The Salary Question

Ask 10 people, get 10 different answers.

As a recruiter, I always ask my candidates what their current compensation package is (or their last compensation package if they are not employed).  Why do I ask?  Because I need to know where along the price spectrum you fall.  We have to make judgement calls on whether you are going to be a fit for the position we are talking about.  Are you getting paid what you’re worth?  Why not?  Are you out of our price range?  Are you within the range we have budgeted for?

Candidates young and old (but mostly young) argue with me on this one.

Recruiter:  “What is your current compensation package?”
Candidate:  “I get paid what I am worth… what are you prepared to offer for this position?”
Recruiter:  “We’ve budgeted for a base salary of 65-75k with a 10% bonus.  Are you within this range?”
Candidate:  “I don’t want to give you my salary information. I was told it was illegal.”


Illegal?  No.  Blunt?  Yes.  Don’t get me wrong, I used to play that game with recruiters also.  You were taught to never show your cards, to see how much you can get from a future employer without actually telling them how much you are worth.

On the flip side, this question is a great opportunity for you to tell the interviewer exactly how much you are worth.

Recruiter:  “What is your current compensation package?”
Candidate:  “My base salary is currently 90k with a 10% bonus.”
Recruiter:  “Well, unfortunately, we’ve budgeted for a base salary of 65-75k with a 10% bonus.”
Candidate “I understand that I may be out of your budget, but I’ve brought value to the organization by …”

You get the picture.  When we say that our budget is between A and B, there is always a little wiggle room.  Even if we say there is not.

So, how much do you make?


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