I knew a recruiter who accidentally left a paycheck stub on the copier. It didn’t take long and the whole office resented him. He was overpaid and everyone hated him. Everything he said or did seemed offensive. It didn’t help morale that he was inept too.

The one thing you rarely hear someone talk about is how much money they make. Since the creation of man, money has been a touchy subject. The only people who should know how much cash you bring home are your spouse, boss, the IRS and your recruiter (me).

For candidates, discussing their salary is about as comfortable as accidentally walking inside a bank with ski mask on. They don’t openly dole out their salary info. That’s why being a recruiter is frustrating at times.

I’ve had candidates tell me about their pending divorce, their health problems, marital affairs, recent arrests. They tell me everything under the sun except how much bacon they REALLY bring home.

I dread it when candidates answer my question with a question. I’ll ask “What is your current base salary?” and they’d answer with this lame question, “How much does the job pay?”

I’d used reply to these questions and say “A lot more than you probably make now,” but that usually led to an awkward silence on the other end.

I used to tip-toe around salary discussion until the very end. I’d learn they were Bill Gates rich and that led to an awkward silence on my end. That was a waste of time.

Here is the deal. As a recruiter I need the salary info. So, I have to resort to a number of ways to get candidates to fess up their salary info. It's not pretty at times. But out of curiosity, what is your best way to approach salary? I know, I know this is a blog - not a message board or a place for discussion. But seriously, show me the money!

Views: 162

Comment by Dan Nuroo on January 13, 2009 at 10:22pm
I love this one... people tell me "That's a tough question" My response... "NO it isn't.. you know how much you want to earn, you just don't want to tell me"

or of course, "I'm not looking at the money side of things, I don't care... it's the opportunity that matters" My response, "cool, so if I offer you $2000 a year you'll accept?"

alternatively the big bands... "somewhere between $50,000 and $90,000 depending on the job" "OK so if I offer you $50K you'll accept?"

Why dance huh, there are younger people around who are better movers than me to do that.
Comment by pam claughton on January 15, 2009 at 12:18pm
It's usually one of the last questions I'll ask a candidate. You want to really get to know them first, and find out what's driving them. It's not always the money. I usually ease into by asking something like, so let's talk about what you want in your next position. What is the most important thing? and what's next after that? Okay, let's discuss salary. What are you currently making and how is that structured? Is it all base or base and bonus? Do you have any other compensation such as stock options? How vested are you? Will you be leaving anything on the table? When is your bonus paid out? Then, 'what is your current base salary.' By that point, it's just part of the salary discussion.

If they resist, I usually just say, "I know it's odd to be talking so casually about money, but in order to help you, this is information I need to know. So, what is your base salary?" And then they usually will discuss. This is private information though, so you do need to sort of prove yourself worthy of it, by investing time talking to the candidate at length before asking.


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