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About Salary History

Hong Anderson
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Joined: Jul 05, 2005
Posts: 1936
Hi Andy,
You mentioned in your book that "Never Tell Anyone Your Salary History".
By history, you mean only salary before the current one or never mention any salary at all?

I think it's useful to mention the latest salary, because for example, if currently I got 100 salary, normally I wouldn't want for a job that get paid only 50.
But I agree that there is little point including salary history other than the latest one.

All comments from anybody are welcome as well.


SCJA 1.0, SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.4, SCBCD 1.3, SCJP 5.0, SCEA 5, SCBCD 5; OCUP - Fundamental, Intermediate and Advanced; IBM Certified Solution Designer - OOAD, vUML 2; SpringSource Certified Spring Professional
Andy Lester
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Kengkaj Sathianpantarit wrote:if currently I got 100 salary, normally I wouldn't want for a job that get paid only 50.


There are any number of reasons why this might be the case. Perhaps you were overpaid at your last job. Maybe you need a job that fits a number of criteria, but a much lower salary. Maybe the last job had no benefits and made up for it with much higher salary. The reasons are infinite.

The key is that your salary at your last job has no bearing on the value you bring to a new job. Telling someone your salary history only puts you at a disadvantage, and has absolutely no benefit for you.


The Working Geek, a blog of job hunting and work life for techies. Author of Land The Tech Job You Love. Follow me at @theworkinggeek
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61433
    
  67

Exactly. The pressure to reveal your salary history is enormous during the interview process, but I always decline and simply state the salary range I am expecting for the new position.


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Andy Lester
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Bear Bibeault wrote:Exactly. The pressure to reveal your salary history is enormous during the interview process, but I always decline and simply state the salary range I am expecting for the new position.


What I suggest in the book is "I'm sorry, but that's confidential." Repeat it like a mantra.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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  67

Andy Lester wrote:What I suggest in the book is "I'm sorry, but that's confidential." Repeat it like a mantra.

It's almost as if I already read your book! That's exactly what I say.

Except to overly-pushy recruiters. They get the slightly less professional version (but only after getting overly pushy).
Hong Anderson
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Joined: Jul 05, 2005
Posts: 1936
Thanks.
So I think the best way is to mention only the expected salary?
Hong Anderson
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Joined: Jul 05, 2005
Posts: 1936
Bear Bibeault wrote:
Except to overly-pushy recruiters. They get the slightly less professional version (but only after getting overly pushy).

Regarding recruiters, I don't understand how dare they ask, even in situations that they have no right to ask.
I think some recruiters just want to know information and don't care if it's appropriate or not.
Mark Herschberg
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Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Andy Lester wrote:
What I suggest in the book is "I'm sorry, but that's confidential." Repeat it like a mantra.


Unfortunately, that doesn't always work. Their response is, "if you want this job, you will tell me" and you get into a standoff of who wants the other more.

The negotiation tactic useful here is to remove authority. As described here you need to commit to a course of action, such as a gag clause.

--Mark
Bear Bibeault
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  67

I've heard it said that in any negotiation "he who wants the outcome the most loses".
Andy Lester
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Mark Herschberg wrote:Unfortunately, that doesn't always work. Their response is, "if you want this job, you will tell me" and you get into a standoff of who wants the other more.


It does work. If they won't hire you, then you've avoided working for a company that wants to muscle you into a position that is directly disadvantageous to you. A company that demands to know what you made before, even though it's none of their business.

Let me repeat that: It's none of their business. The company has no right whatsoever to know what your past salary was.

Further, you are under no obligation to supply the information.

Do you want to work for a company that wants to force you to buckle under their iron grip before you've even started working there?
Andy Lester
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Posts: 61
Here's an illuminating article on saying "No" to salary history from Nick Corcodilos: http://asktheheadhunter.com/hasalary.htm

Key excerpts:


In my opinion, your salary is an irrelevant measure of your worth outside the confines of your place of employment.



A responsible, well-managed business shouldn't care what you've been earning. What will matter to that company is whether and to what extent it needs your abilities; how much it can afford to pay you; and how much profit it projects you will bring to its bottom line.



Any company should be ashamed of itself for prying so insistently into your finances, and embarrassed to admit that it seeks to determine your value through the judgments of other companies, rather than to evaluate and judge you for itself.

Mark Herschberg
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Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Andy, you're making a moral argument. Sounds great, but back in the real world, especially in an economy like this, employers have the edge. They can choose not to hire you any reason. It comes down to do they want you more than you want the job. If it's the former, they'll accept the lack of information, otherwise, if you want the job you'll play ball.

I agree with the arguments, but it doesn't matter whether or not I agree, it only matters what the hiring manager may think. As long as the market allows this position, that's how the market will work. Candidates should work to change how this is done in the marketplace, but know that if you take a stand, it may be a while before the rest of the market stand with you.

Your first two quotes in your last message are the same as the ones I made a few years ago in the post I listed. As for the third, it's true most of the time. For government work or private work with trade secrets he employer has a right to know that you are not a risk, and that includes checking into criminal history and financial stability (beyond merely salary history).

--Mark
Andy Lester
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Mark Herschberg wrote:Andy, you're making a moral argument... If you want the job you'll play ball.


It's not a moral argument. It's a matter of going into a job knowing who you're working for. If you give in, you know that your employer has said "We're going to use our leverage to take advantage of you. Welcome aboard!" That's a choice each person must make.

I'm not saying not to do it. Just understand who you're working for.
Henry Wong
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Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18896
    
  40


I did this many many years ago. I told HR my salary, got an offer of about the same, and accepted. And I resigned a few months later (not sure if it was because of the salary though).

Looking back, I don't think my mistake was giving out my previous salary. I think the mistake was accepting. Personally, I see nothing wrong with just asking for a specific pay package, even if it is radically different from the current pay package.


Now... On the other hand, I can easily see a case where the previous salary is too high. And you can easily be considered as overqualified.

Henry

Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
arulk pillai
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Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3223
I think it is a very good point Andy is making. This is very true especially with the recruitment agencies. I always quote a range $MIN - $MAX. The $MIN being what the position is looking to pay. This is important because I don't want to price myself out of the market. Once I get a foot in the door for an interview, it is my job to convince the prospective employer how I can add value to their organization, how I can bring some of the achievements from my past jobs, etc. If I get an offer then I will start negotiating to push my salary/contract rates towards the $MAX. If I get multiple job offers, this puts me in better position to negotiate my salary. It is also important that you stand your grounds as some recruitment agencies can be unscrupulous.

At times, when there is a new developement project, a prospective employer might be looking for say 3 senior developers. They might budget say 3 * 50K = 150K for the 3 positions. If you really prove yourself in the interviews and negotiate with the win/win mind set, you will find that same budget can be reallocated as 1 * 60K + 2 * 45K.

So , it is really important to know your value. This value is not purely based on number of years of experience or number of certifications you have, but your past accomplishments (must be quantifiable) and value adds. Some professionals are very talented, pro-active, great probelm solvers, technically very competent, quick learners and most importantly get things done. They deserve a big jump in salary. So, revealing your salary history can work against you.

It is also important to show that you are keen on the job, but not desparate (even if you are).





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Pushkar Choudhary
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Joined: May 21, 2006
Posts: 425

How about a case where a person's current salary is much lesser than the market average? e.g. If my current salary is X, whereas the market average for my profile & experience is Y, which is about 50% more than X. Now, knowing that I'm getting far much lesser than what I should get, when I go for an interview I would quote my expectation to be say Y + 40-50%. And then if I reveal my current salary (which I would be asked to), then the hike from my current salary of X to my expectation of Y + 40-50% looks huge and I think I would lose out and would be forced to accept a much lesser salary and the cycle would continue in any further job changes.

What are your thoughts on this?

Also, since my current salary is too less, if in the interview, I say that I do not want to reveal my salary, how would it be received by the interviewer? Would he think that I'm trying to hide something / trying to be too smart? Sorry if it sounds stupid, but its an honest question.


-Pushkar
Andy Lester
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Pushkar Choudhary wrote:I say that I do not want to reveal my salary, how would it be received by the interviewer?


Answer politely but firmly "I'm sorry, but salary history is confidential."

He might be surprised, or annoyed, but the alternative is letting the hiring company take advantage of you.
Sandeep Awasthi
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Joined: Oct 23, 2003
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I am not sure if not disclosing current salary will work in India. I don't know if anyone has done it. About expected salary I may not disclose it and it works but about current salary, not really sure.


Sandeep
Andy Lester
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Sandeep Sa wrote:I am not sure if not disclosing current salary will work in India. I don't know if anyone has done it. About expected salary I may not disclose it and it works but about current salary, not really sure.


Fair enough, I don't know the norms in India. I defer to others more knowledgeable.
Sandeep Awasthi
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It's because current salary is important criteria in shortlisting candidates. If someone from India has done not disclosing current salary, I will be happy to know it.
Andy Lester
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Sandeep Sa wrote:It's because current salary is important criteria in shortlisting candidates. If someone from India has done not disclosing current salary, I will be happy to know it.


That's why they do it here in the US, too. The way to handle that is not to give your current salary, but to give your salary requirements.
Sandeep Awasthi
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I understand your point. I never tried it. This is why I am seeking inputs from someone from India who has done it so that I will also start doing it.
Pushkar Choudhary
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Sandeep Sa wrote:I understand your point. I never tried it. This is why I am seeking inputs from someone from India who has done it so that I will also start doing it.


Yes. Me too. I have no reservations against this, apart from the fact that I've never heard of anyone doing this in India.
Sashank Hastir
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In India, it's impossible. I guess, if you've to quote Y which may be much higher than your current, X, you may have to put it like this: "Yes, I am earning X but I believe that's not what my real worth is. I'm looking for Y -/+ Delta. I'm sure you agree to it by now that you've chosen to hire me. If you need some time to consider my decision, I can surely wait."

But to say that, you must be happy with your current job and not desperate to switch. And most probably, they may not agree and may not even get back to you. I loved the quote someone quoted above: "He who wants an outcome the most loses." I will try to follow it the next time I hunt for a job.

Great discussion!
arulk pillai
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Sandeep Sa wrote:I understand your point. I never tried it. This is why I am seeking inputs from someone from India who has done it so that I will also start doing it.


Do they verify your salary? What if your current salary = expected salary ?
Edvins Reisons
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Please take into account that not all salaries can be kept secret. Notably in the public sector, the salary tables are publicly available, or just barely hidden.
To sum it up, this information about a significant proportion of salaries is NOT confidential, and shouldn't be.
Sandeep Awasthi
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arulk pillai wrote:
Sandeep Sa wrote:I understand your point. I never tried it. This is why I am seeking inputs from someone from India who has done it so that I will also start doing it.


Do they verify your salary? What if your current salary = expected salary ?


current salary=expected salary? Can you elaborate what you mean.
Sagar Rohankar
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    1

arulk pillai wrote:
Sandeep Sa wrote:I understand your point. I never tried it. This is why I am seeking inputs from someone from India who has done it so that I will also start doing it.

Do they verify your salary? What if your current salary = expected salary ?

I found many employer who needs your previous two months pay slip or whatever which proved what's your current salary is.


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Hong Anderson
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Sagar Rohankar wrote:
arulk pillai wrote:
Sandeep Sa wrote:I understand your point. I never tried it. This is why I am seeking inputs from someone from India who has done it so that I will also start doing it.

Do they verify your salary? What if your current salary = expected salary ?

I found many employer who needs your previous two months pay slip or whatever which proved what's your current salary is.

They should ask after you get employed.
Vyas Sanzgiri
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[cross-posted]


===Vyas Sanzgiri===
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Sandeep Awasthi
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Kengkaj Sathianpantarit wrote:
Sagar Rohankar wrote:
arulk pillai wrote:
Sandeep Sa wrote:I understand your point. I never tried it. This is why I am seeking inputs from someone from India who has done it so that I will also start doing it.

Do they verify your salary? What if your current salary = expected salary ?

I found many employer who needs your previous two months pay slip or whatever which proved what's your current salary is.

They should ask after you get employed.

Do you mean they can not ask your current salary proof to decide your offer? Why?
Andy Lester
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Sandeep Sa wrote:
Do you mean they can not ask your current salary proof to decide your offer? Why?


What you made in the past should have no bearing on what your value to the company is now.

Sandeep Awasthi
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Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 597
What you made in the past should have no bearing on what your value to the company is now.


I agree. But I can use this sentence while negotiating salary. For example if I have to disclose my salary is X and I expect X+50% and HR person says my expectation is higher then I can use this sentence for convincing why I expect X+50% as one of my negotiating point or I can say I deserve it. But if I say I my current salary is confidential, there is high chance that I will not get shortlisted for an interview. This is practical at least in India. If you see few posts above from India, you will notice it.
My take is even if I disclose my salary and company is not offering to me what I am expecting and I can afford to wait, then I will not accept offer and look for other company.

Vyas Sanzgiri
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Sandeep Sa wrote:there is high chance that I will not get shortlisted for an interview. This is practical at least in India.



This is an assumption. When I used to work in India, I had no such questions. You better not get shortlisted for an interview where they rate you according to past salary which plays no role in an interview or selection process.

Try it next time you are looking for a job.
Sandeep Awasthi
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Try it next time you are looking for a job.

I don't want to try. Thank you. May be you do not have enough knowledge in IT market in india.
Sandeep Awasthi
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To add to this one of most popular job portal in India has current salary as mandatory field when you create profile.
Vyas Sanzgiri
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Sandeep Sa wrote:May be you do not have enough knowledge in IT market in india.

Thanks for the compliments.


Sandeep Sa wrote:To add to this one of most popular job portal in India has current salary as mandatory field when you create profile.

It is not revealed to the end employer. You have control over the field.
Sandeep Awasthi
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Posts: 597
Vyas Sanzgiri wrote:
It is not revealed to the end employer. You have control over the field.


There is only one privacy setting section in which
1) you can block the companies who can view your resume. In this case you can block your complete profile from selected companies.
2) Profile visibility : You can hide your profile from all companies.
3) Mailer setting : in which you can control how you would like to get job alerts(SMS/email).

Automated Voice Alerts
4) Promotional emails.

Where you can control your salary visibility?
arulk pillai
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Andy Lester wrote:
What you made in the past should have no bearing on what your value to the company is now.



Absolutely true. To take this further, I also believe that salary based on just number of years of experience is also ridiculous. Some do have real 6 years of experience while others may have 2 years repeated 3 times. Some are more proactive and acquire the right skills, knowledge, and experience much quicker than the rest. IMHO, one's value should be determined by his/her past on the job achievements and performance in the interview.
Pushkar Choudhary
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arulk pillai wrote:one's value should be determined by his/her past on the job achievements and performance in the interview.


should be? --- Yes.
but is it?? --- I really doubt that in India.

Of course your job achievements and performance in the interview does matter a lot, but I'm not sure if that's the only criteria for deciding one's salary.

From whatever I have seen so far, quite a few of the companies decide your salary based on your previous (i.e. current at the time of interviews) salary plus some X percentage and also on how badly they need you. If they need you very badly / urgently, then that X percentage goes up a bit.

Again, this is only what I've seen and heard of companies in India. Others comments are welcome.


-Pushkar
 
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subject: About Salary History