How and When to Disclose Your Salary Requirements

Knowing when and how to disclose your salary requirements can help you obtain the salary you want when you accept a new position. Employers often ask for your salary requirements when you apply for a position. Knowing when and how to disclose these requirements can mean the difference between getting an interview and being screened out before the process begins.

In this article, you will learn when you should disclose your salary requirements and how to do it in a way that increases your chances of getting an interview.

How to Determine Your Salary Requirements

The salary you are willing to accept for a position is generally based on several factors, including:

  • Your work history and experience
  • Your salary history
  • Your skills and abilities
  • The cost of living in the job area
  • The industry you work in
  • Your education level and university degrees in some cases


Be sure you know your value in the labor market. The best way to find out what you are worth to an employer is to consult an online salary survey to find the average salary for your position or a similar position. Also, use a salary calculator to adjust for the cost of living in the job’s area. There are several salary calculators available online. Using these tools will provide you with a better idea of your worth in a particular location.

Are You Required to Provide Your Salary History?

Many job applications request your salary history. Employers may provide an area on the application for this information, or they may ask for your salary history. A typical salary history is a document containing the following information for each of your past employers:

  • Employer name
  • Your position title
  • Your salary
  • Benefits package

Tip! In some cities and states, employers cannot legally require you to disclose your salary history. Check with your state’s Department of Labor to find out if local employers can require this information. You can also check state and local law for more information.

When and How to Disclose Your Salary Requirements

If an employer does not request the salary you are willing to accept, it’s best not to mention it. However, if an application or a job posting requests this information, you should provide it. Here are some tips on how to disclose your salary requirements and keep yourself in the running for the position you want.

  • Keep your salary requirements brief. Mention them if you are asked to, but keep this statement concise. Doing this allows the employer to focus on your experience and skills rather than your salary needs.
  • Offer a salary range rather than a number. After you have done the salary research for the position, offer a preferred salary as a range. Doing so leaves both you and the employer some room to discuss your salary. Stating that your salary requirements are $40,000 to $45,000 leaves a lot of space for negotiation. You can also list your salary history as ranges rather than specific amounts.
  • State that your salary is negotiable. Staying flexible on the salary you will accept is quite helpful to the application process. At the very least, state that you are willing to negotiate and leave this open until you get to the interview process. At that point, if you must discuss your anticipated salary, you have some flexibility already built-in.
  • Consider the benefits package. You may be willing to accept a slightly lower salary based on the provided benefits. Is there a stock option? What are your costs for health, disability, and life insurance? Does the organization match your 401(k) contributions? Is there a sign-on bonus, or are there regular bonuses for this position? These are questions that can impact your salary needs, as they are all part of the total compensation package.