If you talk about your salary in the interview…


you are clearly high. Penelope may be talking about salary range high. But it wouldn’t hurt to tell anyone who does this to put the crack pipe down.

I may be ticking off a load of recruiters. However, I am all about the open market. Companies should pay what skills are worth. Yeah recruiters, you could go through the entire interview process and be talking about a different range than the interviewee. But I think that a little competitive intelligence could keep a really good recruiter from getting into that situation. I have had situations as a recruiter (fire up the way-back machine) where I interviewed people that ended up getting a good bump-up in salary. Because we were willing to pay them what they (and by this I mean, their skills) are worth. All I needed to hear from the prospect was that they were “flexible” on salary. And the had to really mean it. Because, I mean, seriously, have you seen our benefits?

It’s unfortunate that today, there is a game of one-up where each side is trying to take money from the other. I wish the process was more transparent on both sides; where the best interests of the candidate and the best interests of the company could be represented by some sort of moderator.  But there’s not. So my recommendation to job seekers is that if you can’t get a salary range out of a recruiter (hate to say but I never gave this out…that’s just me), at least make sure that you are on a regulation playing field. No penalties, no time-outs. 

Comments (3)

  1. Derek Zumwalt says:

    After and eon (or at least my career) in talent acquisition, to this day I still don’t get the whole tap-dance of “I wont tell you my salary yet – you tell me yours" conversation. My advice has always been: “tell the recruiter the freaking number and don’t play games”. One of the best skills of a good recruiter – is they are a great advocate for their organization and the right candidate. If there is a separation of salary (plus or minus) for either party and genuine interest from both, it will work out more often than not. I hate to hear a good candidate or recruitment effort pass because people shut the door to discussion and interest.

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    Derek, I think that level of trust is rare. Candidates view the recruiter as the agent of the company alone. I have definitely gone to bat for candidates (I have always seen myself as an advocate of the candidate which probably explains why I keep this blog). If you pay people what they are worth, everyone wins. But I also knew some recruiters that would try to get the candidate as low as they could; not here but previously in my experience.

    So what do you think recruiters can do (and candidates need to see)to establish that level of trust during the process?

  3. Derek Zumwalt says:

    True, the level of trust is/can be rare, but achievable. I see it as one of the key traits that separates great recruiters from recruiters. I think to build on the trait and conversation the recruiters (and candidates) should:

    Be honest and establish trust

    Explain your role as a facilitator

    Outline the goal of a win-win for both the candidate and organization

    Through a building measure of trust/communication,  open and candid conversations are established for vetting true motivating/leveling factors

    Put the developed trust/communication to work for both the candidate and company to make (or not) the fit

    It is not easy, it takes learning, time, and effort.