Interview Questions About Salary History

Image of dollar
Yuji Sakai / Digital Vision / Getty Images

Interviewers expect a candidate for employment to be able to provide the details of their compensation history. Be prepared to tell the interviewer how much you earned at each of your prior positions. An employer might even ask, “What were your starting and final levels of compensation?”

Questions about salary can by tricky. Make sure your answer to this question is honest and accurate. Also make sure that you explain to the employer any inconsistencies in your salary, such as a salary reduction.

How to Answer Interview Questions About Salary History

Read below for tips on how to prepare an answer, how to answer, and sample answers.

How to Prepare

The best way to prepare is to review your salary history. Note any changes in your salary over the course of each job, including pay raises, bonuses, and other increases in your benefits.

If you are unsure of the exact amount of your previous salaries, make sure to confirm the correct amount. Giving the wrong data to an interviewer can result in the interviewer revoking the job offer.

If you have trouble remembering the data, write this information down, along with the dates for each pay change. You might even bring this sheet of paper to the interview for your reference.

How to Answer

Make sure that what you tell the interviewer matches what you listed on your job application.

Don't exaggerate or inflate your earnings. Many employers will check references and confirm your salary history prior to making a job offer.

 A discrepancy between what you reported and what the employer says could knock you out of contention for the job. Again, coming to the interview with a salary history written down can help you avoid those errors.

Along with simply stating your starting and final salaries, you may also list any other benefits you received over time.

These might include bonuses or other perks. Sharing these with the interviewer will demonstrate other ways your former employer recognized your worth.

You might also note any big changes in responsibility that matched up with increases in salary. This will show that your former boss respected your work, and rewarded you with new opportunities.

Finally, explain any inconsistencies in your salary. For example, if your salary decreased for any reason, explain why. Perhaps you switched to part-time work while raising a family, or your salary decreased while other forms of compensation (insurance, other benefits, etc.) increased. Show the employer that you were still a valued member, and that your compensation properly reflected the work that you did.

Sample Answers

My initial salary was $X, and my final salary was $Y. However, this does not take into account the six bonuses I received while working there.

My initial salary was $X. Over the years, I took on more responsibilities, including managing my own team and running projects; these are type of responsibilities I know you are hoping your idea candidate can handle. Due to this increase in responsibility, my final salary was $Y.

When I began working at the company as a full-time grant writer, my salary was $X.

Over time, that was increased to $Y, in large part due to my successful record of receiving grants. When I became a part-time employee, my salary became $Z. However, I continued to receive annual bonuses and other benefits for my exceptional work.

Related Articles: How to Answer Job Interview Questions About Salary | How to Evaluate a Job Offer | How to Negotiate a Counter Offer

Job Interview Questions and Answers

Interview Questions and Answers
Typical job interview questions and sample answers.

Interview Questions to Ask
Questions for candidates for employment to ask the interviewer.