This week at Verify, our consultant Rose Farrell is answering a common candidate question. When professional job seekers are in discussion with recruiters and interviewers, the question of current salary can often cause concern and confusion, so we would like to shed some light on the issue from our point of view for you.

Do I have to tell my recruiter (or my interviewer) my current salary?

Short answer – probably not. The more information I have, the more I can do to help you but you literally don’t have to share anything you don’t want to.

Salary information is an interesting one. There are states in the US where it is now illegal to ask for current salary information as part of the job process. Personally, I don’t think it’s too relevant. The salary you’re targeting now is what is relevant.

Feel free to refuse to tell a recruiter your current salary. Be nice about it and if they have a solid need for that information – they’ll tell you.

Saying that, these are the general reasons that I might ask.

1) You’ve said “I don’t know” when we ask what your targeted salary is. If I know your current salary, I can add about 15% on to it and we’ve got a salary for your new role. This figure can vary wildly depending on the calibre of the new job compared to old, the responsibilities, the benefits, etc etc. But industry average for Technology jobs is about a 15% increase.

2) You’ve quoted me a completely weird target salary. It’s really low or it’s really high compared to the market. So, I’d like to know if you’re being drastically underpaid in your current job, in which case this might be a nice time to nudge you up to market level. If it’s super high, I’d like to know if I’m being played or if there’s a company paying really high salaries.

3) Sometimes the client asks us for it. I have had clients that refuse to move forward without current salary information. It happens and it’s often in highly regulated industries where they need to keep salaries within certain bandwidths and don’t want to get themselves into a situation where they will end up paying salaries that are higher than budgeted.

4) This is the reason that y’all super don’t care about. 😊 Recruiters always really want to know what is going on in the jobs market. How much are people in Tech being paid? Are there big movements happening in a company? What’s going to be the new skill every client is going to want us to source? Asking you what your salary is helps us to keep our finger on the pulse of the market. We’re curious. We want to know what you’re doing in your job and what is happening in the industry.


Rose Farrell is a recruitment consultant with Verify Recruitment. She will be answering questions weekly, so if you have any career or recruitment questions for Rose to answer next week, comment on our page on LinkedIn, tweet @VerifyCommunity or send them over to [email protected]