NodeFlair Explains: Answering "What's your last drawn salary?"


Ah, the dreaded question. It's hard to think of a more awkward and intimidating one to answer than “What’s your last drawn salary?” during a job interview (maybe asking for a pay raise comes close to it)

It's a question that leaves you feeling like you're put in an impossible situation--answer honestly and risk pricing yourself out of the job or try to skim over the answer only to be met with suspicion.

We've all been there, so don't worry! In this article, we'll break down some of the do's and don'ts when it comes to answering this awkward but necessary question.

We'll give you tips on how to tackle it with confidence and ease—so you can nail your next interview! After reading this piece, you'll be prepared to field any salary-related questions like the professional you are!

Why do employers ask for your last drawn salary?

During job interviews, it is common to be asked what your last drawn salary was. Interviewers ask this question because they want to gain insight into your market value and gage how much salary you expect for the position you are applying for.

They may also want to use your past pay as a way to get an approximation of how much to offer you, should you fit their criteria.

Many employers even require the last drawn pay of job applicants before they can get the approval to hire them.

In short, you don't have to worry if you're asked about your past salary—many employers ask this question as part of their standard job interview process!

Knowing why employers ask this question can help to put your mind at ease, so keep these details in mind before heading into any job interviews.

Can employers insist on requesting last drawn salaries in Singapore?

It’s not uncommon for employers to ask about your last drawn salary, but you should know that it’s perfectly legal for them to do so! In Singapore, companies can ask about your salary history and even request for your latest pay slips.

However, they are not legally allowed to insist on a job applicant's declaration of last drawn salaries.

At the same time, employers should not use an applicant's past salary history to determine the wages for their new position. Instead, focus on discussing the value you can bring to the company during the hiring process, such as through highlighting your skills and relevant experiences.

In short: don’t feel obliged to reveal your past salary! Know that it is perfectly within your rights to remain tight-lipped if you find yourself in this situation.

How to politely and firmly decline sharing last drawn salary?

You may not know this, but you actually don't have to disclose your last drawn salary to an interviewer if you don't feel comfortable doing so. Instead, it's best to politely decline and explain a desire for fair negotiation.

Here's a sample script:

"I understand that it is important for the budgeting process, however I am not comfortable disclosing my salary history at this present time. My previous salary was based on different circumstances and responsibilities, and I would like to focus on the value I can bring to this role and how we can work together to reach a fair and competitive compensation package. Would it be possible to discuss the salary range for this position instead?"

This lets the interviewer know that while you may not be willing to share exact figures with them, you are open to discussing salary at some point in the future.

Ultimately, being honest and upfront about your feelings when it comes to salary can help create a positive atmosphere for negotiation later on down the line.

What to do when the interviewer insists on you sharing your last drawn salary?

There are situations where the interviewer requires your last drawn salary for budgeting purposes, so if the interviewer insists on knowing your last drawn salary for budgeting purposes, you could respond with something like:

"I understand your need for budgeting purposes, but I don't believe that my previous salary would be the best indicator of my potential contribution to this company. Instead, I would prefer to focus on the responsibilities and expectations of the new role and the market value of this position. Could you provide me with the salary range for this position, and we can work together to see if my salary expectations align with the budget for this role?"

If there is still insistence from the interviewer, it is up to you to determine if you are comfortable with sharing the information or if you would like to continue redirecting the conversation towards discussing the salary range for the current position, or your salary expectations.

In such cases, doing your research to understand the current market salary range for the position can be crucial as you don't want to undersell yourself.

Ultimately, you want to make sure that you don't compromise your negotiating power by sharing your previous salary and that you are being fairly compensated for your skills and experience.


Answering the question of “what’s your last drawn salary” in an interview can be a tricky question to navigate. What’s important is to remember your worth and be truthful. Be sure to be accurate, trustworthy, and succinct with your answer. Ask for more details if the question seems too broad and remember to give an answer that is both professional and casual.

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