salary history ban

Thanks to the Salary History Ban, interviewers can no longer ask questions regarding a candidate’s current or previous salary. The only question permissible is “What are your salary expectations?”

Every job seeker has two goals in mind: Working for a great company doing something they enjoy and getting paid their worth. Most candidates don’t seem to have too much trouble finding positions that excite them. However, finding opportunities with salary growth is another story. Why? Because of a simple routine question interviewers love to ask candidates. What’s your current salary?

It’s a question that gives employers the advantage in salary negotiations. Naturally, it’s a question that candidates have always been hesitant to answer. Eventually, however they end up showing their hand, leaving the rest of the cards stacked against them.

Candidates, it’s going to feel so good to be able to tell a future employer what you’re expecting and what you’re worth, without having to justify it with a current pay-stub. Your current salary is not reflective of your worth, capabilities or value to your company. You know that and now, employers are going to know it too. There are many reasons why your salary is lower than you’d like: your company hasn’t given raises in the last five years, you accepted a low ball offer to try a new position but the big increase you were promised once you proved yourself never panned out, you made a career change and took a pay cut, the list is endless.


As much sense as these reasons make, they have held great candidates back from making sizable increases. Why? Because salary information creates a perceived value and also creates perceived attributes in the employer’s mind.

Let’s take fashion, for example. Many brands use the same production houses, quality materials and craftsmanship to create their products. But two similar products from varying brands aren’t necessarily sold at the same price. Consumers often times will perceive the more expensive item as better.

The same can happen when evaluating candidates when you throw salary history in the equation. Additionally, candidates who seem undervalued in the market due to their current salary may lead employers to wonder why they make so little. Not being ambitious enough may be an attribute that an employer assigns to that candidate. Unfortunately, it’s rare that an employer will assign loyalty as the attribute. When a candidate comes to the negotiation stage with all cards on the table, it’s hard to justify asking for a big increase. Asking for $80K when a prospective employer knows you’re currently making $60K gives them all the power to negotiate. But when there is no certainty about your current salary, you’re more likely to get the offer you deserve!

Keep in mind that this law goes into effect October 31st. It is still legal for an interviewer to ask you your current salary up until then. This might just be the one time where it’s okay to procrastinate on your job search!

Related post: How to Negotiate Your Salary as a Newbie