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Interview Question “What is Your Current Salary?”

What is Your Current Salary?

You've finally decided to take the leap and apply for the job you really want. You made it through the interview stage, and so far you and the hiring manager are stopping it. They seem interested in hiring you, but then comes the dreaded question: “What is your current salary?”

What is your current salary?

The question, “What did you get paid in your previous job?” can also be mentioned for those who are not currently employed. 

Although it is illegal in many locations to ask these questions, this question is still asked by many employers. It is clear that a very cautious response is required.

Some other formulas


The question “What is your current salary?” may be asked at various points in the recruitment and interview process:

  • How much do you charge?
  • What is your current (or previous) salary with all allowances?

Why is this question illegal?


By asking “What is your current salary?”, the employer makes it clear that they do not worry about “internal fairness” in compensating their employees, so consider whether you really want to work in such an organization.

You might get thousands of dollars for a job (or thousands of dollars less) from a co-worker just because the previous employer paid well (or poorly).

Each employer’s profitability and reputation, budget, management, other employees, work tools and resources, policies and procedures, as well as the “total compensation package” (such as vacation time, bonuses, etc.), and many other things are often different. Very much with different employers.

These differences mean that comparing a previous employer's salary to what a new employer might pay is not a 'comparison'. It is now illegal for some or all employers to ask you about your salary history in many cities and countries.

What do you write when filling out a job application?


When filling out an application, either online or in person. The application form may contain a “What is your current salary?” field. You have several options:

  • Leave the field blank.
  • Put a zero or type 'no' in the field.
  • Write in (N/A) it does not fit or does not apply.
  • Type a string of numbers such as 123456 or 11111.
  • Put your target or real salary number in the field..

Why does the interviewer ask you this question?

The interviewer asks you the question “What is your current salary?” because he is not fully aware of the international laws and regulations for recruitment. Can you ask the interviewer what he gets paid?


How to prepare for the answer

When the question “What is your current salary?” comes up during a job search, you wonder whether you should answer truthfully (which could result in less offer than you want), or lie (which looks suspicious and can easily backfire).

If you're feeling brave (or upset), you may want to consider going ahead with the attack and asking them why the other employer's salary is related to a company that pays employees fairly. This may quickly end the opportunity.

Examples of answering the question


Some of the answers you can provide for specific situations include:

I'm sorry, but I don't share this information unless the offer is extended. I'll tell you though I'm very excited to talk more about the position.

Oh, this is personal information I don't share, is this related to the salary for this position?

It is my employer's policy not to discuss my salary information with anyone and I would respect that.

I will tell you that I am paid fairly and I am sure that you will pay me fairly if I am appointed for this position.

I cannot disclose this type of information because our compensation is covered by non-disclosure rules.

As I'm sure from your question, the employer considers employees' salaries to be confidential, and access to this information is restricted to management within our organization. So, I can't share it with you. However, if you share the salary level and range of this position, I can confirm that my salary falls within that range or not.

See: Interview Question "Do You Have Any Questions?"

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