March 9, 2018

Author: Jerry Brennan  

Group of Business People Sitting in a Lobby Waiting to Interview. Is Your Salary History Relevant?

Can prospective employers ask you for details about your salary history? Currently that might depend on where the job is located. But that is about to change.

Changes are coming to the always-awkward part of an interview when a potential employer asks about your salary history. Certain states and cities in the US have already passed laws that ban potential employers from asking candidates about salary history. Some large, well-known employers are following suit. Others are sure to follow.

The goal of this this shift in what companies can ask you regarding salary history is to neutralize the playing field for all applicants. Compensation details about past jobs that may not have paid you fairly cannot be in play regardless of your gender. Whether these laws will have the hoped-for effect is up for debate, but you will likely find some changes in place when you next interview.

What does this mean for employers?

This shift means companies need to have a clearly defined salary range in place for the position ahead of the interview cycle. They must understand the value of their security positions on the open market in addition to within their own enterprise. Accurate benchmarking will be critical and organizations must further their brand as a desirable place to work that compensates fairly. None of these are new ideas, but they are especially top of mind now.

What kind of salary questions can you be asked?

Companies may begin to ask what compensation expectations candidates have in mind for their next role rather than dealing with salary specifics of the one in play. Some may post ranges in the clear on their job listings.

Performing pre-interview due diligence has always been important. Research salary ranges for security positions like the one you are interested in and factor in variables such as market location, company size and brand reputation. Again, none of these steps are new, but they are important ones to ensure you are well informed before you go into an interview.

The salary for any given role is only one component in your choice to take the job. As always, you must evaluate whether the position is a fit for your security career. The idea that companies will likely be more transparent in the future about their pay philosophy will simply give you more data points to consider when making your decision.

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