Why should job-seekers provide salary history?

How do hiring companies justify needing a candidate’s salary history? Especially in light of the fact that positions with similar titles at different companies often have substantially different performance objectives.

How do hiring companies justify needing a candidate’s salary history? Especially in light of the fact that positions with similar titles at different companies often have substantially different performance objectives.

How could your salary history be relevant to the market value of your ability to do the job for which you are applying? Or for that matter, how could it be relevant to the worth a hiring company places on having the job performed well?

Some human resource professionals support the need for applicants to provide salary information. Is it really necessary? They will justify the practice of requiring salary histories by mentioning benchmarking, wanting to see a history of progression, the need to stay within defined salary ranges and/or as an effort to save time. Some will go so far as to admit that it is how they know how to structure an offer of employment.

Some companies balk at divulging hiring ranges, noting the need to manage expectations. On the surface, this argument appears to have merit. Human nature being what it is, when a hiring pay range is quoted, candidates only hear the top figure.

Even so, companies can easily manage expectations by making it clear that where a specific offer falls within a hiring range depends on the degree a candidate’s qualifications meet the position requirements.

So, why do companies really require salary histories? One of the justifications noted above has some truth: salary histories are used to structure offers of employment. Or to rephrase that from the job seeker’s perspective, current or most recent salary information is used to restrict the leverage you, the candidate, may have to negotiate salary.

A company, which pays a competitive wage for quality work fosters a commitment to excellence and understands that happy employees improve profits [for quote], is one that will ultimately have a competitive advantage, and one that will be worth working for.

 

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