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How to Get an Employee's Salary History

When looking into candidates, you want to be certain you find the right person for the job--someone worth their wages!

See Also: How to Add a Salary Requirement to Your Cover Letter

If you want to study a potential employee’s salary history, it is fully within your legal rights as a prospective employer. It will give you an idea of how much this candidate is worth. Perhaps they have been earning more than you can afford to pay, or their pay rate has been much lower than someone in their position should earn. Looking at a salary history will help you understand what you’re going to get from a prospective employee.


But how can you get an employee’s salary history? It’s a sensitive subject, and one that many employees are unwilling to discuss. So how can it be done?

1. Job Application

It’s perfectly legal for you to ask the applicant for their salary history, though they are not obligated to reply. To navigate around this issue, add it as a "mandatory" field to fill out on the online application. Candidates will not be able to submit their application without filling it out, so using the digital form is a good way to collect this data.

It’s highly unlikely that the employee will flat-out refuse to provide salary history, or at least some details regarding their earnings in previous jobs. This question may raise an eyebrow or two, but for the most part, it’s not going to be a problem.

2. Ask them to Bring it to the Interview

If you don’t want to include this question on the job application, you can always discuss it in the telephone interview. For the candidates that you are considering hiring, ask them to bring the information to the face-to-face interview you are scheduling.

Be prepared for them to ask why you need it, and you can use any of the reasons below:

  • To be certain that we can pay you what you are worth
  • To be certain we can offer you more than your previous company
  • It’s a company policy to find out how potential employees performed in their previous jobs

Some of these reasons will be more effective than others, so try them out to see which gets the best results!

3. Ask for it Via Email

If you are inviting the employee to an interview or exchanging emails, ask them to provide you a copy of their salary history digitally. They don’t need to attend the face-to-face meeting, but they can send it to you via email.

4. Research via Payscale

If you want to know how much the person should be worth, visit PayScale and see how much employees in their current position earn. PayScale will give you an average income, as well as the industry minimum and maximum. 

5. Don't Let them Refuse

You are legally allowed to ask candidates for their salary history, and they are legally allowed to refuse--but they may not know that. You can use that lack of knowledge to your advantage, and press them for their salary history, saying, "To be considered for the position, we need that salary history."

See Also: How Your Personality Could Determine Your Salary

By following these tips, you can get your employees’ salary history and see exactly how much their time and efforts are worth!