What cha' Make?

There is a discussion over at Nick Corcodilos' "Ask The Headhunter" column about revealing your salary during the interview process.

Nick has counseled candidates to keep mum over this and I have disagreed with him. However this time he has clarified the situation a bit.

Please note that I don't tell job candidates to hide their salary from the headhunter. A good headhunter will not use the candidate's salary history to limit an offer. However, a smart candidate must make a judgment about a headhunter's negotiation style

Ok I agree with him now. However I think in his earlier column he didn't clarify this. I have had some candidate who patently refuse to tell me how much they are making. Some because they think it helps their negotiation process but you know what? In that situation we usually will try a lowball offer and test the reaction. If you balk we certainly will ask how far off we are. Pretty soon we will have it figured out.

Other candidates have refused to give salary information because "it's personal and I don't share that with other people". Look I understand that society has conditioned us not to tell our friends and neighbors and relatives what we are earning. That's fine. But recruiters are professionals. Just like you wouldn't refuse to get undressed for your doctor you shouldn't refuse to share that kind of information with a recruiter. Besides we have a pretty good idea what you should be at for your experience level anyway.

Remember as well that most companies don't have unlimited budgets when it comes to salaries. As is probably the case in your current company salaries are set (banded) by the compensation person in Human Resources. Once a salary band is set it is very difficult to get a company to move outside of it for just one candidate. It throws the whole "internal equity" thing out of whack.

So don't get this idea that you can ask for the moon unless you are someone very very unique in your field. If you want to know what your value is on the market ask around. Talk to a bunch of recruiters about what the current market conditions are. Then base your negotiation on that. Not on some idea that you have to score a home run by getting a 50% raise.

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