>Welcome to the latest edition of What Would CUSS Readers Do? Today, the royal we here at CUSS seek feedback on salary histories. The issue came up yesterday when I decided to apply for a job that required a salary history in order to consider the application complete.

My feeling (and Husband's) is that salary histories are bogus. An organization that seeks to hire someone has an idea of what the job is worth. If they find a candidate that they like, they should offer them that salary. What the person earned prior to that job is irrelevant, as they did not perform that job at that company. Further, it is no one's fucking business what I earned at other jobs. Until the search committee is prepared to tell me what they earn, I am not sure why it helps to know what I earned.

Yesterday, a friend argued with me, saying that she used the information to determine whether or not a person would even consider the job. Again, I think that is a strange way to determine one's interest in a job. Perhaps for a variety of reasons, a candidate would accept a different salary for doing a different job. How would a recruiter know that unless the candidate was asked directly? If a company does not want to waste their time with a candidate who would not be interested in the position based on salary, and they do not want to reveal in advance what that salary is, then why not just contact the person and ask, "Hey, what salary do you require?" instead of playing guessing games?

What do you think? Do salary histories help employer's find appropriate employees, or are they merely ways to (potentially under)pay people based on past jobs that may have no bearing on the job that is to be performed? (Yeah, loaded question, I know.)