If you're asked this question during an interview in a place where it's illegal, Rossein said you should politely remind the hiring manager that you don't have to answer it.
He suggests saying something such as, "Pardon me if I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that that question isn't legal here."
Immediately afterward, however, express that you're still interested in discussing compensation. You could follow up by saying, "However, I'm very interested in this job and would be happy to discuss compensation ranges and goals."
This shows that you are still cooperative, without potentially limiting yourself from a salary boost. Another way to shift the conversation from your current salary is to focus on the skills you bring to the table.
Nicole Hill Orisich, a career coach in New York City, said you could say something such as, "I'd love to talk about the value I bring to the table as well as the market value for this position. Based on my own research for someone with my skills in this industry, I believe market rate is somewhere between X and Y. I would be happy with something in this range."
The reality is that despite legal protections, not answering the question could potentially hurt your chances of receiving the job offer, Rossein notes. He adds that it would be hard to make your case in court.
"I think this is a very important development in law," Rossein said. "You're going to see a lot of legal activity around these salary issues."
Check out The gender pay gap in the US is still 20 percent—but millennial women are closing in on men