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Never Give Up Your Salary Details — Do This, Instead

12 Apr

It  is wonderful to see job-seekers waking up to realize they have more power in the hiring equation than they thought they did.

Employers can’t grow their businesses without great employees on board.

Job-seekers need to know that there are lots of badly-managed organizations that treat job-seekers like dirt. Almost everyone has run into one of those organizations at some point.

The faster you run away from organizations (and recruiters) who treat you badly, the sooner you’ll find the right people to collaborate with!

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Don’t give up your current or past salary details just because someone asks you to. What you get paid now and what you got paid at every job you’ve ever held is your personal information — and nobody else’s business.

Recruiters will ask for your salary  history and so will employers. If you run into the question “What did your past jobs pay?” on an online job application, here’s how to handle it.

Here is Frank on the phone with a recruiter who contacted Frank about a job opportunity the recruiter is trying to fill.

Recruiter: So Frank, what are you earning now?

Frank: I’m looking to earn at least $70K in my next job. If  the opportunity you contacted me about pays at least $70K then it could be a match. Is this job opportunity in that range?

Recruiter: I have a number of different job opportunities that could be a fit. That’s why I want to know your current salary, Frank.

Frank:  My salary target is $70K so that’s a good starting point. We’ve talked about my background and now you know my salary target. You haven’t shared any salary-range information with me, so let’s level the field. Is one of these jobs you called me about in the $70K range?

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Recruiter: A couple of them are. The thing is, Frank, if you tell me your current salary I can tell you whether or not you’re being paid fairly now.

Frank: You don’t need to know my salary to make that assessment. You know my job description and my background. I’ve  walked you through my 2016 accomplishments and my 2017 goals. You can tell me right now what you think I  should be paid for the job I’m in. What would you say a guy like me should be earning for this kind of work?

Recruiter: You see, Frank, my clients expect me to bring  them candidates with the candidate’s full salary history.

Frank: Wow — that is a shame. I really need to partner with a recruiter who has a more consultative relationship with their clients. If you follow orders from your clients rather than advising them on recruiting best practices — including the best practice of respecting a candidate’s privacy around their salary details — then how can I have confidence in you representing me?

Recruiter: That’s not fair, Frank. If I don’t give my clients what they ask for, they’ll work with someone else.

Frank: That is what’s  known as a commodity — something that is easily replaced. I wish you all the best in shifting your client relationships over time so that you are trusted adviser to your clients rather than an easily-replaceable commodity. I have confidence that you can engineer that process, but I won’t enable you in your fear of a client’s anger by giving you information — my salary history — that you don’t need.

Recruiter: You have a great background, Frank. I’m practically begging you here — just give me a range!

Frank: You haven’t given me a range! I asked you what would be a fair salary for a guy like me in a job like mine, and you changed the subject. It’s not a good match. I wish you all the best!

End of Script

Here is Frank on another call with a different recruiter:

Recruiter: So Frank, what are you earning now?

Frank: My salary target is $70K. Is that in line with the opportunity you have on your desk?

Recruiter: It is. They can go up to about $75K.

Frank: Okay,  great — then it makes sense for us to keep talking. What can you tell me about the job?

End of Script

The second recruiter may well have been asked by his or her client to collect every candidate’s salary history, but the second recruiter was smarter than the first one — or perhaps less fearful.

The second recruiter realized that in recruiting, it is easy to win the battle and lose the war.

The first recruiter let talented Frank slip away because they were too afraid of their client to tell them that Frank wouldn’t report his salary details.

The first recruiter failed in their duty to their client, because the client needs a talented person with Frank’s background.

The client also needs its third-party recruiters to be honest with them and tell them that it’s not cool to ask candidates for their salary details anymore — but the first recruiter was afraid to pass on that news!

We can only feel sorry for recruiters who fear their clients so much that they trample on candidates’ boundaries in their zeal to make their clients happy.

We can feel sorry for them — but you don’t have time and energy to waste on them!

Say “See ya!” to recruiters who push you for your salary details once you’ve made it clear that your financial information is nobody’s business but yours.

There are tons of recruiters in the world — hold out for the ones that deserve you!

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