Do you discuss salary history when asked?

P

peterj

#1
When a potential employer, recruiter, asks what you are making now, do you tell them?

Background: I was on the phone today with a recruiter, and I feel that they did not react in an objective manner after they realized that there is a 15k difference between "what I am looking for" and "what I get now". This made me aware that they did not read/understand my credentials. I think that this could have been avoided if I had not stated my current salary. Even though I already know that my resume was not read thoroughly, I feel that now its at the bottom of the pile, never to be re-read.

People pass judgment, thats a fact of life. How do you prevent yourself from being a target?
Thanks
 
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ScottK

Not out of the crisis
Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
peterj said:
When a potential employer, recruiter, asks what you are making now, do you tell them?

Background: I was on the phone today with a recruiter, and I feel that they did not react in an objective manner after they realized that there is a 15k difference between "what I am looking for" and "what I get now". This made me aware that they did not read/understand my credentials. I think that this could have been avoided if I had not stated my current salary. Even though I already know that my resume was not read thoroughly, I feel that now its at the bottom of the pile, never to be re-read.

People pass judgment, thats a fact of life. How do you prevent yourself from being a target?
Thanks
A pet peeve of mine when a recruiter asks within the first five minutes of a conversation what I make.
My standard answer is "never mind what I make, you have my resume so tell me what you can get me".
That rarely goes over well.
Perhaps that's not a good stategy to get by the gatekeeper, but oh well.
Kallisti!
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
peterj said:
When a potential employer, recruiter, asks what you are making now, do you tell them?

Background: I was on the phone today with a recruiter, and I feel that they did not react in an objective manner after they realized that there is a 15k difference between "what I am looking for" and "what I get now". This made me aware that they did not read/understand my credentials. I think that this could have been avoided if I had not stated my current salary. Even though I already know that my resume was not read thoroughly, I feel that now its at the bottom of the pile, never to be re-read.

People pass judgment, thats a fact of life. How do you prevent yourself from being a target?
Thanks
It is better to avoid that answer, but you can't when asked. If an employer or recruiter wants to know what you are making then the just run your SSN (Social Security Number) and they can find out. That is why you do want to be truthful when that question is asked.

The feeling that you thought about current and expected salary may have been a little off-target. Under most circumstances you can Expect a 10% increase from your current salary. Since you haven't stated what that was here in this posting and I wouldn't place it here that maybe that $15000.00 increase might have been a little too high from your current salary.

But your assumption of not reading your credentials may also come into play in my opinion.

Coury Ferguson
 
P

peterj

#4
Wow thanks for the quick responses. I think it may have been a mix of what you guys mentioned. I got the impression that the recruiter was not focusing on my credentials, but rather in the difference between salary levels.
For example, a friend of mine who is in the process of becoming a pharmacist, gets mediocre pay for being a pharmacy tech. However, when he passes his final exam this week, he will basically triple his salary. I think that’s fine. It’s not unfair to the rest of us; he put in the work to get the compensation he deserves.
I may be totally off base on my interpretation of the comments that were made over the phone, but my research has led me to believe that I am underpaid by 15k. I feel that the rate at which my salary increases is (or should be) based on the market value of my credentials, not on what I was making prior to certification.
So to make a long story short, what I'm taking from this is: yes eventually you need to tell them, and make sure you use proper tact.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#5
peterj said:
When a potential employer, recruiter, asks what you are making now, do you tell them?

Background: I was on the phone today with a recruiter, and I feel that they did not react in an objective manner after they realized that there is a 15k difference between "what I am looking for" and "what I get now". This made me aware that they did not read/understand my credentials. I think that this could have been avoided if I had not stated my current salary. Even though I already know that my resume was not read thoroughly, I feel that now its at the bottom of the pile, never to be re-read.

People pass judgment, thats a fact of life. How do you prevent yourself from being a target?
Thanks
The correct way to deal with this takes a lot of courage. You have to say, firmly, "I expect that you will be able to pay within the range of what this job is worth. Whatever money I make now, regardless if it is more or less, is immaterial to whether I am qualified to do the job.

If I answer you, and the salary I make now is higher than that range, you may be under the mistaken belief you are wasting your time talking to me. If the salary I make now is much lower than that range, you may feel you can pay me less than the job is worth.

Let me turn the tables on you slightly. You tell me what salary range you feel the job is worth. If it is too low, I will take myself out of the running. If it is a lot more than I am making now, you still need to decide whether I can do the job, Certainly, whatever I am making now has nothing to do with that decision. If it does, please explain how."

The reality is this is simply a ploy by experienced recruiters to get a good guy at a bargain rate because he is used to being exploited for low wages. It is also used by inexperienced recruiters who have NO IDEA why they ask the question or what they will do with the info once they have it. The value of a guy (based on his paycheck) is absolutely no predicter of how that guy will be in any other position.

I am currently holding some listings in the Queue before allowing them to be public for a difficult problem about the salary range where the post says, "more for senior guys, less for junior guys." I wonder if they also have a difference for males versus females or blacks versus whites?

Simply, if you are looking for senior guys, with lots of experience - say so! If you are willing to take junior guys with less experience and train them yourself, say so. There is a legitimate reason to pay more for a guy who can hit the ground running, because you don't have a nonproductive period while the guy learns the ropes.

If you don't know which you want or need (senior or junior), what else don't you know? If I want a senior guy in a position, I don't want to waste time with junior guys. If I want a junior guy to train in doing things my way, I don't want to waste the time of senior guys. Conversely, just because a guy has been working for 25 years, doesn't mean he is better than a guy working for one year.

A big problem in job listings is the major disconnect between most recruiters and the actual hiring officer. Like the parlor game of "Telephone," the story is often distorted as it passes from hand to hand. The secondary problem is that those recruiters then do not know enough to make a valid decision on the worth of a candidate.
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
As always Wes, your comments are well understood and have the right approach when dealing with the "Difficult" question regarding Salary. I have never thought of answering that question with the type of question that you have suggested. Maybe someday I would try that.

As for Recruiters: They start out working for the Company until the discussions of salary come up. They are paid by the company who chose to contract with, but when Salary comes to play it now can affect the amount that they get from the Employer. It almost appears as a conflict of interest, but that is the way most recruiters work.

Are you serious about what some of the Job Postings are saying since now you review and release for forum review? It doesn't surprise me.

Coury Ferguson
 
M

mtncrawler

#7
I was just asked this - or a variation of this - in an initial first interview (one-on-one) with an HR kind. The question was - "What are your salary expectations?".

I answered, basically, that there were many questions I had regarding the job duties, responsibilities and, if chosen or deemed qualified to extend an offer to, what the whole benefit package looked like overall, so I could not give you a good answer.

I was then asked, "Could you say what your minimum would be?"(kinda raised the hair on the back of my neck a bit). I answered, again, with much of the same dialogue.

I should note that the information about the job was limited to the ad, there was no previous discussion regarding the job. This person was probably not the one to actually talk technical details with either and their initial questions were garden variety HR questions.

It'll be interesting if I get a second call - they did however forward me an app to fill out!
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#8
I look at this simply. I look at the company, location, benefits claimed, etc., and then tell them my requirements. I would rather be up front and say "I need US$78K a year (or whatever) to be happy from what I know so far from our discussion" or something similar.

What is important to me is my expectations / requirements. If I'm 'too expensive', let's get that out of the way and stop the process.

But then I don't care if people know what I charge or how much $ it will take for me to be happy in a full time job.

I suggest people look into their specific situation and give them a figure. What's the minimum? In my case I'm not going anywhere (in the US) for less than US$80K. But - For example, let's say that job is in California. I'm on Ohio dollars. For most of California add US$50K. It it's in Utah, I might consider US$70K.

When I contracted with Motorola I charged a heck of a lot more than I charged a small 15 person company up the road a few miles. I charged Harley-Davidson less than I charged Motorola. The scope of each project was different. Consulting / contracting is no different than in a full time position.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#9
Marc said:
I look at this simply. I look at the company, location, benefits claimed, etc., and then tell them my requirements. I would rather be up front and say "I need US$78K a year (or whatever) to be happy from what I know so far from our discussion" or something similar.

What is important to me is my expectations / requirements. If I'm 'too expensive', let's get that out of the way and stop the process.

But then I don't care if people know what I charge or how much $ it will take for me to be happy in a full time job.

I suggest people look into their specific situation and give them a figure. What's the minimum? In my case I'm not going anywhere (in the US) for less than US$80K. But - For example, let's say that job is in California. I'm on Ohio dollars. For most of California add US$50K. It it's in Utah, I might consider US$70K.

When I contracted with Motorola I charged a heck of a lot more than I charged a small 15 person company up the road a few miles. I charged Harley-Davidson less than I charged Motorola. The scope of each project was different. Consulting / contracting is no different than in a full time position.
Certainly, folks who paid attention to our two threads
Resume and cover letter - How good are yours?
Tips to get past the "gatekeeper" when job hunting
would know BEFORE they got to that point what the approximate range should be for the position. An alternate answer to the question of "How much do you make now?" is another statement and question:
"I researched the pay rates for this type of position and the range is $___ to $____ . How does that range fit with what you are expecting to pay?"

At its worst, this turnaround will cause the recruiter to hang up then and there. If he does, good riddance! He was a time waster. At its best, the guy will ignore the fact you didn't answer his question and he will answer yours. In such a case, you will have a WIN-WIN situation!
 
G

Greg B

#10
Coury Ferguson said:
It is better to avoid that answer, but you can't when asked. If an employer or recruiter wants to know what you are making then the just run your SSN (Social Security Number) and they can find out. That is why you do want to be truthful when that question is asked.
An employee can access what you make at another company???? I don't think that would go down to well in Australia. My response is NO. I don't discuss what I am getting because it may well be a different [position with different responsibilities and requirements. No two jobs are the same and neither should be the salary. I agree with Wes, it is a ploy to get you at a bargain price.
 
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