If a recruiter asks you in an interview what you currently make, do you deflect their question with something like
" I’d rather talk about what I’m worth than what I’m currently making" or do you answer the question head-on and confidently because you don’t want to break rapport?
Sorry, Recruiters! You’re Not Getting My Salary History Mar 21, 2015
They say that if you’re going to tell a lie, the best way to do it is to make it a big lie, and to tell it over and over again. In the recruiting arena, we’ve been telling this lie for decades:
“We have to ask job-seekers for their salary history, so that we can extend a job offer that is appropriate.”
That’s a lie and it also makes no sense. When you call a plumber to come and fish a kid’s sock out of a tub drain, do you ask the plumber what he charged the last person who called him with a similar request? No! You ask the plumber “What are your rates?”
If you don’t like the plumber’s hourly rate, you don’t hire the plumber – case closed!
A job applicant’s salary history is none of your business, and the job-seeker’s current salary is also none of your business. All you need to hand over as a job-seeker is your current salary target. How was that target salary derived? That’s your business and no one else’s.
An employer is not going to tell job-seekers what it’s paying current employees. An HR person who demands your current or past salary is not going to tell you what s/he’s getting paid – so why should you provide that information?
The only reason most of us have gotten used to the idea that employers have the right to know their job applicants’ past or current salaries is that we’ve grown up with the understanding that employers call the shots in the hiring process. That idea is a_frame_, or mental model. It’s so ingrained in us that we don’t even see it. We accept it unconsciously as the way things are.
Any employer who treats the recruiting process as an unequal equation where the employer’s power is greater than the job candidate’s power is an employer that doesn’t deserve talented people on its team.
Why would you want to spend your precious time and energy working with people who began their relationship with you by telling you that they’ll make the rules, and you’ll follow them?
It’s a new day. Smart organizations have already figured out that they won’t get great people to work for them, much less keep them, by treating them like cattle.
Hidebound, stuck-in-the-past employers still treat job-seekers badly. Their message to job applicants is “Who cares about you, or about your privacy? I need your salary history, period!”
Of course they want your salary history! That information gives an employer leverage in the negotiation process. If you knew what they were paying their current employees and if you knew what the pain of the job vacancy was costing the organization, you’d have leverage too.
That’s why at Human Workplace, we teach job-seekers to run their careers like businesses. You have to know a lot about the types of Business Pain you solve - including the cost of that Business Pain to anybody who suffers from it!
Unfortunately, most job-seekers don’t know what kind of Business Pain they solve, or what it costs. They’re happy to pass on their salary information to anyone who asks.
We are learning new approaches now and growing new muscles! Your salary details are just as private as the balance of your checking account. It’s nobody’s business but yours!
Let’s say you’re earning $54K now but you know you’re underpaid. You’ve done your research so you know that jobs like yours typically pay $68-$70K. When the recruiter calls you to tell you about an opening at Acme Explosives, s/he’s going to ask about your background and also ask you what you’re earning now.
When you explain that you have the exact experience Acme is looking for and when you mention your $54K salary, you can almost hear the recruiter’s eyes light up, even over the phone!
Acme Explosives is going to scramble to schedule an interview for you, because you’re talented and you’re also a cheap hire. They’re going to show you the red carpet treatment. They’ll bring you lunch in the conference room.
They’ll make you a job offer at $58K. They’ll present the offer to you while their recruiter and the hiring manager are high-fiving in the next room. All the other qualified candidates cost $70K and up!
Run away from an employer or a recruiter who insists on having your current or past salary information. Some job-seekers have never met a recruiter who didn’t ask for that data.
That’s because for years and years, recruiters have been asking the obnoxious “salary history” question and job-seekers have been sheepily handing over the goods, even to the point of sending the recruiter a W-2 or other proof of past earnings. How ridiculous!
Is the company going to prove that they made good on their verbal promises to employees, or prove anything at all about how they conduct their businesses or lead their teams? No! They’re not.
Many organizations still believe that they are kings and queens on the mountaintop while people who want to work for them are ants. You will never grow your flame in a place like that.
Job-seekers have more power in the hiring equation than they think. If a recruiter gets snippy with you on the phone, you can always handle it like this:
RECRUITER: I don’t know why you’re being difficult. Acme Explosives says they want your salary history, and they’re my client, so I have to give them what they want. You won’t get an interview unless I have that information.
YOU: I understand completely. Most likely you are overwhelmed with talented candidates for this position. I’m not even sure why you’re wasting your time with me, since I seem to be disrupting your process. Let’s just part ways and wish one another well. See ya! (hang up phone)
The old framework is breaking down. Little by little, mojofied job-seekers are weakening Godzilla, the scaly mascot of bureaucracy and fear. If a recruiter didn’t need you in his or her pipeline to make his or her quarterly revenue goal, believe me, the recruiter wouldn’t waste two seconds with you!
Some recruiters will throw you out of their pipeline when you remind them that your finances are your own business. Good riddance! They are dinosaurs.
You don’t need them. You can partner with a righteous recruiter who understands that without talent, s/he’s got nothing to sell, or you can reach hiring managers on your own with Pain Letters that you’ll send directly to their desks.
Leave the dinosaur-age bully recruiters to duke it out with one another in their tar pits and go to work for an employer that values your privacy as much as you do.There are more and more of them every day!
Here is a script for handling the question “What are you earning now?” from recruiters!Here is an article that explains how to report your past salaries on an online job application without giving away your private information! Attention Recruiters! Want to learn how to Recruit with a Human Voice?Become a Righteous Recruiter: Join us for the virtual course Recruiting with a Human Voice!
Do you want to learn to Recruit with a Human Voice and align yourself with high-mojo, in-demand candidates in your talent market?
Read about the Intensive Four-Week Virtual Course Recruiting with a Human Voice here. Course starts April fourth, 2015! Grow your recruiting muscles and learn the groundbreaking and very effective Recruiting with a Human Voice approach with us!