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Should I let recruiters know my current salary?

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  • Nov 26th, 2009 1:54 pm
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Deal Fanatic
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May 11, 2008
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Quiggie wrote: I did some brief googling and was unable to find a definite answer, but here's an article which suggests that salary is one of the questions routinely asked by recruiters or HR depts when doing a background check on a new employee: http://www.hrmanagement.gc.ca/gol/hrman ... 11541.html
You can ask but they dont have to tell...same when asking the applicant.
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
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rems wrote: Why would companies disclose how much they pay their employees? If they underpay them then it opens them up for competitors to steal good employees.
While it may not be true for some of the little guys, for the F500's, within an industry, most companies know very much what the competition is offering with respect to base, bonuses, perks etc...

ftr, I have no problem providing my salary to headhunters...I also tell them what I would be willing to accept as a minimum for consideration for particular roles.
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Nov 19, 2005
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I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain.
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dreamwalker wrote: I can't fathom why you guys wouldn't

The headhunters are working for you and themselves .. its a win win situation fi they can find you a place that pays better..

It's completely stupid to tell them you are making a higher amount because then they won't be able to find you a better placement

Besides, they know when you are lying, trust me.. you're not the first people they've spoken to in that position
Say you make 50K. You tell that to your headhunter. The employer was willing to pay 60K. But since they know you make 50, offering 55 is still more but not as much as you could have gotten...by showing your cards, you lose some negotiating power...
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Mar 7, 2009
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rems wrote: You can ask but they dont have to tell...same when asking the applicant.
Maybe they don't have to... but they might, there's no law preventing it. So it's best not to lie. If you get caught in a lie you can pretty much guarantee you won't get the job then.
Deal Addict
May 16, 2005
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dreamwalker wrote:
The headhunters are working for you and themselves .. its a win win situation fi they can find you a place that pays better..
Wrong...The headhunters are not working for you....

They are working for the companies that are looking to fill the vacant positions...
They get pay by the hiring companies, not by you...

always remember this when you are dealing with headhunters.

As a byproduct of their work, they will help you find a job...But their main objective is to help their client(companies) fill their vacancies.
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Jul 28, 2003
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I am currently undergoing a background check process with a company that I interviewed with. During the interview, I did mention what I make now and kind of regretted it after. Regardless, though, the background check asks this information. I should also mention the check is being done by an external company.

Like others have said, headhunters most likely have dealt with people like yourself (and maybe with others from your same company) and will know if you are fudging your salary numbers.

The formal offer has yet to be provided to me and there is no idea as to what salary will be offered. There's a specific number I am looking for in order to make the switch worth the longer commute, longer hours, loss in seniority, and a slight decrease in vacation.
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Dec 31, 2005
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rems wrote: Say you make 50K. You tell that to your headhunter. The employer was willing to pay 60K. But since they know you make 50, offering 55 is still more but not as much as you could have gotten...by showing your cards, you lose some negotiating power...
But typically you are never moving for an equivalent job. It is pretty easy to phrase: I currently make x, but would not move for less than Y.
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Mar 16, 2009
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If you tell a recruiter your salary either a inhouse or headhunter (contigent agencies will always ask salary to make sure they can screw you the most) all you are doing is handicapping your own ability to negotiate salary. Also, once a majority of these places get your resume, especially the more senior you are it isn't too hard to guesstimate how much money you currently make (base that is).

A recruiter will call a person's place of an employment usually to verify basic information such as position title, direct phone line, and email (if they can't extrapolate it themselves). Also, with regards to headhunters, many candidates will take themselves out of the running by withdrawing after hearing about compensation (which just makes it easier to guess how much they really make).

So tbqh don't go handicapping yourself by stating a number for the sake of lying or being honest; you are only limiting your bargaining ability and thus your ultimate compensation in the end.
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Nov 24, 2004
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I can't believe any employer would give an employee's salary information to anyone who comes calling (other than Revenue Canada or the courts when necessary). It'd be a colossal violation of privacy rights.
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Quiggie wrote: Maybe they don't have to... but they might, there's no law preventing it. So it's best not to lie. If you get caught in a lie you can pretty much guarantee you won't get the job then.
I agree that you shouldn`t lie...but I think it`s best if you don`t disclose it at all.
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Aug 28, 2007
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As one of the first responders, I realize that I advocated lying to recruiters, but I tried to qualify my statement by saying you should lie "within reason".

So, if you're making $50K as an analyst, don't be silly and say that you're making $80K. That's not within reason.

I said this because I have a friend at Robert Half and he showed me a document that's distributed to their staff annually.

It has a long list of positions (in Accounting & Finance), and a base salary range for each of those positions according to a company's revenues, size, and the rank of the position within the organization. It also includes a cost of living factor, by city, so that the salary can be accurately reflected according to where you live in Canada.

According to this document (in 2009), an analyst (Financial, Accounting, whatever, 1 to 3 years of experience) in a mid-size company (up to $250MM in annual revenues) should be in the range of $43,750 and $55,250. If you live in Toronto, multiply that by 1.042. If you have a grad degree or designation, add 10%.

That's a $12K range that you're working with!

So, if you're an analyst making $43/$44K and you tell a recruiter that you work for XYZ corp, have 3 yrs under your belt and you're making $50/$51K, then that's within reason.

The benefits?
- When (not if) they try to low-ball you for a salary, at least it will be one that's based on a higher salary assumption.
- Your fudged salary is still within a reasonable range, and there's no real reason for your "lie" to set off any alarms.

Someone said it earlier and they were correct. Recruiters aren't in it for you. They're working for the employers. You're just a commodity to them and if it's easier for them to sell you to a company at a cheaper price, they'll do it as long as they can close the sale quickly. But that leaves you at a disadvantage.

According to this same report, as a Sr. Analyst, I'm below the low range. People at my company have been complaining about their salaries for a long time. And I know the policy of our HR dept is to NOT disclose salaries to external parties. So I no longer have any issues giving recruiters a fake salary that fills on the midpoint of the range shown in this report.
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Apr 6, 2003
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I tell them but then I always make sure to ask the interviewer how much he makes, and I ask how much the manager the position will be reporting to will make.
People who are in my gang: Nikita, Spidey, weedb0y, jcoltage, deep, pitz, Sylvestre, Icedawn, 3weddings, Ambermoon, CSK'sMom, jazzsax, bokep, matdwyer, Dash, KorruptioN, angekfire, sxz, WontonTiger, YYZFA, king_george, 45ED, sxz, Ojam

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TooSoonJr wrote: They aren't ALLOWED to discuss your salary, if they do you can take them to the cleaners.

I can register a company called TooSoonJr Recruiting for $80 with the provincial gov't and start calling up everyone's employers and requesting that info....yea, that's not happening.
Can you explain why or cite an actual law? I've seen some companies that publish people's annual salaries...
People who are in my gang: Nikita, Spidey, weedb0y, jcoltage, deep, pitz, Sylvestre, Icedawn, 3weddings, Ambermoon, CSK'sMom, jazzsax, bokep, matdwyer, Dash, KorruptioN, angekfire, sxz, WontonTiger, YYZFA, king_george, 45ED, sxz, Ojam

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dreamwalker wrote: I can't fathom why you guys wouldn't

The headhunters are working for you and themselves .. its a win win situation fi they can find you a place that pays better..

It's completely stupid to tell them you are making a higher amount because then they won't be able to find you a better placement

Besides, they know when you are lying, trust me.. you're not the first people they've spoken to in that position
absolutely incorrect and false for so many reasons.
People who are in my gang: Nikita, Spidey, weedb0y, jcoltage, deep, pitz, Sylvestre, Icedawn, 3weddings, Ambermoon, CSK'sMom, jazzsax, bokep, matdwyer, Dash, KorruptioN, angekfire, sxz, WontonTiger, YYZFA, king_george, 45ED, sxz, Ojam

*WE GONNA GIT YOU!
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May 11, 2008
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ullyeus wrote: Can you explain why or cite an actual law? I've seen some companies that publish people's annual salaries...
are you referring to public employees that make over 100K?
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Oct 27, 2008
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rems wrote: that`s not until the end of the interview process...and only if they`re serious about you as a candidate for the job. And they`ll call HR which I believe doesn`t have the privilege to tell them your current salary...only to confirm that you did indeed work there.
That is what I think as well.

However, as for revealing my current salary range, I have a good reason not to. Doing so breaches my current employment contract which states I am not allowed to discuss my salary. Telling a company this saves myself from having to reveal it, and also shows them that I will take my job & responsibilities seriously.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 23, 2007
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Recruiters will generally try to find you a job that pays better than your current job. So if you are "overpaid", disclose it. If you think you are underpaid, don't disclose it.

I don't recommend lying about it. You never know when a lie is going to come back and bite you.

For reference checks, I believe employers are not allowed to disclose a lot of things, and salary is one of them. I think verifying employment period and position is the most they can ask. Of course, lots of smaller companies (with no HR) will end up giving away extra information since the person giving the reference is probably not an HR person and wouldn't know the rules.
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Aug 28, 2007
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The question still remains.

Why is knowing a "past" salary supposed to be so damn important?

If a role says that it'll pay $60K, and you have to candidates (Cand.A who makes $45K and Cand.B who makes $50K) and both are qualified for the job, what sense is there in trying to change the salary on the guy who makes less?

Complete B.S.

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