12 jobs where you’re more likely to get asked everyone’s least favorite interview question

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No one likes to answer the salary history question.
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CandyraiN/Shutterstock

Most people aren’t huge fans of pay history interview questions.

In fact, New York City, among other locations, has banned that particular query, citing income inequality.

That being said, it’s still legal elsewhere. And, as it turns out, people in certain occupations are more likely to face the question during job interviews than others.

Salary website PayScale recently released a report on which workers get asked about their salary history the most.

Between April and June of this year, they surveyed 15,413 site users, asking each respondent if they were ever asked to disclose their salary at previous jobs.

“What we saw in this study is that more senior, higher-paid workers are the ones more likely to be asked about their salary history,” PayScale vice president of content strategy Lydia Frank tells Business Insider. “But, they are also more likely to refuse to disclose it.”

What’s more, Frank adds that the study indicated that this interview question can have a more negative impact on female candidates.

“Women who were asked and declined to disclose received lower offers than similarly qualified women who provided the pay number when asked,” Frank says. “However, male candidates actually received higher offers when they refused to disclose.”

Overall, though, she says candidates are usually impacted negatively when they reveal a low salary number. “When it comes down to it, there are better ways for employers to either set pay for a position or to understand whether a candidate is ‘too expensive,'” Frank says.

Based on PayScale’s findings, here are the 12 occupations where you’re most likely to get asked about your pay history:


12. Marketing manager

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Mikhail Goldenkov/Strelka Institute/Flickr

Marketing managers direct marketing teams and execute plans to meet company marketing goals.

Percentage of marketing managers who were asked about salary history: 51%


11. Employment recruiter

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nd3000/Shutterstock

Employment recruiters help institutions find, vet, and hire new employees.

Percentage of employment recruiters who were asked about salary history: 52%


9 (tie). Receptionist

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Philipp Guelland / Stringer / Getty Images

Receptionists offer administrative support and typically greet office visitors.

Percentage of receptionists who were asked about salary history: 53%


9 (tie). Regional sales manager

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Cass Chin/flickr

Regional sales managers lead sales teams, setting sales quotas for a certain region.

Percentage of regional sales managers who were asked about salary history: 53%


8. Research scientist

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UC Davis College of Engineering/flickr

Research scientists gather and interpret research in a range of fields.

Percentage of research scientists who were asked about salary history: 54%


7. Account manager

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Flickr / Jamie

Account managers are assigned to work with certain clients or customers on behalf of their company.

Percentage of account managers who were asked about salary history: 55%


6. Senior software engineer

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Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design/Flickr

Senior software engineers program and test computer software.

Percentage of senior software engineers who were asked about salary history: 57%


5. Information technology director

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Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design/Flickr

IT directors oversee an organization’s IT functions and computer resources.

Percentage of IT directors who were asked about salary history: 58%


4. Marketing director

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Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design/Flickr

Marketing directors oversee an organization’s entire marketing operation.

Percentage of marketing directors who were asked about salary history: 59%


3. Operations director

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Andrew Wippler/Flickr

Operations directors oversee an organization’s systems and processes, ensuring efficiency and optimization.

Percentage of operations directors who were asked about salary history: 60%


2. Human resources manager

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Flickr/USDAgov

Human resources managers lead HR services in an organization, overseeing the recruitment and management of talent.

Percentage of HR managers who were asked about salary history: 62%


1. Senior financial analyst

Financial analysts interpret financial data and examine economic conditions in order to make recommendations to clients.

Percentage of senior financial analysts who were asked about salary history: 64%