Should you ever divulge your salary to a recruiter?

on 10 August 2017
Salary negotiation for IT jobs- arm wrestle

]A couple of weeks ago I came across an article by Josh Doody, author of “Fearless Salary Negotiation: A step-by-step guide to getting paid what you’re worth”. The article, warns candidates that divulging your salary to a recruiter is one of the ‘most expensive interview mistakes’ a candidate can make and could cost you thousands in your final salary offer.

Candidates are sometimes unsure how close to their chest to play their cards with a recruiter, because, frankly, a lot of recruiters haven’t earnt an honourable track record for honesty and transparency. Aren’t they just trying to sell me the role? What are they going to tell the client?

Untrustworthy recruiters are a blight on the industry.

We pride ourselves on working against this stereotype. So let’s be clear: recruiters get a commission from fulfilling a vacant role, there’s no secret there. It’s in their best interest to get you the highest salary available to increase their commission. They also serve the client, who are a business and who won’t want to deliberately pay over the odds. Most commission structures include a rebate clause so that if a candidate jumps ship or fails to meet the expectations of the role within 6 months or so, then the recruiter will be liable to lose ta portion of their fee. The system works to benefit the client and the candidate and to only place candidates in roles where they will be genuinely happy and thrive.

A recruiter may have his or her feet in both pools, but that does not mean they are not to be trusted. Deception on either side, promising the world to a candidate or client, simply doesn't work.

Doody proffers that by divulging your salary, you could be missing out on thousands of pounds that was within the company’s budget for the role. The advice in the article is ‘play your cards close’- keep your expected salary and current salary private until the employer discloses what they are willing to pay.

There is some truth in the salary disclosing game of chicken. S/he who fesses’ up first loses their leverage. However, it entirely misses out on the value that a knowledgeable recruiter can add by having a transparent view of the situation. We’re not just a go-between for the hiring manager and the applicant, we have years of knowledge tracking industry trends and salaries depending on specific skills, roles, experience, and regions.

We're also dedicated to closing the pay gap and can give candid information to ensure that our candidates are priced competitively in the market. Without this information, our negotiation with the company is limited. 

I’ve yet to come across a company who would want their employees to join their team seething with injustice, already eyeing up a pay rise or looking suspiciously at their colleagues. There is no reason why transparency on all sides shouldn't be celebrated and embraced, especially with a view to giving inequality nowhere to hide. Both parties are free to negotiate until they are happy. The only person who doesn’t have a say is the recruiter.

There is no secret trick, script or gimmick to get you more money in a job interview. Not letting a recruiter in on what you are currently being paid, and what you are looking to get, shuts you out from the wealth of advice that an experienced and talented recruiter can offer. It is their job to know the industry, the salary ranges, and trends for different roles. If you trust them, their years of experience should pay off for the slight feeling of vulnerability disclosing your salary aims.

Furthermore, clients will often likely ask for your salary aims outright. If you are direct and honest with them, they will likely react similarly with honesty and transparency. Play your cards close to your chest and you run the risk of appearing cagey or dishonest. Armed with the recruiter’s knowledge of the current climate and rates, you’ll be in the best position for negotiating. Trust is key. If you don’t trust your recruiter, find one you can.



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