How to respond to requests for salary history, an entrepreneurial-focused podcast, plus a new book

By Suzanne Rust

Q and A

I’m applying for a job and they want to know my salary history. Do I have to tell them?

“Salary history is such a fraught issue that Massachusetts and other states have made it illegal for employers to ask about it,” says Lelia Gowland, founder of Gowland LLC, a consulting firm. Good job, Massachusetts—also New York City and Pittsburgh—but what about the rest of us?

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“Regardless of where you live, I’m a firm believer that you should be paid based on the work you’ll be doing in the new role, your new company and your market value [the ‘going rate’], not what you were making previously,” says Gowland. Let’s say an application includes a question about “current salary” or “expected salary.” It seem as though you have to fill it out, but you don’t, she says. Similarly, you don’t have to answer the question via email. Gowland recommends including a friendly note that encourages future conversation: “I look forward to discussing compensation once I’ve learned more about the position.” If they keep pushing, pivot with “Based on my experience and research of positions with a similar level of responsibility and scope in [city], I’m seeking a salary range of [range].” In the meantime, hold tight. Other states are pushing to banish this question from the job interview process.

Business Intelligence Podcast

Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson knows his way around a genius idea, and so do the people he’s tapped for his branded podcast, The Venture (iTunes). Entrepreneurs like reality television pioneer and cocreator of The Real World Jonathan Murray, the Bronner family of Dr. Bronner’s soap company and the team behind the satirical news outlet The Onion share how they turned vision into unique and successful businesses, warts and all.

Work-Related Wisdom

Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives by Adam J. Kurtz offers nuggets of work-related wisdom on subjects like happiness, rejection, success and one of our favorites, fun tips on “How to Stay Sane When You Work from Home.”