Why is a Recruiter Asking for My Salary?

By: Les Schafer

Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “the good recruiters are here to help me”. Remember we talked about this in a previous blog (Why work with a recruiter)?  So, building from that conversation let’s talk about salary.

Recruiter: “So, Mr. or Mrs. Candidate, what does your current compensation consist of today?”

At this point, a candidate will either let us know where they are at currently  (base salary, annual target bonus, restricted stock units, long term incentive, company car, 401k, benefits, etc.) or without missing a beat, the candidate will say, I would prefer to keep compensation out of the picture for now and just focus on the job and let’s see if it is a good fit.

Recruiter and candidate are about to embark on a journey. On this journey there will be ups and downs and challenges and questions along the way.  This journey will require valuable time to be carved out by both parties because this process is a commitment. The candidate is committing to the recruiter that they are serious about making a job change, they will be available to set up calls to prepare for phone screens and onsite visits and that they will be able to make time to schedule phone interviews and onsite visits.

Before all of this happens, recruiter and candidate need to find out if this new position makes financial sense for the candidate. Will it allow for enough of an increase in salary, does the bonus and equity match up, are the benefits comparable. If this role requires relocation what is typically offered and finally is the location more expensive or less expensive than where the candidate lives now?  You add all these factors up and it becomes clear to the candidate if it initially makes sense to continue in this journey or not.

So, when a recruiter asks you what are you making now, instead of not telling them, just ask “why do you need to know this information”.  The good recruiters have a plan and will tell you why they need this information.

Happy job hunting!