‚ÄúWhat do you currently make?‚Äù a question we‚Äôve all heard at least once in our lifetimes.
‚ÄúWhy does it matter?‚Äù a response we‚Äôve all thought more than once in our lifetimes.
Salary talk is cringe-worthy‚Äîthere‚Äôs no doubt about that. It‚Äôs awkward on both the recruiter and the candidate ends.
Unfortunately, a salary discussion has to be had to find the best candidate for the job. Plain and simple.
The good news is, it doesn‚Äôt have to start out with ‚Äúwhat do you currently make?‚Äù or ‚Äúhow much were you making in your previous position?‚Äù
Because honestly, that actually doesn‚Äôt matter.
What matters is the current expectation.
If you are a recruiter, you‚Äôre told by the hiring manager the position you‚Äôre recruiting for has a budget of $XX-$XX salary range. That‚Äôs that. Now it‚Äôs your job to find a solid piece of talent who can fit that number.
Think about when you ask a candidate for their salary history‚Äîwhat if they were grossly underpaid considering their experience, skills, and market rate? And they know that? How are they going to step up if they‚Äôre being paid $40K for a job that should be paying them at least 60K, but you only want to offer them 45K because ‚Äúit‚Äôs still more than their salary now, but 20K under budget.‚Äù?
It‚Äôs all a bunch of beating around the bush, lies, and not being straight to the point. It‚Äôs annoying, honestly.
The question that matters to ask a candidate is ‚Äúwhat are your salary expectations?‚Äù
No digging in the past. No low-balling. No salary history checks.
Do the candidate‚Äôs expectations meet the salary expectations of the job? Do they fall within the salary range? If so, GREAT! Now you can move on to see if they‚Äôre a good fit on a cultural and motivational level. Keep it moving.
And though I‚Äôm targeting primarily recruiters and hiring managers in this post, I have a note for job-seekers as well:
If you‚Äôre asked to give your salary history, especially at the beginning of the hiring process, do not hesitate to respond saying ‚ÄúI‚Äôd be happy to discuss compensation as soon as I learn more about the position.‚Äù
Now, you should do extensive research on the type of position you‚Äôre applying for, your market rate, etc. upon applying so you have a solid salary range expectation in mind, but if you‚Äôre waiting to learn in detail the responsibilities you‚Äôd be taking on, that‚Äôs just smart business.
So here‚Äôs the TL; DR: Stop asking for salary history. Ask for salary expectations. If it‚Äôs a match, then it‚Äôs a win-win.