Tips for working with your recruiter #3: Be frank about your salary history and needs (part 1 of 2)

Previous posts in series:

When you think about it, the relationship you will establish with your recruiter is based to a high degree on the exchange of information. The better the information–from both sides–the better and more successful the relationship will be, on average.

We at Key Corporate Services are committed to providing our candidates in a timely manner with the most accurate and up-to-date information about potential opportunities and all pertinent information relating to them. In the next several posts in this series, we’d like to offer our own “wish list” for information from candidates. In our experience, there are three main topics that require frankness and accuracy on the candidate’s part: money, relocation, and spouse’s/partner’s career. From our perspective, our not having accurate information in these areas is one of the biggest causes of failed placements (and wasted time on the part of candidate, company, and recruiter).

In this post and the next, we’ll talk about the money factor. In the US, money is treated as a very private issue. People don’t typically feel comfortable discussing how much they make, and it’s considered rude to ask. In the world of recruiting, however, we need to know how much you make and how much you’d like to make. Without this information, any of the following undesirable situations can arise:

  • We could search for and present opportunities to you that you end up rejecting because they do not pay enough.
  • Worse, you could go through an interview process and reject an offer because the salary and benefits are not adequate.
  • It could be that you are actually receiving very good pay and benefits for your skills, experience, and accomplishments in the current job market, and a career move might not be beneficial to you. If we don’t know your salary, however, we cannot provide this potentially useful feedback to you.
  • If you provide salary information that is inaccurate, a potential employer may ask for proof of current salary with a W2 form, etc. We have had candidates lose opportunities for not being forthright about their current salary.

Some candidates don’t like to discuss salary because they are embarrassed about how low it is or feel that revealing their current salary will hurt them in negotiations with a potential employer. In reality, there is nothing to be embarrassed about, since either you are being paid the market rate for your skills, experience, and accomplishments, or you are not. If you are being paid the market rate, we will certainly tell you. If you are not, then we will do our best to help you get a fair package of salary and benefits in the event one of our clients is interested in hiring you.

As for whether revealing your salary could hurt you in negotiations with a potential employer, that is the subject of the next post in the series.

The Key Corporate Services Blog Team