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08/31/2010

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The fact that you do not reveal your salary will not be a big hangup if the employer has an interest in you, in my opinion. Some employers like to know your salary history so they can low ball the salary offer if your salary history gives them that opportunity. It is a good bargaining tactic to not reveal it. Savvy employers know this and respect it.

In my experience (larger firms, international firms) savvy employers would never make an offer to someone without first knowing the candidate's immediate comp background. No discussion, no offer. Move on to the next candidate.

From my perspective holding back is never a good strategy. Companies don't like recruiting surprises.

Perhaps your own experiences (which I respect) reflect smaller organizations, where at times managers may play games with candidates, looking for that "win." Unfortunately, when the person just taken advantage of becomes staff, and finds out what was done (they will), there will be an angry employee to deal with. Not exactly the sort of new hire you want to have.

Hard to imagine a company eliminating their best qualified candidate from consideration because he or she does not want to reveal their salary history. What are you hiring salary histories or people?

Coincidentally I had lunch today with a friend who is also an executive recruiter. I asked him the salary history question (hide or reveal), and his take was that he would NEVER send a candidate to a hiring manager without knowing the candidate's compensation history.

My friend's view was, lacking such key information the company would be at a disadvantage in constructing a proper offer. Additionally they would not like a surprise at the time of offer,and that if the recruiting process went sour because of a candidate's hidden agenda it would also reflect badly on the recruiter as well.

I agree with Chuck. When preparing a offer, the company wants to take into account its internal rules as described in the article, and they also look into the candidate's current salary in order to prepare an offer that is fair to both parties. Otherwise you get a disgruntled and disengaged eployee right from the start - there's no value for the compnay in that.

As a candidate, if you don't want to share your salary information, you are effectively saying to your potential future employer that you don't trust them to be honest - is this the message you want to send ?

I am approached by headhunters on a regular basis. Most of the times, the initial conversation is the one where we decide whether we want to explore the opportunity or not. Headhunter gives an overview of the role. Potential candidate expresses interest or not, if yes, gives overview of how his/her experience could match. Headhunter and potential candidate discuss ballpark compensation figures : candidate explains latest compensation and expectations (may be up or down depending on a number of factors). Headhunter expresses whether this fits the probable range, is too high or even on the low side. At that point, decision is made to continue through a formal interview or not.

As a candidate, what is the point spending time with a recruiting company if your salary expectations can't be met at all ? Sometimes we come with more experience than is required for the role (the brain surgeon vs GP), or we were an expat returning to home country (therefore on a lower package), or we come from an industry with higher salaries (investment banking vs retail). There's nothing wrong with that. I don't see why I'd want to hide my salary - doing so would only expose me to time wasted in useless interviews, and potentially facing disappointment if I am offered the role but find out at the last moment that the company is offering a salary which I consider below my financial threshold.

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