Why does an employer ask about my salary history?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,283
    Career counselor Karen Chopra discusses why an employer asks about salary history.

    Host: Why does an employer ask about my salary history?

    Karen James Chopra: You get asked about your salary history because companies are trying to eliminate from consideration, candidates that are too expensive and they are also trying to determine just how much they are going to have to pay you to get you on board and trying to figure out if maybe they can use a little bit of that extra money to but the new photocopier that they need or to go to that conference they would really like to go to. So they are looking for salary information from you for no reason that's going to be useful for you. It is all about stuff that's helpful for them and so for that reason, you don't want to tell them how much you make and you don't want to give them a sense that they don't need to give you everything that they have committed to pay this position because you didn't make that much in your last job. So they are looking to eliminate a candidate that's too expensive. They don't want to interview you if they think they are going to have to negotiate too hard to get you. Your job is to look like you are affordable all the way through to the point that you get an offer and they have decided that they are in love with you, you are their top candidate. Now you have got some serious leverage to see if you can move them to the salary that you are looking for. That's not something that they want to be in a position to have to do and that's why they would like to know your salary numbers upfront.