Do employers verify previous salaries?


I would like to know if anyone had a potential employer verify their previous salaries?

I've read several articles stating it's not a good idea to accept employment with a lower salary because it does not look good. However, I have never had an employer verify or check my previous salary? How would they know, unless I told them or brought in proof of income for them to see? Is this different in the nursing profession?

I got a call for a community college RN position requesting that I apply again because they have a open position. I applied two years ago. It's a $ 13.00 dollar paycut for me. :unsure: The salary is posted on their website. It would be an opportunity for me to get experience in employee health and I'm desperate to leave my current employer for numerous reasons. I'm hesitant to leave my "stable" position and take a chance for lower pay elsewhere. I would also be out of my comfort zone because I have not worked employee health or in a community college. If I accepted the job, and want to return to another nursing job, will accepting a lower paying position come back to haunt me. What would you do?

KelRN215, BSN, RN

1 Article; 7,349 Posts

Specializes in Pedi. Has 16 years experience.

Why would taking a pay cut hurt you as far as future jobs are concerned? Certain specialties/environments pay less than others. If it's worth it to you to take the pay cut, take the pay cut.

pmabraham, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 2,560 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

Good day:

Personally I would rather put on any paperwork requiring previous salary information, "not applicable" rather than lie.

As someone who did check references in the past, I would check salary ranges; so it is not off limits that some would get specific.

At the interview stage, and only if asked, you can explain your situation as to why the question is not applicable. It shouldn't impact what they were planning to pay in the first place.

Thank you.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Absolutely not. There are legal ramifications of "colluding" with other employers to determine a salary. It is a 'restraint of trade' practice that can get a company in hot water for "fixing salaries". I know of recent instances in which this has been investigated by the Feds, and at least one of those went to trial. But, if you are claiming a previous salary that is waay out of whack in hopes that you will be offered a higher starting wage the HR folks are unlikely to believe it because they can access information on the prevailing wages for most types of positions by geographic area.

Salaries have to be determined by a specific set of parameters - the most important being "market value". Essentially, this is the average industry wage for that position. It can be derived from third party surveys or other objective information sources, but an employer CANNOT call up the competition and ask them what they are paying.

Organizations have to have compensation structures that determine what certain jobs are paid - usually expressed in terms of minimum, midpoint, and maximum for that job. There may be some add-ons for particular qualifications (higher degree, certification, etc) but there can't be a lot of variation because that would give rise to claims of discrimination... different pay for the same job. And that is a huge NO-NO. Note that 'years of experience' is not an add-on, it is used to determine where (in the range) to place your initial salary. For example, Newbies would get minimum but 5 years of experience would get you to mid-point.


412 Posts

Specializes in Trauma-Surgical, Case Management, Clinic.

I applied for a job and requested a copy of my background check. When it arrived I was able to see everything they checked. They checked everything. On my employment verification checks there was a place to verify salary. None of them gave my salary but I didn't realize that it was legal to even ask HR what someone's salary is. They only verified dates of employment.