Why does every employer need to know my current salary?

Whatever happened to the old model where you offer an honest amount for the role at hand and then candidates can decide whether they want to apply and/or negotiate for a higher/lower salary?

What I currently make is, in my opinion, often irrelevant, given that the roles I’m considering moving to have very different responsibilities/hours/locations. Also, for the right position, I would be willing to work for a lower salary that I currently make.

So I’m not telling you what I currently make - it’s not relevant at all. :mad:

I feel exactly the same way and told them as much, very politely of course. My history and my goal range might not even correlate, depending on the job.

Even though I had several past HR people tell me they don’t disclose salary, the new employer got my history and used it to set my salary. Why, I don’t know. I think they should start everyone at a mid to low point in the job’s range and see what happens, but then again I’m not HR.

than I currently make” Grr.

I think an employer should decide what to offer based on qualifications and the market for those skills. But the reality is that many employers aren’t diligent enough to figure that all out. My boss is one of the lazy ones and says, “If we like him, let’s give him a 10% increase over whatever he makes now.”

You don’t have to tell them; they don’t have to hire you.

I don’t know what the big deal is.

The way I handle it, I never mention a figure if I can at all avoid it. I always talk in terms of what I bring to the position and wanting a win-win. I know that sounds cheesy, but I use the discussion/question as an opportunity to sell them on my skills and interest in job, while also letting them know that I know that they have constraints on their end.

Any company that gets huffy or says “just give me a figure!” (like one company did), well I remove them from contention. I’m checking them out as much as they’re checking me out, and I don’t want to work for someone who doesn’t understand and respect that I’m just trying to protect my position as much as they are trying to protect theirs.

This is all done, of course, with a light touch.

It’s so they can calculate just how little they can get away with offering you.

I was asked this question today. I just added 50% to my current salary. If they want to pay, I might just move.

That’s reassuring, Carol the Impaler.

But sure, don’t answer that question, be pushy about getting an interview, and have something ready if they call you on it. If the interview goes along the lines of, “How do I know your company is worth working for?”, you might come across as the assertive type. Then you leverage that impression into them choosing you over those other duds- if you think you’re getting a good deal.

Then they are retarded. My current job is so cushy I wouldn’t move for less than double what I make now.

Standard rule is that the first side to give a figure, loses. The advice I was given was to tell them that you will discuss exact figures when there is an offer of employment on the table.

I know that this should probably make sense to me, but I still feel that they’re the ones looking for someone to hire so they should at least specify a salary range so that they’re not wasting eveyone’s time.

At least it has the benefit of letting me know how mean they are. :frowning:

I agree for sure. But it’s a game that you have to play.

I don’t think that was ever the ‘old model’ except maybe for a few rare positions. Employers are lazy in general at figuring out your true worth. They usually just look for the most qualified person they can find within a wide salary range and then offer the person a marginal salary improvement over their old position. They will hardly ever balk at paying their preferred candidate more than a lower one based on requested salary alone.

Once you know that, you can use that to your advantage. I changed positions a number of times and always gave myself a huge ‘raise’ with every move. I just wrapped every potential benefit and bonus into my base salary from my old job into the new desired salary and then listed the benefits and bonuses again when they asked for that. They don’t usually ask for much detail or even check.

For example; What is your current pay? 75K + 25K bonus = 100K. Ask for 100K straight up and then state you want the 25K bonus on top of the 100K. You have an out if they question your figures but I have never had that happen. You just end up with rapid pay boosts with every move. That is the only consistent way to end up with decent pay that I know of.

Two to three percent a year raises (cost of living adjustments) won’t get you anywhere very fast. Promotions will get you more work for marginally better pay but the quickest way to do it is to move around and give yourself a raise based on some variation of this type of strategy.

Most professional jobs have little to do with job value versus salary even if they were able to quantify such a thing. Two people working side by side can have wild salary differences based on nothing more than when they were hired and what they negotiated for at the time. It is your job to make sure that yours is as high as you can get them to cough up.

Thanks Shag, very interesting. Yeah I guess they do have better things to do than perform valuations on each potential employee and position. I should do that for myself. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve done salary administration, and Shagnasty is absolutely correct in all aspects.
Especially in these times of high unemployment and low inflation, the only time you are able to negotiate is when they want you. Which is why you should wait until there is at least an informal offer. Or, say “I think I’d be easily worth $X to you. Don’t you agree?”

While everyone else is on the “employers are stupid my boss is dumb ha ha ha” bandwagon let me offer a perfectly logical reason for this:

They’re asking your salary because it’s a better indicator of your skills and employability than anything you tell them.

In jobs with extremely clear, no-doubt-about-it credentials, they don’t ask this question. If Robert Transport’s looking for a truck driver, they have an amount they’re willing to pay and that’s it. They don’t have to ask you what you make because either you’re a truck driver with the appropriate license and endorsements, or you aren’t.

But if you’re the Project Manager, Applied Program Development or some such thing, what does that mean? A title like “Project Manager” could mean you’re a glorified salesperson at a 20-person company. Or it could mean you’re a serious mover and shaker with enormous project management credentials at a huge company. It could mean you’re a junior PM or a senior PM, but of course you aren’t going to tell the interviewer “My title exaggerates my abilities,” are you? Or what if yu’re in “Sales”? “Account executive” could mean someone taking phone calls from customers at $16/hour or someone moving million dollar contracts who makes $16 a minute. Which one do you want to hire to sell $40 million projects? Are you going to go cheap on that one and risk your entire business?

A rather critical way of screening the overblown from the bona fide is what people make. If someone is passing themselves off as a super duper PM with experience handling big projects in a high demand industry and they make peanuts, they’re full of shit. If they make $115,000, well now, you’ve got yourself an ace candidate.

Except for the fact that this is bullshit. I’ve seen many people kick ass at thier job after taking on new responsibilities, but get marginal pay raises for whatever bullshit reason the company chooses to provide. The fact that they make peanuts is no indication of their ability at their job. It’s the same for the IT industry. Salary inflation has worked both ways there, where you have Java programmers who know all the right acronyms and so make $150K a year but couldn’t program their way out of a wet sack, and demand more with each new job.

Hiring is more an Art than a Science. RickJay points out that a candidates current stated salary is useful data point in leveling, for someone who understands the salary market for a job.

I told them in my last interview that it wasn’t really relevant, and if the job was a good fit for each of us and the salary was fair, it would work out. They made a fair offer and I took the job. (It didn’t work out for other reasons, but they liked me and paid me fairly).

When I was hiring I didn’t see a lot of candidates who outright answered this question for HR. (HR would do the initial screen, which included the salary question, the why are you looking question and a lot of the other basics, by the time we decided on candidates to actually INTERVIEW, those questions were out of the way and it was an evaluation of skills and fit). Most would give a range of what would be acceptable for us to pay. Or we’d get a note from HR “he wouldn’t say what his salary was, but did indicate he currently made “around six figures.”” This is especially true as you move up the ladder, when I was hiring clerks we’d get people who would say “I need to make at least $14 an hour.” When we were hiring management level employees, we’d get people who said “if we are a good fit, we can discuss it then.”