There is a lot of well-intentioned advice cautioning job seekers from disclosing their salary history and / or requirements. The wisdom (?) behind this is that you don’t want to get “low-balled” by asking for too little or be tagged over qualified by asking for too much.
So what’s the alternative? Apparently you wait until the employer is ready to make an offer, and naturally you NEVER accept the first offer. After all, who leaves money on the table, right?
Honestly, who comes up with this stuff????
I’m now a corporate recruiter, but let me put in a quick plug for my TPR brothers and sisters. Mr. Candidate, please understand that the recruiter is working to get you the strongest possible offer. You have no idea the negotiations that sometimes take place on your behalf. It is in the recruiter’s best interest to negotiate you the best deal possible. After all, the more you make, the more the recruiter pockets in commission. Then again, most successful recruiters (the ones you want to work with) are not blooming idiots and won’t try to get you more than you’re worth. We do like repeat business and no company wants to be taken advantage of.
Ah, but what about corporate recruiters? They’re just HR hacks aren’t they? Looking to pay as little as possible to save money on their puny budgets?
No. At least not this one.
So why does money matter so much? Why do we ask up front, and what business is it of ours that we know your previous salary? Personally speaking, I’m a control freak with an aversion to surprises. If a candidate is not willing to at least have a "ballpark" discussion I will not be presenting you to any of my hiring managers.
We want to make the placement. This goes for those on commission as well as internal recruiters. In fact, there’s possibly even MORE pressure internally, because guess what? I don’t get to choose who I work with. When I was an agency recruiter I could walk away from a crappy deal or a difficult hiring manager. Now I have to fill the position and I’ve got a limited window in which to do it. Getting to the offer stage and having no idea if we’re going to have a solid chance at acceptance is not going to work for me.
It’s in OUR best interest to get you a solid offer. Retention matters. Recruiters know if we try to low-ball you, even if you take the job, you won’t stay.
We expect that you know what you’re worth. The US Department of Labor can provide statistics on average salaries for most careers. Websites like salary.com or payscale.com can also give you some insight into what you can expect to earn. There’s no harm in asking what our range is, I have no problem telling you. Transparency goes both ways. I like a candidate who's done their homework.
“Salary Requirements” doesn’t mean how much you need to pay your bills. This is a giant misconception I run into all the time. Sometimes I ask this question and I get a laundry list of the family budget. What that has to do with the market rate for a Tier 3 Help Desk Admin in Seattle I have no idea. What I really mean is - what do you need to make in order to do this job?
There you have it, an honest view on salary discussions from a recruiter who’s been around the block a few times and got the t-shirt. What say you, RBC?