Have any of you had a non-disclosure agreement concerning the terms of your employment, i.e. specifically stating that you shouldn’t discuss those terms (including compensation and other benefits) outside of your immediate family and spouse? If so, do you see this as a good or bad thing, and how do you handle it with potential employers?
For myself, I generally don’t like talking compensation till we’re very close to an offer. If a recruiter or prospective employer asks me for my details, I say I’m happy to discuss at a time when we both think is fit, but early on we’re trying to determine if there’s a mutual fit. Some employers will be insistent on getting employment numbers such as my past compensation history (which I’m always averse to discussing – not sure how that’s really helpful anyway since I want to be paid for what I’m doing in the future, not what I’ve done in the past). Occasionally I’ll find someone that really only wants to talk to me if I meet their employment parameters. However, I don’t believe in showing my entire hand and instead I’ll just ask them what the salary range is they’re looking for. If they are dodgy about it (in the same way that they probably think I’m being dodgy by not telling them), then the meeting typically ends shortly thereafter. It usually doesn’t get to this point though, and an experienced interviewer should know to focus on fit first and comp discussions later.
The reason for this is because if you quote too high of a salary history, you might be pricing yourself out of the market; if you quote one that’s too low, you open up the opportunity for them to lowball you or think you’re not as qualified.
That said, what do you tell an employer when you’ve signed a contract saying that you can’t disclose the exact terms of your agreement (i.e. can you actually be legally bound for something like that)? Also, assuming that I would actually want to disclose my compensation with someone else, what would I do? Or, do you think there’s really no benefit to volunteering that information anyway?