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How to Avoid Disclosing Your Current Salary to a Recruiter

When you’re looking for a new job, the question of how much to disclose about your current salary can be difficult to answer. You don’t want to seem like you’re undervaluing yourself or giving away too much information and lowballing yourself in the negotiation process. At the same time, you want to come across as a helpful team player. In this guide, we’ll discuss whether or not to disclose your current salary to a recruiter and give you some tips on how to avoid sharing that information if you choose to keep it private. 

Should I disclose my current salary?

When you’re applying for a new job, one of the first things that employers will ask is what your current salary is. While this may seem like an innocent question, there’s actually more at play than just getting to know you. When a recruiter asks about your current salary, they’re trying to determine the value of a potential employee, and therefore what they can pay you in the future. 

In many cases, recruiters will look at your current salary as a benchmark for what your skills are worth in the marketplace. Unfortunately, this can lead to problems if there are discrepancies in how much you’ve been paid compared to similar roles at other companies. For example, if you were hired as an intern and your pay wasn’t adjusted when you joined a company full-time, your salary may be far below the industry standard. Or perhaps you were hired at a company that pays higher than normal for an employee in your role and level of experience. Both cases can be tricky situations to navigate when sharing your current salary during the hiring process. 

Despite these risks, there are situations where it may make sense to disclose your salary.Iif you’re looking for a position in another field and want to make sure that you’re being offered the same rate as other candidates in your industry, then you can share your ideal salary range. While this isn’t your current salary per se, you could say your salary requirement is between $65,000 to $70,000, for example.

Additionally, if an employer requires this information up front in order to move forward with the hiring process and you’re confident that your current pay reflects what you’re worth, then there’s no harm in sharing that information with them. 

Can employers legally ask for my current salary?

According to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, employers are prohibited from asking about your current salary or making an offer based solely on it. While this law is designed to help prevent wage discrimination, there are some exceptions. 

However, just because an employer doesn’t legally have the right to request your current salary doesn’t mean they won’t try. For example, recruiters may ask for your current salary in order to determine if you’re within a reasonable pay range for a position. Additionally, some states have laws that allow employers to ask candidates about their current pay as long as they don’t disclose that information when determining compensation.

3 steps to keep your salary private during a job search

While you might feel obligated to give up this information right away when applying for jobs or speaking with recruiters, it’s important to remember that there are ways to get around disclosing your current salary. Here are some tips on how to avoid revealing this sensitive information:

1. Use common sense and discretion

If you’re looking for a new job and want to keep your salary private, the best approach is to be smart about how and when you disclose this information. For example, don’t let recruiters or potential employers know your current salary off the bat – instead, ask if they can provide an overview of the compensation package that comes with the position so that you can get a more accurate idea of what it would be like working there. If they insist on knowing your current pay beforehand, explain that you’d prefer to avoid sharing this information in order to make sure that negotiations are fair and equitable. If they are aggressive, this may be a red flag about the company, or even that they were violating the Equal Pay Act. 

2. Do some research on typical rates before applying

One way to avoid disclosing your current salary is to put in some effort in beforehand and do your research on what a typical salary is for the position you’re applying for. By getting an idea of what others are making, you’ll be able to confidently negotiate payment later on and avoid underselling yourself because you were operating with incomplete information. Remember to always go a bit higher than your actual salary requirements, as employers will expect you to negotiate. 

3. Be honest about what you’re looking for when negotiating

When faced with the question of how much money you want in a new role, it’s important to speak up and advocate for what you deserve based on your skills and experience level. Whatever number you give will likely fall within a certain range of pay – whether that’s lower or higher than what the employer offered initially is largely dependent on how effectively you negotiate compensation. So, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself if you feel that you’re worth more than they’ve offered.

With the right strategy, you can successfully avoid disclosing your current salary to a recruiter. Whether you choose to negotiate for a higher starting salary based on what you bring to the table or find other ways of communicating your value as an employee, being upfront about this issue will help keep your compensation from becoming a factor during negotiations down the line.

Whatever strategy you choose, disclosing your salary is a personal choice and will depend on many factors, including how much confidence you have in your current pay, whether or not you’re willing to take a risk that could result in earning less with your new employer, and what kind of market research you do beforehand. By standing firm and focusing on what truly matters – your skills and experience – you can successfully navigate this tricky situation without jeopardizing your paycheck in the process. 


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