Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

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covertfantom
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Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by covertfantom » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:30 pm

So the employer has contacted me after the initial interview asking about my current salary and my desired salary before they commit to making an offer. I've included a link below to my previous post on the subject... which, suffice to say, I'm being significantly underpaid at the moment. What kind of answer do I give to optimize my chances of getting the offer at the highest rate?

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=198786

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Watty
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by Watty » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:56 pm

There is an author that has addressed this question.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/ask ... -employer/

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slayed
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by slayed » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:05 pm

Two things. First, do not give them your salary history. This is none of their business and only hurts you because your previous salary is rather low. Second, do not give a desired salary, you always want them to make the first offer. Also the salary has to be looked at in the context of the whole package that you are offered so throwing out a number isn't very meaningful unless you know things such as what the bonus program is, 401k match, health insurance, vacation days, ESPP, etc. Throwing out a number without knowing the value of the various benefits will only hurt you.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by Compound » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:13 pm

Watty wrote:There is an author that has addressed this question.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/ask ... -employer/
Watty -- thanks for sharing. I found the information in the linked post to be very valuable.

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covertfantom
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by covertfantom » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:47 pm

Thanks Watty. The difficult part in this for me is that I have to write this email to my future boss. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he wants to spend the least amount of effort on this subject while satisfying my salary needs. I'm thinking I'm going to dodge giving up my salary but give a salary range I'm looking for.

From what I can tell, the average for a person of my skill/experience set is between $110k - $125k in my area (Glassdoor). Is that too large of a range to give? Should I bump the low end of my range so that I don't get low balled? I'm thinking that I'll leverage the deficiencies of the new job (probably less vacation days and probably no 401k) as negotiating points for a small bump from the number they come at me with.

Any thoughts on this strategy?

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munemaker
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by munemaker » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:55 pm

In my experience, it is the norm for an employer to ask for salary history and desired salary. I have been asked that every time I have changed jobs.

I am in management at a medium sized company. I don't ever remember hearing of anyone who would not answer these questions.

I do agree though, that you obviously do not need to answer them. If a candidate did that at our company, we would probably give them a low ball offer and possibly negotiate from there.

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njboater74
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by njboater74 » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:56 pm

covertfantom wrote:Thanks Watty. The difficult part in this for me is that I have to write this email to my future boss. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he wants to spend the least amount of effort on this subject while satisfying my salary needs. I'm thinking I'm going to dodge giving up my salary but give a salary range I'm looking for.

From what I can tell, the average for a person of my skill/experience set is between $110k - $125k in my area (Glassdoor). Is that too large of a range to give? Should I bump the low end of my range so that I don't get low balled? I'm thinking that I'll leverage the deficiencies of the new job (probably less vacation days and probably no 401k) as negotiating points for a small bump from the number they come at me with.

Any thoughts on this strategy?
I don't think that's too large a range to give.

It all depends on exactly why they're asking. Some employers are just using it as an idea for how much they'll need to pay you if you come on board. Some are more heavy handed with it, and either won't offer you a position if they feel you're current salary is too low to warrant such a substantial bump in pay, or they'll simply peg your new salary fairly close to the old one, so they know you aren't joining just for the money.

I think you're fine to give them a salary range, but want to make sure that you and the employer are a good match before entering into full negotiations. It would be a good opportunity to remind them of everything you like about the company, and that if they feel the same about you, you're confident you can come to an agreement.
When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth and tell the whole world - 'No, YOU move'--Captain America, Boglehead

JI0124
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by JI0124 » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:27 pm

I think the request for current salary/history is reasonable if there is intent to make an offer. You can answer the question however what's more important is that you tell the new prospective employer what you need in order to make the move. There is risk in change and you need to realize some reward to justify it.

From what I gather you do not need to make a change right now. If you choose to do so it needs to come with a significant increase. I assume that they want to bring you on board. View this through the lens that they need you more than you need to make a change and based on that control the conversation!

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by protagonist » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:28 pm

Watty wrote:There is an author that has addressed this question.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/ask ... -employer/
Very intelligent article.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by ralph124cf » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:38 pm

"My current employer considers that confidential information, so I don't feel comfortable disclosing that."

You can't get in trouble for that.

Ralph

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slayed
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by slayed » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:41 pm

Don't give a salary range. When the time comes, give a single number and give it with confidence. I suggest you start with the high end of your range. Let them come back at you with a counter offer.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by hcj » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:43 pm

Am I the only one who lies and just says a number close to what I want them to pay me?

In this case, I'd say my current compensation is $110k but I would like a small bump commensurate with my experience and market value of $120-125k.

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covertfantom
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by covertfantom » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:49 pm

slayed wrote:Don't give a salary range. When the time comes, give a single number and give it with confidence. I suggest you start with the high end of your range. Let them come back at you with a counter offer.
Playing it a little strong there don't you think? I'm worried that kind of approach will get me laughed out the door and they'll simply give up on me at that point. Kind of hard for me to see their side of the table... I've interviewed my fair share of people looking to come on board... but have never had to deal with the salary negotiations part of the whole deal. Based on my previous thread and my own online research, I think my range is fairly reasonable.

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covertfantom
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by covertfantom » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:52 pm

hcj wrote:Am I the only one who lies and just says a number close to what I want them to pay me?

In this case, I'd say my current compensation is $110k but I would like a small bump commensurate with my experience and market value of $120-125k.
Wouldn't work in my case as a significant portion of my compensation is tied to benefits (I'm coming from a megacorp to a small/startup sized company). It'd be super difficult for the employer to value my compensation based on any number I give.

The articles I've seen online say not to fudge your current salary... I suppose there's the possibility that they may want to see a paystub at some point? Kind of an awkward position regardless...

delamer
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by delamer » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:53 pm

More info on this issue: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/out ... ry-history

Another option to consider -- ask for details on their benefits (health insurance, 401(k), leave), telling them that you need to look at your total compensation, not just salary, before responding.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by noco-hawkeye » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:53 pm

I am reminded of a statement that goes something like this....

If you tell them your desired or current salary, and they reply with "oh, that is not a problem" - then you have sold yourself short. If you really feel like you need to provide a number, the goal is to provide a number that the employer is uncomfortable with, but at the same time does not get you disqualified. If they don't flinch or bat an eye, then you are selling yourself short.

* this does not apply when you are taking a job because you love the work, or are working for insurance coverage - something other than money being the primary driver.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by IthinkICan » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:56 pm

A few years ago, I was made an offer to join my current company. It was for a job that fit my targeted career path, and BIG step up in pay. I had been studying and working toward a job like this for along time. I was super excited.

After getting a verbal offer, I was asked to send over pay stubs to prove my previous employment. I knew I was way underpaid at my current company, but I also knew what my friends in the same position at my current employer were making. I figured "That's just what the job pays". I immediately sent my most recent pay stubs over (not thinking to blank out my salary numbers). I really wanted the job!

The next day, I got a call from the hiring manager saying that company policy forbid them to pay x% over my current salary and he lowered my offer by about $15K. I was very disappointed, but I also wanted to make the career move. It's frustrating knowing you're doing the same job but getting paid a lot less than everyone else. However, I figured I could get the new experience I needed and then move to a new company that would appreciate me in a couple of years. The place I work now, doesn't give salary raises, you only make more money by earning promotions and getting a larger cut of the bonus pool. Here, taking a lower salary when you start usually means being stuck making less money if you stay.

The good news is that I got a new manager last year who noticed that I was making WAY less than my peers. He also noticed that I'd been doing a good job. He actually called and asked how I negotiated my salary. It turned out that the company policy that had been called out by the previous manager didn't even exist. I should have held out for more, but I was a complete chicken. My new manager fought to get me on par with my teammates. I feel more appreciated now, but of course I can't tell anyone I work with that I got a raise. It really helps with morale though :)

In the future, I will be a lot more careful about sharing current salary information with prospective employers.

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Watty
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by Watty » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:02 pm

If you do give your current salary don't fudge it. It is not uncommon for companies of verify the salary after you start working and terminate people for cause if you lied.
covertfantom wrote:From what I can tell, the average for a person of my skill/experience set is between $110k - $125k in my area (Glassdoor). Is that too large of a range to give?
Two job offers at the low and high end of that range could easily be equal if the $110K offer had great benefits and the $125K offer had weak benefits. There was a recent thread about benefits and how they can be about 40% of the total compensation.

I am retired now so it has been years since I had to handle this but as I recall I qualified the range that I gave saying that it was hard to put a number on it since it really depended on the details of the benefit packages and that I would be looking at the total compensation package not just the salary.

That way if they come back with an offer of $110K you can ask for the details of their benefit packages and use any weaknesses in their package to try to justify a higher salary. For example after you get an offer you could say something like $110K would be great but they only have a 2% 401k match and the healthcare requires the employee to pay $300 a month out of the paycheck and has a high deductible. If you can compare these to your current jobs benefits that can help too.


I don't think it unreasonable to give a desired range relatively early in the process. I remember one first interview I had that went real well until the manager and I started talking about a salary range. I gave a reasonable number based on what I was currently making and my research. The manager was surprised that it was as high as it was and in talking it turned out that I was currently making more than he did and he would have been my manager if I took a job there. The company just didn't pay well so they needed to find someone they could hire cheaply and hope that they were OK.

That was about the time this Dilbert cartoon was published so I still remember it.

http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-05-22

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by corwin » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:19 pm

Asking for a salary expectation is a way to make sure neither side is wasting time. Giving a range is acceptable. However, when a future employer asks for your salary history it's like a car dealer asking you how much money you have in your bank account; it only hurts your ability to negotiate.

I recently interviewed someone who told me he would have to take a pay cut to work at my company. I knew immediately we didn't want him. He would never be happy and he would make us miserable too.

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covertfantom
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by covertfantom » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:23 pm

corwin wrote:Asking for a salary expectation is a way to make sure neither side is wasting time. Giving a range is acceptable. However, when a future employer asks for your salary history it's like a car dealer asking you how much money you have in your bank account; it only hurts your ability to negotiate.

I recently interviewed someone who told me he would have to take a pay cut to work at my company. I knew immediately we didn't want him. He would never be happy and he would make us miserable too.
Yikes. What a red flag.... what on Earth would compel someone to take a pay CUT?

KlangFool
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by KlangFool » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:35 pm

covertfantom wrote:
corwin wrote:Asking for a salary expectation is a way to make sure neither side is wasting time. Giving a range is acceptable. However, when a future employer asks for your salary history it's like a car dealer asking you how much money you have in your bank account; it only hurts your ability to negotiate.

I recently interviewed someone who told me he would have to take a pay cut to work at my company. I knew immediately we didn't want him. He would never be happy and he would make us miserable too.
Yikes. What a red flag.... what on Earth would compel someone to take a pay CUT?
covertfantom,

The correct question is why on earth somebody will tell the interviewer this? The person is stupid. Why would anyone want to hire somebody this stupid?

KlangFool

pbearn
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by pbearn » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:40 pm

Employers have a lot more data regarding salaries than most job seekers do - which puts them in a much better position to put the first number on the table.

I'd try suggesting that to your prospective employer as well.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:07 pm

covertfantom wrote:
corwin wrote:Asking for a salary expectation is a way to make sure neither side is wasting time. Giving a range is acceptable. However, when a future employer asks for your salary history it's like a car dealer asking you how much money you have in your bank account; it only hurts your ability to negotiate.

I recently interviewed someone who told me he would have to take a pay cut to work at my company. I knew immediately we didn't want him. He would never be happy and he would make us miserable too.
Yikes. What a red flag.... what on Earth would compel someone to take a pay CUT?
Less commute?

Better benefits?

New job tasks / learning opportunity?

There are a million reasons someone would be willing to take a pay cut. I will likely take a pay cut if / when I leave my current company. I'm currently traveling 100% of the time - I can't realistically expect to earn the premium I'm currently getting if I start working in one location.

TPT
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by TPT » Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:22 pm

KlangFool wrote:
covertfantom wrote:
corwin wrote:Asking for a salary expectation is a way to make sure neither side is wasting time. Giving a range is acceptable. However, when a future employer asks for your salary history it's like a car dealer asking you how much money you have in your bank account; it only hurts your ability to negotiate.

I recently interviewed someone who told me he would have to take a pay cut to work at my company. I knew immediately we didn't want him. He would never be happy and he would make us miserable too.
Yikes. What a red flag.... what on Earth would compel someone to take a pay CUT?
covertfantom,

The correct question is why on earth somebody will tell the interviewer this? The person is stupid. Why would anyone want to hire somebody this stupid?

KlangFool
I'm assuming that somebody would tell the interviewer this if they were asked about their salary requirements and realized they would have to take a pay cut to work there. It's shocking, frankly, that at least two people can't imagine a scenario in which it might make sense for someone to agree to be paid less. The value of a position is far more complex than the starting salary/total compensation.
Last edited by TPT on Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by slayed » Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:24 pm

covertfantom wrote:
slayed wrote:Don't give a salary range. When the time comes, give a single number and give it with confidence. I suggest you start with the high end of your range. Let them come back at you with a counter offer.
Playing it a little strong there don't you think? I'm worried that kind of approach will get me laughed out the door and they'll simply give up on me at that point. Kind of hard for me to see their side of the table... I've interviewed my fair share of people looking to come on board... but have never had to deal with the salary negotiations part of the whole deal. Based on my previous thread and my own online research, I think my range is fairly reasonable.
Giving a range will result in you getting an offer near the bottom of the range you give them so you might as well give them one number and make it a little higher than you think. You either learn to negotiate or you accept a career of being underpaid.

boglebrain
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by boglebrain » Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:30 pm

I think it is interesting that laws are getting passed to try to limit what employers can ask you around prior compensation. The intent seems good since it is trying to address the wage gap between men and women. Companied do have information asymmetry and it really is best if you don't share or share minimal information.

In terms of what you tell your prospective employer I would not lie as others have already noted. Instead say you want the entire package to be market competitive and you can offer glassdoor numbers. Or just decline to say. If they decide not to pursue then this is a manager or company you may not want to be at long term anyway.

Here is a recent NY Times article:
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/08/03/bu ... story.html

"In a groundbreaking effort to close the wage gap between men and women, Massachusetts has become the first state to bar employers from asking about applicants’ salaries before offering them a job.

The new law will require hiring managers to state a compensation figure upfront — based on what an applicant’s worth is to the company, rather than on what he or she made in a previous position."

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by DoubleClick » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:30 am

slayed wrote: Giving a range will result in you getting an offer near the bottom of the range you give them so you might as well give them one number and make it a little higher than you think.
+1. Never give a range. Give a target, and start high.

slayed wrote:You either learn to negotiate or you accept a career of being underpaid.
+10. So very true.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by oliveoiltycoon » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:31 am

Tell them to write you an offer. There is no need to supply your salary history since it is meaningless without benefit information and other data and most importantly it isn't relevant.

They might say "oh we just need it for the paperwork it isn't actually used!". In that case, can you put a negative number there? Zero? Something clearly false?

They might say they just want to make sure your expectations are in the range they budgeted for the position. Assure them you will consider any competitive offer and are happy to give your reaction to a complete written offer. But that you evaluate offers holistically and a single, naked salary number isn't possible without knowing more about the benefits and the role.

Perhaps they continue to insist? In that case, be more direct. Ask them why they need this information. Or say that you believe their insistence makes it seem like they are not willing to pay you commensurately to the value you will provide their business. Or that you aren't interested in negotiating against yourself and that you would like to hear an offer.

The point is, never reveal compensation history unless you think it will help you. You can even say "I believe I am grossly underpaid currently, which is why I am leaving my current job and I hope you are willing to pay a competitive salary."

For most jobs the compensation is either non-negotiable (i.e. minimum wage or close to it retail and food service jobs) and they are happy to tell you what it is, or you have some leverage and don't have to play their games. If they are "writing offers" that are customized to different candidates, you at least have SOME leverage. Don't let them push you around. Be polite, but firm. Be willing to explain that they know much more about the position and should say the first number.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by KlangFool » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:46 am

TPT wrote:
KlangFool wrote:
covertfantom wrote:
corwin wrote:Asking for a salary expectation is a way to make sure neither side is wasting time. Giving a range is acceptable. However, when a future employer asks for your salary history it's like a car dealer asking you how much money you have in your bank account; it only hurts your ability to negotiate.

I recently interviewed someone who told me he would have to take a pay cut to work at my company. I knew immediately we didn't want him. He would never be happy and he would make us miserable too.
Yikes. What a red flag.... what on Earth would compel someone to take a pay CUT?
covertfantom,

The correct question is why on earth somebody will tell the interviewer this? The person is stupid. Why would anyone want to hire somebody this stupid?

KlangFool
I'm assuming that somebody would tell the interviewer this if they were asked about their salary requirements and realized they would have to take a pay cut to work there. It's shocking, frankly, that at least two people can't imagine a scenario in which it might make sense for someone to agree to be paid less. The value of a position is far more complex than the starting salary/total compensation.
TPT,

<<I'm assuming that somebody would tell the interviewer this if they were asked about their salary requirements>>

Why? The interviewee could tell the interviewer about their salary requirement. But, WHY the interviewee would mention that it will be a pay cut? This is unnecessary and harmful information to the interviewee.

As an interviewer / hiring manager, I would reject this candidate immediately.

KlangFool

KlangFool
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by KlangFool » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:54 am

slayed wrote:
covertfantom wrote:
slayed wrote:Don't give a salary range. When the time comes, give a single number and give it with confidence. I suggest you start with the high end of your range. Let them come back at you with a counter offer.
Playing it a little strong there don't you think? I'm worried that kind of approach will get me laughed out the door and they'll simply give up on me at that point. Kind of hard for me to see their side of the table... I've interviewed my fair share of people looking to come on board... but have never had to deal with the salary negotiations part of the whole deal. Based on my previous thread and my own online research, I think my range is fairly reasonable.
Giving a range will result in you getting an offer near the bottom of the range
slayed,

1) Not necessary. In my case, I received an offer in the middle of the range.

2) This is a test for the employer too. If they give you an offer near the bottom of the range, you know that you do not want to work for them. Hence, you could stop wasting your time with them.

KlangFool

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:10 am

covertfantom wrote: Yikes. What a red flag.... what on Earth would compel someone to take a pay CUT?
I took a pay cut from my previous job to get out from under a non-compete agreement. I had spent years seeing good jobs out there and even had a number of hiring managers contact me because I'm known in the industry and they felt I was a perfect fit. But my former employer was very well known for going after any employee AND the new hiring company with all the legal might they could buy to enforce the non-compete. I found a company in my field without competing products and jumped as fast as I could. The drop in base pay was pretty dramatic but the extras that didn't exist at my last company (raises, ESPP, good 401k with matching, RSUs, actual reviews, bonuses, car plan, expense account) have more than made up for the initial difference in base pay. You people in California don't know how good you have it to have non-competes mostly outlawed in the state charter. They're very much enforced here in Massachusetts and hiring companies typically retract their offer when they're challenged by the legal team.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by msk » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:37 am

I used to hire a bunch of engineers for a major company with >100,000 employees worlwide. Our local operations had some 4000+ employees, so there was a very elaborate worldwide salary system, taking into consideration nationality, working in an alien (or familiar) environment, etc. So my first priority was to answer the question, do I want this guy/girl at all? Yes. What job level do I envisage for him/her? As a Jo-Blog engineer, an unusually highly skilled specialist engineer, a strategy engineer, a supervisory engineer (with a handful of subordinates or a 100+), etc. That part of the interview determines his salary group. Each group had a range in which the lowest was paid half as much as the highest in that salary group. I was then ready to make a job offer and would always ask for his last pay stubs. Why? Because if he was very highly paid, way beyond the max for the salary group I was willing to take him in, then further discussion was probably futile. I would make him an offer at the max of that salary group and he either accepts it or rejects it. We never negotiated. On the other hand if he was being paid less than our minimum for the salary group, we would offer him the minimum for that salary group. We do not slot him into a lower salary group, and his status and opportunities for promotion within the company are not jeopardised. There is always a constant suction upwards for anyone who delivers.

The above worked very well and people I recruited seemed to be happy to work for us for years thereafter. There was always a problem with hiring people in senior supervisory positions (supervising, say, more than 10 engineers). Corporations have different cultures and I found it next to impossible to judge interviewees for these more senior positions. The few that were outside hires almost invariably did not work out. To the interviewee OP I would say that the interviewer wants to hire the right person for the job and he is always wary of picking the wrong person. A mismatch is a much bigger disaster than a few tens of thousands of $ in too-much salary. The salary is very important to the interviewee but not to the interviewer. The interviewer simply wants to pay the market rate, and even slightly above that, to make sure you join. He will already have pegged where you fit in, the pay package is simply something enough so that you do not run away from, and is also not wasteful to his company.

edge
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by edge » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:45 am

If you are a top performer then ask for top quartile pay. You will have to do some research to figure out what that is.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by Big Dog » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:47 am

First, do not give them your salary history.
Such a person would not receive an offer at our company. After an initial screening or two, we ask all applicants to complete our application form, which includes previous salary info. If they leave it blank, well I guess that sends a message, does it not? :annoyed

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by ClevrChico » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:57 am

covertfantom wrote:So the employer has contacted me after the initial interview asking about my current salary and my desired salary before they commit to making an offer. I've included a link below to my previous post on the subject... which, suffice to say, I'm being significantly underpaid at the moment. What kind of answer do I give to optimize my chances of getting the offer at the highest rate?

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=198786
You could be honest and provide both. It's easy to have a professional conversation with a future employer and conclude that it's not right for you, and feel great afterwards.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by mcraepat9 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:03 am

Salary negotiation works well when you are a top performer.

I have done numerous interviews where companies insist that if you leave salary history blank, you will not be considered further. These companies are sending a clear message to prospective employees -- that they want to use irrelevant information as a basis for lowballing applicants and obtaining top tier talent without paying top tier talent salaries :annoyed. In a past life, I knew I was a top performer and it was well known that companies that reject your application for not providing salary history were bottom feeders, plain and simple. Average applicants run with the herd and answer this question because they are scared of losing a job opportunity. Top performers know they are in demand and know there are always opportunities for their talents.

Top performers know their worth and either deftly avoid answering this question or take their talents elsewhere. Life it too short to work for companies that do not pay employees their true worth.
Amateur investors are not cool-headed logicians.

Danzangdc
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by Danzangdc » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:06 am

Tell the employer that you'll share the salary history for your current position if they will share the salary history for the position you're applying for. Fair is fair. [Not serious, but illustrates why the question is unfair for employers to ask]

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by carolinaman » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:11 am

covertfantom wrote:
corwin wrote:Asking for a salary expectation is a way to make sure neither side is wasting time. Giving a range is acceptable. However, when a future employer asks for your salary history it's like a car dealer asking you how much money you have in your bank account; it only hurts your ability to negotiate.

I recently interviewed someone who told me he would have to take a pay cut to work at my company. I knew immediately we didn't want him. He would never be happy and he would make us miserable too.
Yikes. What a red flag.... what on Earth would compel someone to take a pay CUT?
Twice in my career I took pay cuts of greater than 10%. The first instance was to gain valuable experience to enhance my career and the second instance was to improve quality of life by getting out of a toxic work environment. In both instances, it worked out very well in the long run. Sometimes you have to take a step back to enable yourself to progress in the future. People need to have a long term plan for their career.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by KlangFool » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:21 am

Big Dog wrote:
First, do not give them your salary history.
Such a person would not receive an offer at our company. After an initial screening or two, we ask all applicants to complete our application form, which includes previous salary info. If they leave it blank, well I guess that sends a message, does it not? :annoyed
Big Dog,

Vice versa. Your company had sent a message that it will not treat its employee fairly. Hence, any competitive candidate will not apply to your company either.

<<I guess that sends a message, does it not? :annoyed>>

Yes. It does send a message to all the applicants. And, the news will spread.

KlangFool

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by mcraepat9 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:22 am

KlangFool wrote:
Big Dog wrote:
First, do not give them your salary history.
Such a person would not receive an offer at our company. After an initial screening or two, we ask all applicants to complete our application form, which includes previous salary info. If they leave it blank, well I guess that sends a message, does it not? :annoyed
Big Dog,

Vice versa. Your company had sent a message that it will not treat its employee fairly. Hence, any competitive candidate will not apply to your company either.

KlangFool
+1000000000

Very well known among top performers in my field. Only mediocre candidates apply to companies that view employees as a replaceable cog to be acquired at lowest possible cost.
Amateur investors are not cool-headed logicians.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by KlangFool » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:24 am

carolinaman wrote:
covertfantom wrote:
corwin wrote:Asking for a salary expectation is a way to make sure neither side is wasting time. Giving a range is acceptable. However, when a future employer asks for your salary history it's like a car dealer asking you how much money you have in your bank account; it only hurts your ability to negotiate.

I recently interviewed someone who told me he would have to take a pay cut to work at my company. I knew immediately we didn't want him. He would never be happy and he would make us miserable too.
Yikes. What a red flag.... what on Earth would compel someone to take a pay CUT?
Twice in my career I took pay cuts of greater than 10%. The first instance was to gain valuable experience to enhance my career and the second instance was to improve quality of life by getting out of a toxic work environment. In both instances, it worked out very well in the long run. Sometimes you have to take a step back to enable yourself to progress in the future. People need to have a long term plan for their career.
carolinaman,

Did you tell the interviewer that you are taking a pay cut? That is my issue.

KlangFool

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by BW1985 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:28 am

It's all a game. If you really sold yourself during the interview then you have the leverage, if they could take you or leave you then they have the leverage. How interested in you was the hiring manager? That is the key answer in determining how you play the negotiation game.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by KlangFool » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:38 am

Folks,

In this day and age and if a person had worked long enough, we have contacts through Linkedin in almost every single employer that we are interested in. So, we could find out the salary range for the job that we are applying to. In many cases, we contacted the hiring manager directly and bypass the whole HR process. Usually, we did a background check on the employer too. Only candidates that do not know how to play this game get caught in the system. But, then again, those are the people that did not invest in their social network.

KlangFool

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:43 am

carolinaman wrote:
covertfantom wrote:
corwin wrote:Asking for a salary expectation is a way to make sure neither side is wasting time. Giving a range is acceptable. However, when a future employer asks for your salary history it's like a car dealer asking you how much money you have in your bank account; it only hurts your ability to negotiate.

I recently interviewed someone who told me he would have to take a pay cut to work at my company. I knew immediately we didn't want him. He would never be happy and he would make us miserable too.
Yikes. What a red flag.... what on Earth would compel someone to take a pay CUT?
Twice in my career I took pay cuts of greater than 10%. The first instance was to gain valuable experience to enhance my career and the second instance was to improve quality of life by getting out of a toxic work environment. In both instances, it worked out very well in the long run. Sometimes you have to take a step back to enable yourself to progress in the future. People need to have a long term plan for their career.
I've had to take pay cuts as well to re-position my career and get into a better company. It was always with Tech Companies that were over-paying me - I had a choice - go down with what I felt was a sinking ship or cut bait and move on. Sometimes if you can't get with the program you should find another program to get with even if that means a pay cut. No hiring company should fault someone for this.

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corwin
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by corwin » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:49 am

corwin wrote: I recently interviewed someone who told me he would have to take a pay cut to work at my company. I knew immediately we didn't want him. He would never be happy and he would make us miserable too.
To follow up, the interviewee volunteered that he would be taking a pay cut. I didn't ask for his salary requirements. I can imagine many reasons why a person would be willing to take a pay cut: change of career or industry, family issues, etc.. His reason was that he was unhappy with his current company. If we hired him he would likely still be unhappy and making less money.

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slayed
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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by slayed » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:50 am

For those giving feedback keep in mind that the OP is a software engineer, which means there is likely to be wildly different compensation for the same position(s) and title(s) at a company. A large part of this difference is due to the initial offer (you will likely never have a better opportunity to increase your salary than you do at the initial negotiation). This is also the time when your hiring manager has the most power to get you that high salary in order to get you on board. If they really want you and your salary is a bit out of range, there is the chance that they make up the difference via equity - stock options etc.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by missingdonut » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:55 am

mcraepat9 wrote:Salary negotiation works well when you are a top performer.

I have done numerous interviews where companies insist that if you leave salary history blank, you will not be considered further. These companies are sending a clear message to prospective employees -- that they want to use irrelevant information as a basis for lowballing applicants and obtaining top tier talent without paying top tier talent salaries :annoyed. In a past life, I knew I was a top performer and it was well known that companies that reject your application for not providing salary history were bottom feeders, plain and simple. Average applicants run with the herd and answer this question because they are scared of losing a job opportunity. Top performers know they are in demand and know there are always opportunities for their talents.

Top performers know their worth and either deftly avoid answering this question or take their talents elsewhere. Life it too short to work for companies that do not pay employees their true worth.
This is absolutely true. If you are highly skilled or going for a high-level position, your salary history is your confidential information and any company that requires it in the application/interviewing process isn't worth your time. "Bottom feeders" is the perfect description of these companies who have little interest in investing in talent -- it's not like they're going to treat you better once you've started working for them!

On the other hand, if you're not highly skilled or you're going for an entry-level or mid-level position, you have much less negotiating leverage.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:56 am

hcj wrote:Am I the only one who lies and just says a number close to what I want them to pay me?
And then if they ask for confirmation? Or worse yet - if they put you through a post-hire background check you will be fired.

OP:
Personally I don't agree with the article someone posted above. If you want to limit your employment options to only companies who aren't going to hold it against you I wouldn't be afraid to disclose your current salary and desired salary. Let them know that you know you are grossly underpaid currently and won't accept an offer unless it is very significantly more than you make now. If you give them a desired salary do NOT give them a range - start high, higher than your desired number. Check numbers on sites such as glassdoor to make sure you aren't being unreasonable.

Similar to what others have stated - if you are applying for a job at my company and don't want to have this discussion you will be dismissed from the interview process.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by NoGambleNoFuture » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:59 am

[/quote]
Yikes. What a red flag.... what on Earth would compel someone to take a pay CUT?[/quote]

I took a pay it to switch industries/roles and now I make 5x what I was making 3 years ago... It's not uncommon to make a lateral move when switch roles or industries and even sometimes a pay cut when you're hungry enough.

To the OP, if you're talking to an in house recruiter just be open and honest with what you want. Decide in your mind what you're really looking for and willing to accept and tell the recruiter. Don't give us a range, we'll come in at the low end 100% of the time.

As much as candidates want to play games and go back and forth and be big bad negotiators, we've got other things to do and we'd rather just get the role filled and move on. Every time we increase an offer we need to go back and get an offer completely reapproved and trust me we don't feel like doing that over and over again. We're the good guys, just tell us what you're looking for and we'll do our best to make it happen. In your instance, say $125k if that's what will make you thrilled.

We almost never send out blind offers, and almost always know the candidate is going to sign as soon as we get an offer approved because we insist on having those "what's it going to take for you to accept" conversations early on.

To all of those suggesting "whatever you do, don't give them a number first make them give you the first offer"... If you do this you're just wasting everyone's time. We have candidates sometimes that just have this mentality no matter what so well just come in on the lowest end of our ranges and they'll reject that offer 100% of the time. Then we'll have to go back to the "okay, we told you to tell us what you were looking for and you didn't so would you like to tell us now" type conversations.

Recruiters are your friends. We want to fill a role more than anyone. Help us help you.

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Re: Prospective Employer Wants Salary History & Desired Salary

Post by NoGambleNoFuture » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:05 am

Also, it hasn't been often that we've had candidates verify income by producing tax documents and/or offer letters but I have seen it done - especially in sales where there is typically some significant overstatement of commissions earned as it relates to base salary (and then use of that OTE to negotiate higher bases). Don't get caught with your pants down.

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