Asked by Tanya on May 3, 2018
Answered by Tom, Hiring Expert at VF Corporation, on May 4, 2018
Many states and municipalities are now banning employers from asking about salary history and using it to determine your starting point in new role. While there are other reasons, the biggest driver for this is because basing job offers on past salary history continues to perpetuate wage disparities between men and women...women often being paid less for the same job men are doing. There is no one source for all of the locales that ban salary history questions, but you should be able to find out pretty quickly via a search engine...important to know your rights ahead of time. Depending on the specific regulations, employers may still be able to ask about your salary expectations, which gives you a lot more flexibility considering your situation.
Assuming the employer can still ask you about your salary history, the best course of action is to just be upfront about it. Be prepared to tell them your story, I would be more interested in why you took the pay cut vs. that you took one. If it's the right employer, they will not hold it against you and they should be basing your pay on what the job warrants, not what you are making.
Answered by Sara, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on May 9, 2018
More and more companies no longer ask a candidate about their pay history during the application and interview process and in some cities and states employers are prohibited from asking candidates about prior pay. In the event you are asked, you can always answer the question by stating your salary expectations (which is still an allowable question by employers). When you provide the company with your expectations be sure to do some research and be realistic about what you expect - this should align with the work and nature of the job. If you are not certain what is appropriate for the position you can find a number of sites online where employees have provided their salary information. If you take that approach bear in mind that the information was provided by the employees and you do not know what they have included in their answers (for example if there was a relocation payment someone may have reported it as part of their annual pay though it is not a part of their base and is a one time payment to assist with moving expenses). In the end it is important to base your salary expectations based on the what the job is and you should factor in your prior pay for only similar positions. Good luck with your search!