are worth. Employers also ask about salary history to have some idea about how much does the candidate’s skills and qualifications are worth.

If you are asked about salary history, tell the employer that you are flexible. Be polite and emphasize how appreciative you would be regarding the organization. If your previous salary is a low one, and you consider that you were underpaid in the position, then it is better, to tell the truth. As discussed before, hiring managers can easily ask your previous employer about your salary.

Tell them your real salary, but emphasize why you should be offered more based on your education, experience, skills, and qualifications. Demonstrate to the employer that you have gained more experience or education from your last job or you had a small salary because during that time the promotions were frozen in the company. A decent reason given is the crippling recession. Do not give up and offer reasons for why you deserve a bigger salary.


There are many questions during an interview that can be tricky and which are hard to answer. One of these questions refers to the salary history of the candidate. As mentioned before, employers ask the salary question because they want to see how valuable you are, whether you deserve the salary range, and if the company can afford your salary range.

I am a student, editor, and writer currently living in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. My interests range from technology to food. I am also interested in movies, education, and fitness.