By Marc Basil | February 20, 2018


There has been a significant amount of debate and press as of late concerning the disclosure of compensation, compensation history, etc. during the interviewing process. Is it ethical? Is it legal? Is the question necessary? Adding a search firm into the mix can complicate the point even further.

Sure, there are many elements that go into considering someone for a role beyond compensation such as history and background, soft skills, systems experience, culture fit, etc. It really comes down a person’s entire package.

Andrew Simmonds, Managing Director of Talent Tree Limited makes a good point when he states, “Your skills, experience, and cultural fit to the job in question are what matters most.” He goes on to say, “I believe you should tell your recruiter your current salary. I like to believe that — at senior level at least — recruiters can be trusted to judge you on your merits and experience, not your salary.”

I’ve talked before about this topic before and how to tackle the subject of compensation head on, but I find the subject is just so timely it bears an even deeper discussion.

Below are 4 Things to Consider When Discussing Salary During Your Job Search:

1. Have trust.
The relationship between a recruiter and a candidate should be one of trust, transparency and communication. Like in any profession, there could be good and bad seeds. As a candidate, if you don’t get the feeling your recruiter is trustworthy, simply do not work with that recruiter.

2. Evaluate your market value.
A candidate’s current compensation is one of several attributes that make up that professional’s overall market value. It is easier for a candidate to make a move from $100,000 to $120,000 than it is to move from $80,000 to $120,000. Is it IMPOSSIBLE to make a $40,000 jump in salary? Absolutely not. Is it likely? No. The hiring organization — not the recruiter — has final say on salary level and the overall offer.

3. Expect your work history to be verified. 
An individual’s current compensation is a verifiable piece of data — no different from dates on a resume, the university someone graduated from, etc. In this day and age, hiring organizations verify EVERYTHING. An offer is contingent upon a hiring company successfully verifying every piece of information a candidate discloses, whether it’s listed on an application, on a resume or discussed in an interview. If any of the information comes back as falsely disclosed, the offer can become null and void. So, if a candidate inflates or misrepresents their current salary during the interviewing process with the hopes of leveraging a higher offer, the hiring organization could potentially rescind the offer.

4. Know the recruiter is championing you.
It is no secret that a recruiter’s compensation is dependent upon their candidate getting hired at the hiring organization. Whether that be through a retained or contingent search, the fee a recruiter is paid by the hiring organization is directly tied to the (base) salary offered to the hired candidate. In other words, the higher the salary the candidate receives, the more compensation for the recruiter, as well. So, clearly the recruiter and the candidate’s goal are fully aligned with compensation.

While salary always has and always will be a tricky part of the interview process to navigate through, honesty and transparency remain the best policy.

Share your thoughts on discussing compensation during the job search process in the comments below!


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