How to Respond to the Salary Question During Your Job Search

How to Respond to the Salary Question During Your Job Search
From Recruiter - March 2, 2017

Sometimes, when youre in talks with a recruiter, you may reach a point where they say, We cant proceed without getting your current salary. Its tough, because you might be excited about the company and you dont want to appear uncooperative, but at the same time, you might not feel comfortable sharing this information.

As someone who has been on all three sides of the table (candidate, recruiter, hiring manager), I think an empathetic approach goes a long way here. You need not feel indignant or powerless. Keep your eyes on the prizefinding a great team to work with that compensates you well for your contributions.

The best thing is to figure out why theyre asking you for this information. In fact, you can usually ask about this point-blank. Most good, relationship-focused recruiters will be happy to answer.

Here are some possible reasons why a recruiter might need your salary information:

1. Company Policy

Sometimes, companies require by policy that they have this information about every person in the interview process, and the recruiter may not have an option. You can ask if its official company policy, and most recruiters wontlie. Theyll be honest about the policy.

Sample response in this scenario:Id be happy to share that information as we get further along in the process. Is it official company policy to require this information?

2. Computing an Offer / Making Sure They Can Afford You

Sometimes, this information is used tocompute your future compensation offer. If a recruiter asks you this questions late in the process, its a good sign.

However,giving up your current salary puts you in a disadvantageous negotiating position. Instead, volunteer your desired compensation range and see if that satisfies their requirements.

Sample response in this scenario:Im not comfortable sharing that information out of respect for my current employer, but Im happy to share my expected compensation range, if that is what youre looking for.

If the recruiter asks you early in the process, they might be trying to figure out if the company can afford you. If the company cant afford you, why waste your and their time going through the whole interview process? This can happen at companies that compensate on the lower end of the market rate.


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