Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Salaries and Interviews

I ran across this post from Ask the Headhunter, where a reader is asking what to do when they revealed their previous salary and got a low offer. First, I agree with Nick. Never reveal your salary. If someone asks, it’s in range they’re paying.

I’ve never had anyone ask me for a paystub, nor would I provide one. Most companies won’t reveal salary, so there’s really no change that an HR person will be able to check on your salary. However, I have always been of the view that a company pays me to do a job. They value that job at $x. If I do the job, pay me $x. Evaluate me on my merits and make an offer.

The rational for previous salary is shown in the post, and is essentially so that the current company can negotiate some lower value for themselves. That’s a capitalistic view that benefits the company in the short term, but likely creates more instability and distrust later. I’d expect this type of company will end up looking to fill this position more often then necessary as the person hired will find out they can make more at another company for the same work.

The other side of this is that if you tell them you make $75k and the job is a 65k job, they might not hire you because you’re overqualified and they assume you’ll leave as soon as you find another $75k job. That’s fair, but it’s also short sighted. I may need a job now, and be willing to work for less. I may enjoy this job, or like aspects of it (short commute, benefits, etc) that are worth some money to me. I don’t want to knowingly remove myself for consideration.

I don’t reveal salary. That’s between me and the IRS (or your government agency of record in countries outside the US).

I always ask the range for the job early. I want to know. The company should provide that, and know it. If they don’t, or they say they haven’t decided, I’ll ask for more than I expect. If I think this is a $75,000 job, I’ll ask for $80 or $85. You won’t get that number if you don’t ask, and if you’re confident, maybe you will. If that’s too high, they’ll tell you and you can decide early.