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Revealing salary details to recruiters?

 
#1 Revealing salary details to recruiters?
04/03/2009 23:12

Matthew

Hi,

When meeting recruiters for the first time, should you reveal your salary details to them?

I am hoping to make the move from a firm which tends to pay uncompetitive salaries....and hence feel revealing this too early on might lead to me recieving a lower package in my next role.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on this issue,

Thanks,

Matt

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#2 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
04/03/2009 23:26

Oracle to Matthew (#1)

My advice is to be a little creative in what you tell them.

If you get to the HR interview with the client, then be more precise as this will be the number that could be checked-up upon....

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#3 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
05/03/2009 06:26

N to Matthew (#1)

No need to lie. Just talk about the figure which you require to move. That's all the recruiter's interested in anyway.

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#4 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
05/03/2009 13:16

all in to N (#3)

the recruiter is interested mostly in what you require as the prev poster said..true. There are also some recruiters who see if what you require is significantly different from your last job.

There is actually nothing wrong here if you were underpaid in your last job and you now want to make a move for 'market' salaries. The issue may come if u already are gettign market and just want to leave because the new company is paying well above market- then the recruiter may think u want to leave only for money.

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#5 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
05/03/2009 13:43

recruiter too to all in (#4)

Hi Matt

I have a different perspective.

Don’t lie because that will a) mean the recruiter won’t trust you when they find out and after all you are wanting him/her to get you a great job b) the employer will find out you lied when the discrepancy between what you said and what they said crops up. Don’t assume they will think a trusted recruitment supplier was being incompetent or deceitful rather than you!

Don’t refuse to tell them because a) you will come across as awkward and not someone they want to build a relationship with and find a good job for b) they will assume you will be awkward with their client and so go down badly at interview c) when they present you to an employer (and they might not) they will have to tell the employer that you refused to tell them your salary which won’t come across very well particularly if it’s the employer which wanted that information in the first place d) it says loud and clear up front that you don’t trust the recruiter to represent you well

Yes you are right: if you are poorly paid it is difficult to get a huge rise to market rate or better but that’s down to you to persuade the employer of your value: it’s not the agency that is employing you and they are motivated to get you the best offer possible partly because they get a bigger fee but mainly because you will be more likely to accept.

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#6 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
05/03/2009 16:07

anon to recruiter too (#5)

I'd have thought it wouldn't matter that much as there's generally standard-ish salary ranges in consulting.

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#7 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
05/03/2009 16:34

Cynic to anon (#6)

Employers who demand to know what you are currently earning are, in my opinion, lazy $hits who would have you pigeonholed at your current salary band for the rest of your life if they could manage it.

They think they have the upper hand, however you have one powerful tactic to restore things in your favour. I got this tip from somebody else on these boards - I can't remember who though.

Firstly, decide truthfully to yourself how much you want (£x). That is, if you get less than £x, you really are prepared NOT to take the job. Then say:

"I am in advanced discussions/have been approached about a role with a competitor paying £x so I would be looking for a competitive offer at circa £x from you also".

And there you have it - you've "proven" that you're worth £x (as there's somebody out there supposedly willing to pay you that much regardless of what you earn now), and if they don't match it, you'll walk away (which you really will do because £x is the minimum you'll accept!).

Absolute gold.

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#8 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
05/03/2009 16:40

Experienced interviewer to Cynic (#7)

Consulting is a very small world.

My response to that question would be "Oh, who interviewed you at X? I know plenty of the guys there. Is Mr Big still leading up their Supply Chain / Finance / HR division?"

Very easy to call someones bluff on a lie like that.

The truth is that the person interviewing you will probably be a lot better connected, and better aware of market salaries, than you are.

What's wrong with giving an honest answer to a direct question ?

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#9 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
05/03/2009 16:54

Cynic to Experienced interviewer (#8)

One of the key points in that approach is you don't tell them who the competitor is - but this doesn't matter, because it's a credible bluff and you really are prepared to walk away if you don't get £x. IF they push to know who the competitor is, you can claim confidentiality, just say you don't think they'd be happy with you disclosing that info right now. Anyone that gets really pushy and DEMANDS to know who the competitor is will look like a right tw@t.

The problem with giving an honest answer to a direct question is that it creates an uneven playing field. It's like going into a used car lot and telling the salesman how much money you have in the bank. Or telling somebody you want to buy a house from exactly how much you would be prepared to pay if push came to shove. You just don't do it because it undermines your negotiating position.

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#10 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
05/03/2009 17:06

Matt to Cynic (#9)

Thanks very much for all the advice guys, I appreciate it!

Matt

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#11 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
05/03/2009 17:56

aha to Cynic (#9)

Just make sure you're REALLY prepared to walk away from the job offer in this environment.

The majority of people who complain about being underpaid are not, so some honest self-assessment is necessary before getting into a situation where you call upon yourself to lie.

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#12 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
06/03/2009 12:49

negotiator to aha (#11)

Personally I do not like to options of bluffing (and lying). What I would do - and did in a simular situation is the following.

First you should decide what would be the minimum salary you accept. Then add 10-15%. So when the salary negotiation starts you will have a good starting point which will most likely ends with an offer 5-10%above your minimum.

Don't lie or bluff to the recruiter. Just say "it does not mather what I earn now, but this is what I would like to earn" and then you mention the amount as calculated above.

This is a good and fair apporach that I have used succesfully. You do need to do some research to be sure that what you ask is reasonable with in the market you're looking a job. Never over-ask, but certainly do not be on the low-side.

Good luck!

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#13 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
06/03/2009 13:57

Bob to negotiator (#12)

I always thought the old adage was that the first person to mention a number in a negoation has already lost.

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#14 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
06/03/2009 14:21

anon to Bob (#13)

Bob, you're right. So the challenge then becomes:

What do you do when you're sat at the table with the interviewer and they say "HR told me I have to fill in this bit of the form. What do you earn at the moment?"

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#15 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
06/03/2009 14:48

jon to anon (#14)

if the new company checks your p60 its over anyway

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#16 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
06/03/2009 15:23

Deacs to anon (#14)

I have changed jobs 3 to 4 times in the last 8 years and my personal experience is that once an employer learns about my salary, he (the negotiator has always been a man so far) fixates on the exact amount and talks about a 10% rise.

My own views are as follows:

- A recruiter can help enormously with identifying what level of salary you can expect from an employer, from his/her previous experience and knowledge of others who work there etc.

- Negotiators' responses are the same as that of other people. If I go to an interview for a job I'm told pays, say, £30k - £40k and I'm offered £20k, I feel "cheated" and will not accept it. If a negotiator knows I've come for an interview and currently earn £20k but am looking to earn £30k, he will feel that I can be hired for much less.

- The bottom line must always be that no-one in a negotiation gives away their bottom line.

- If an HR person or recruiter asks for your current salary to fill in their form, reply: "I would like you to put £xk in that box please". £xk must be the amount you want the company to think you earn such that a 10% increase will bring you up to your desired salary. Never say: "I earn £xk", only that that is the amount you wish entered into that box.

- Never submit your P45 to a new employer. As a matter of course, complete a P46. The P45 even says on it that a P46 should be completed if you don't want your new employer to see the info shown on it. There has been a tendency to disbelieve this on this forum in the recent past but this is accurate.

- If you have to accept a job at virtually any salary because of your personal circumstances, you are not negotiating from strength and, naturally, the game changes. In this case, you will need to do a lot more homework and really know what the company will offer.

- I know for a fact that I am in the middle range of salaries paid at my organisation within my "grade". There are people doing the same job as me each day, who started at the same time as I did, earning £10k less and others earning up to £15k more. I don't feel great about that but in the current climate I'm not going to do anything about it just yet.

Bottom line: don't reveal your salary; research your market; take the advice of your recruiter cos they are likely to know the client well; throw away your P45 and submit a P46.

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#17 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
06/03/2009 15:41

Frank to Deacs (#16)

If you're the sort of person who goes to the extent of throwing away their tax forms in order to withhold information from their firm, then I'm not surprised you've had to change jobs so often.

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#18 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
06/03/2009 17:04

Deacs to Frank (#17)

Frank

Thanks for that. I had thought I needed to change jobs due to illness in the family and then to get promotion cos there were only 5 of us in the company and no opportunities to learn more.

If I'd realised it was cos I was cavalier with the parts of tax forms not required, I'd have saved myself a lot of bother. Although my salary might be lower?

Reminds me of a the favourite saying of an old boss: "If God had meant us to be streakers, we'd all have been born stark naked".

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#19 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
06/03/2009 18:37

Hha to Deacs (#18)

Deacs - you are the epitomy of "twelve-time loser"

"I had thought I needed to change jobs due to illness in the family and then to get promotion cos there were only 5 of us in the company and no opportunities to learn more."

Those are the most transparently B.S. excuses for underperformance ever. I wouldn't hire anyone who came out with those, even at entry level. Sort your life and your performance out, then apply for jobs, not the other way around.

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#20 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
06/03/2009 18:56

Hho to Hha (#19)

Looked on google, still confused, what is a "twelve-time loser"?

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#21 RE: Revealing salary details to recruiters?
06/03/2009 20:32

Jooooolz to Hho (#20)

twelve-time loser = Deacs

Like obv. That's the definition, innit.

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#22 Depends on how much Due Diligence your employer wants to do...
07/03/2009 16:05

Another view to Jooooolz (#21)

I'd be very wary about lying or concealing salary details.

When I joined PA Consulting, they asked for proof of previous earnings, in the form of a P45 or three months payslips.

I'd imagine that not every company is so thorough, but others are.

As for the suggestion of magicking up an alternative "confidential" offer from an unnamed competitor, I would have thought that most employers would see through that very quickly. At best you would look sneaky and evasive, at worst you'd look like a lying fool.

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#23 RE: Depends on how much Due Diligence your employer wants to do...
07/03/2009 17:57

Derek to Another view (#22)

Dont really understand what right PA had to demand proof of prev earnings - can see they would want proof of ID etc. Do they have public / available pay bands so you know exactly what the range of salaries are for the post youve applied for?

Not been a consultant very long if you cant convince an interested interviewer that you have an offer elsewhere. Why would they disbelieve it? Though it might not look good that you are just chasing extra bucks by not taking the other job if you dont have a very convincing preference for the later job or company.

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#24 RE: Depends on how much Due Diligence your employer wants to do...
08/03/2009 11:44

Dan E to Derek (#23)

I would consider two approaches, in tandem if you like, to answering the current salary question (if you feel you have to answer the question, and want to make your current salary appear higher).

Firstly, don't worry about just adding 10% on to your basic. Even if they do check your payslips etc., once a job offer has been made nobody is going to quibble over a 10% difference.

Secondly, include a fictional bonus in your current salary. Tell the recruiter that your basic is £xx,xxx, but you are also due to receive a bonus of xx% of salary. Tell them that due to your performance / sales etc. this bonus is always paid in the range of, say, 30% to 50%, and that you would only consider a role with similar total compensation, even if that were in the form of basic salary.

This means that it won't show up on your past few payslips, and that you can claim to be earning more than you actually are. Of course, it won't work in certain companies (Accenture, Deloitte etc.) below a certain seniority, but consulting is a big world and there is a lot of variation in people's pay packets. For people coming from industry, this is even easier.

The bonus also serves to show how important you are to your current firm and that you have been performing well etc. etc.

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#25 RE: Depends on how much Due Diligence your employer wants to do...
08/03/2009 13:06

Cam to Dan E (#24)

Remind me again what the point is. Either the interviewer already rates you at your desired price point, in which case they'll pay at the level you ask. Or they won't value you at the level you claim and will assume you are lying. There is not a great variation in pay levels in consulting and if someone is claiming an outsize bonus it will be dismissed as either a) a lie or b) a fluke. You'll need to explain the basis of your outsize bonus and why you'll be delivering equivalent value for your new employer. Difficult at the best of times, impossible if you've just made it up.

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#26 RE: Depends on how much Due Diligence your employer wants to do...
08/03/2009 14:27

negotiator to Cam (#25)

I still wouldn't go for the "lie"-option of talking about 10%+ salaries and never earned bonusses etc.

First of all - you do need to do research to find out what the top 25% get paid in your area and at the level you're applying for. So that you're pretty sure your not making a fool out of your self when negotiating a too high or too low salary.

So if you know the ball park number then you also know from where to start the negotiating. And start with this number as "this is what I have in mind for accepting this job"

So the whole discussion of what you have earned is of the table - just talk about what you want. That's it and at the end of the day that's all recruiters want to know.

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#27 Re:
09/03/2009 09:07

Cynic to negotiator (#26)

Hi Negotiator, I really like that phrase.. an ideal way to start the conversation. What do you do however if they continue to persist a little further, i.e. "OK that's what you want but can you remind us again of what you're currently earning please"...

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#28 RE:
09/03/2009 09:56

GG to Cynic (#27)

If you feel you're underpaid, be prepared to provide verifiable evidence and stand by it. If people persist in focussing you back on your current earnings, they may be trying to tell you that you've overestimated your own worth.

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