Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Should You Share Your Salary History
Should You Share Yur Salary HistoryShould You Share Your Salary HistoryPlay Lets make a deal.Recently, I received a great question from a member of Ladders It seems that all articles on the subject suggest that candidates try to withhold their salary history from companies about to make them an offer. What should you do if you try this tactic and the company asks several times for your salary history, and ultimately says that they will notlage make you an offer until you provide your salary history?Well, folks, heres the answer.Salary-making rule No. 1 in my book is, Postpone salary talk until theres an offer.So, do you follow this rule slavishly? And what do you do when the employer insists ?First, lets acknowledge that rule No. 1 is the hardest rule to follow in the salary negotiation process. Were trained from first grade onward to answer questions. When the teacher called on us, we were rewarded for giving the correct answer. Eventually, we learned that the person who answered th e most questions correctly welches the winner, the valedictorian, the brainThe trouble is, in salary negotiations, its hard to give the right answer. There are a lot of wrong answers, and only a few right ones. If you disclose your salary expectations or history, there are hundreds of numbers that are too high, many more that are too low and only one or two that are just right.Take this example - the company is thinking of a package in the $150,000 range, with $115,000 salary and $35,000 in incentives. Youre currently earning a package of $180,000 with a base salary of $95,000. They ask you what youre earning.Two out of the following three answers are wrongAnswer One $180,000.RESULT You are demoted behind candidate No. 2 whos making $145,000 and better fits their range.Answer Two $95,000 base, plus substantial bonuses.RESULT They demote you behind candidate No. 2 because theyve got an idea whom theyre looking for, and a $95,000 salary doesnt fit. Or, they interview you thoroughly a nd make you a lowball offer.Answer Three Lets keep an open mind on that for now.RESULT The employer is forced to interview you based on skills, qualifications and capabilities, not salary. This is exactly the result we want.Now, the question arises, What if the company ultimately says that they will not make you an offer until you provide your salary history?At this point, the company has every right to insist on an answer. From their viewpoint, it can be a huge waste of time to interview someone only to find out they cant afford that person. Additionally, you dont want to be seen as uncooperative or secretive either. What should you do? Is there a middle ground, a way that will not bump you out of the running, and wont upset the employer?Yes. There are several. Lets explore the one I like to call, Lets make a deal.The tactic here is to make a bargain with the employer. Instead of just giving away your salary information, you make him pay for it with a promise that he will interview you, or at least that he not let salary prevent you from interviewing. That way, you can tell him what he wants to know and not worry that hell knock you out of the running.The strategy goes something like this.Employer What are your currently earning?Candidate Id be glad to share not only my current earnings, but my whole salary history. But I think its a bit too early to get into salary discussions. Im sure you pay a competitive salary, dont you?Employer Well, yes, of course we do.Candidate Then we shouldnt have any difficulty with compensation if the fit is right. Lets explore that for now, if thats OK?Employer Im sorry. Its part of our policy that we have the complete picture of someone before we interview them. I must insist.Candidate No problem. Can I ask you another question?Employer Certainly.Candidate There are several factors I consider when evaluating the fit of a position the challenge, the company culture, location, travel, career path, long-term compensation and immed iate salary and bonuses. So, if the fit is right, Im confident salary wont be a problem. Does that make sense so far?Employer Yes.Candidate OK, heres my question. If my current salary is, say, higher than you thought, or maybe lower than you expected, that wont prevent us from having an interview, will it? So, if I tell you all my salary information, can I be assured that well have an interview one way or the other?Voil Youve played Lets make a deal.Worst-case scenario, she continues to insist that you give her your salary history. If she cant agree to that deal, press it a little further and say, Well, then how about this Since you cant guarantee me a full interview, lets do an initial exploration of the fit right here. Lets see if I have 80 percent or more of what youre looking for. If I do, we can handle the salary information easily and set a time to go into more depth. If it doesnt look like Ive got what youre looking for, then salarys a moot point anyway, isnt it? Lets talk.In summary, the non-disclosure rule helps to get you an interview. You dont have to follow it like a commandment, though. As long as the employer is willing to play by your interview me rules, you can tell her what she wants to know.