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The dirty secret is out: Your salary history is irrelevant!

As a HR professional, I have felt that the hiring process in general has been broken for quite some time. It's no secret that there has been a cycle of gender pay inequity that has been going on in this country for years... In my opinion, until the last couple of years, legislation has not done enough to attempt to bridge the gap of gender wage in this country.

Fact of the matter is...


Okay, so here’s the dirty, dirty, little secret talent acquisition and human resources professionals have been keeping from you for years. Trust me, I’m not doing myself any favors from a recruiting perspective by sharing this with you. As a matter of fact, some of my network will be outraged when they read this...

Ready for it?

This is the big secret:

Most human resource teams, hiring managers, corporate recruiters, and many external recruiting firms have a BUSINESS interest in not paying you what you’re worth. It's a shame, but it's the truth!

Personally, I have never been aligned with this process and was thrilled when the "banning the salary history question" topic started heating up. When the question became a topic of discussion about 2 years ago, I immediately took it to leadership in HR at the organization I was working with at the time to ask what our stance was. How will we approach this going further? One manager made the recommendation that recruiters keep a running list of states and cities that have banned the question to ensure candidates in those locations were not asked the question. I on the other hand would not have it. I immediately instructed my hiring managers that I nor them would no longer ask the question in our interview process. PERIOD.


  1. Salary history has nothing to do with current salary requirements.

  2. Salary history has nothing to do with the current market rate for the position.

  3. Salary history has nothing to do with the available pay range of the vacancy.

  4. Offers should be made based on the skill and ability of the candidate.

Think about this...

Why do people leave their organizations to get larger salaries? Do you know how many long tenured employees I have talked to that are shocked when they learn they have been underpaid for the past decade? Why?

Because there is a such thing as internal equity ( most internal employees are not receiving merit increases according to market rates but that is a whole other discussion) and your current employer already knows your current salary and can give you a small increase vs. bringing you up to the current market rate when giving you a promotion. On the flip side, that same employer will bring an external candidate in at the current market rate or higher because they knew how to negotiate their salary and was familiar with what someone with his/her experience was valued as on the market.

The good news is that 13 states and 10 cities/counties have taken a stance and made the salary history question illegal... See a list of those states ->HERE <-

Additionally, one of the U.S. largest employers made an announcement this month that is a game changer...

Can you guess who?

Photo Credit: David Ryder/Getty

That's right, Amazon announced this month that it is joining the growing list of employers that are banning their recruiters and employees from asking the salary history question. Amazon joins the following companies in making this decision:

  • American Express Co.

  • Bank of America

  • Cisco Systems Inc.

  • Facebook Inc.

  • Google LLC.

  • Wells Fargo & Co.

So, you're probably wondering... "How do I respond when answering the salary history question going forward?"

HINT: I have never revealed my current salary to any recruiter interviewing me.

First of all, before you begin to interview make sure you do your own research and understand what that position pays in the current market. Then, when asked this question simply state: " I would love to speak to the the value that I bring to the table as well as the market value for this position. Based on my own research for someone with my skills, education, and experience in this industry, I would be happy with something in the current market rate making my salary range fall between between X and Y. " Don't you say I never gave you any information for free...

Did you know that I offer career coaching that provides more information on this topic and salary negotiation skills? ->Click here<- to book a session today!

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