Select Page

It’s a prospective employer’s inquiry that legions of job applicants in Ohio and nationally puzzle over and hesitate to answer during job interviews.

And it has been a standard query for decades.

To wit: “How much did you make at your last job?”

From an applicant’s perspective, the discomfort over the question is understandable. If my response is deemed to be impressively low, will an offer be far south of what I was hoping for, or will hiring managers perhaps conclude that I’m unqualified for the job?

And what if my answer seems to be a nonstarter for being too high? Will some other person be offered the job I want because he or she looks more attractive from a saved-costs perspective?

Employers too can go through similarly complex calculations engendered by their own inquiry. Some might conclude that they can get enough germane information about hiring from interviewing a sizable applicant pool without asking “the salary question.” Others – and there are reportedly many – flatly insist that they need to solicit precise salary information to assess a position’s worth and to pay accurately for services rendered.

A recent New York Times article discusses the prior-salary topic in depth, noting that it has contributed to women being historically underpaid when they do the same work as men. A number of states and municipalities have responded to that by enacting don’t-ask legislation.

Many others haven’t, of course, and the Times does reference some negative outcomes that can materialize in the hiring process when employers forgo asking the question as a general rule.

An Ohio employer having questions or concerns regarding salary history inquiries or the implementation of company policies to address that matter and other employment considerations can contact a proven employment law firm for guidance.