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Annoyed at salary history question...

RHELRHEL Member Posts: 195 ■■■□□□□□□□
Why do employers ask this? What does it matter what you made before? They have a range in mind for an opening and if you meet the required skill-set, experience, and education, why should your previous salary have any play in it?

I was recently searching for a new opportunity and interviewed with two different companies -- one (which offered me the position and I accepted) and the other (IBM). Both companies asked me what I previously made and what my salary requirements were.

I can understand the salary requirements -- they want to see if your expectations meet their budget; though that should be all they need!

The IBM interviewer made some comment that SOME people he's interviewed have these ridiculous salary expectation where they'd like to make 30% more than their last salary... My thought... If the market rate for this role is 30+ percent, they are absolutely on track requesting to get paid it. This comment really pissed me off.

I've also had people in forums review my qualifications and tell me that if everything is factual, I'm basically screwed if I move to a high COL area because my "extremely low" COL salary (lets say 65-75) is WELL below what my skillset would pay in a higher COL area. They basically said I would be damned by my 'low' salary. That's a scary thought, I've only been in the workforce out of school 4 years!

However, there is hope. The position I accepted offered me a 20% bump w/o having to negotiate, and I had managed a 65% bump over the position before that (my first full-time job). Also, a friend of mine successfully went from low 40s to low 80s in a job hop where they requested salary history. This may be a rarity though as I'm CONFIDENT many companies will use this information to low-ball you. Makes me sick.
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    gbdavidxgbdavidx Member Posts: 840
    I had a recruiter keep asking me what my current salary was while i was living in Sacramento and tried to keep telling her that the cost of living in San Fran was much higher. So I kept telling her why did she need to know what I currently make and kept telling her what my minimum requirement was, the job was too low so I didn't apply for the job
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    RHELRHEL Member Posts: 195 ■■■□□□□□□□
    The other part of it was that he kept demanding that I give salary requirements. My response was that I need to know more about the position and its responsibilities before I'm able to provide an accurate salary expectation figure (this was merely an initial internal recruiter screening where all I knew about the position was in the job posting).

    He then said that he's required to obtain this information before moving forward... I then asked what range they had budgeted for this position. The response? "Oh, I have not been given details on that just yet..."

    Yeah, right. I gave a range of about 70K-110K dependent on what is required of the position. Ie, 24x7x365 rotation, regular after hours work, standard 40 hour work week or more, benefits package details, etc. I'm pretty sure that was not what they were looking for, but it was all I was willing to provide. It is stupid to sell yourself short prior to the offer when they've got all the cards...
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    the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Honestly I tend to believe it is just a way for them to screw you out of more money. It's the same as them listing a salary range and then saying they plan to pay the low end of the range. Why say there is a range though? If you are upfront about it then I have no issue, but don't say there is a range when there isn't. But back to your topic, it really is so they can get you for the lowest amount possible. We want to pay 60 to 80k a year, but once we know what you make (say you are at 50k) will say that 60k is more then ample. That's why I am hoping to move out on my own in the next 5 years or so. My price is my price and if you don't like it use someone else.
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    gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    One recruiter has tried to tell me that if I go back to day work (I work shifts) then I would have to drop to 37-42K. I earn 44K now. So why should I move jobs?

    Though, this all becomes moot after I've passed CCIE.
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    mokaibamokaiba Member Posts: 162 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I don't have to worry about that as I am usually under a contract that prevents me from speaking about how much I make. My answer to that question has always been and will always be that I cannot answer it per contractual obligations.
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    bermovickbermovick Member Posts: 1,135 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Genius! I never thought of saying that but I'm going to start having to!
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    DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,015 ■■■■■□□□□□
    bermovick wrote: »
    Genius! I never thought of saying that but I'm going to start having to!

    Same here.
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    ChitownjediChitownjedi Member Posts: 578 ■■■■■□□□□□
    mokaiba wrote: »
    I don't have to worry about that as I am usually under a contract that prevents me from speaking about how much I make. My answer to that question has always been and will always be that I cannot answer it per contractual obligations.

    Best route to go, as that question is a loaded question and is only used to see if they can low ball you.Negotiation tactics. If you don't want to discuss your previous salary you don't have to. You might just have to pass up on the job if they are to stubborn, short-sighted, and *uh duh (slob dripping from their gaping mouths) to comprehend.

    You can always say I would not want to discuss salary expectations until its determined I am a good fit for the job... or just say here is what I am willing to take (give a range.) If they want to know what you got paid from your last position, ask them what they paid the previous person that had the position.

    Actually there is some pretty good advice from this article here.

    How to Answer the Question "What Was Your Last Salary?" | LinkedIn
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    Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,310 ■■■■■■■■□□
    The thing I find so funny is how they expect employees to be loyal, but when an employee wants to leave a company to move upward and they want your old salary so they can pay you a couple thousand more... how loyal do you think the employee is going to be to you?
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    ChitownjediChitownjedi Member Posts: 578 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Danielm7 wrote: »
    The thing I find so funny is how they expect employees to be loyal, but when an employee wants to leave a company to move upward and they want your old salary so they can pay you a couple thousand more... how loyal do you think the employee is going to be to you?

    Nothing quite takes the wings out of wanting to stay some where long term more than knowing you were brought in with them undervaluing your worth.
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    GarudaMinGarudaMin Member Posts: 204
    Why not give the recruiter your minimum requirements?

    But then again, that didn't work out too well for me. all the recruiters who were extremely eager to find jobs for me (based on my resume/experience) stop calling after I told them what I want. I even told them what I make, which is what I want as a minimum.

    It seems companies are not paying anymore, they are low-balling everything and everyone. People who wouldn't take a certain pay are taking them due to desperation, which empowers companies to hire for less. It's a shame.
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    RHELRHEL Member Posts: 195 ■■■□□□□□□□
    GarudaMin wrote: »
    Why not give the recruiter your minimum requirements?

    But then again, that didn't work out too well for me. all the recruiters who were extremely eager to find jobs for me (based on my resume/experience) stop calling after I told them what I want. I even told them what I make, which is what I want as a minimum.

    It seems companies are not paying anymore, they are low-balling everything and everyone. People who wouldn't take a certain pay are taking them due to desperation, which empowers companies to hire for less. It's a shame.


    I think that the problem with that is that you will be limiting yourself to a specific number before even knowing critical details about the position.

    Scenario A: Small-medium sized company (6000 employees), solid benefits package, regular 40 hour week, manageable on-call rotation, work from home opportunity, short commute -- my minimum might be around $65K.

    Scenario B: Large global company with multiple time zones to deal with, 24x7 mission critical environment (200K employees), bare bones benefits, 60 hour week expected, always on call, no work from home, and long commute -- my minimum in this situation would jump pretty dramatically. Perhaps $85K.

    Giving a range is nice, but even then you are limiting your starting point before even understanding the necessary specifics about the opportunity. icon_sad.gif
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    SlowhandSlowhand Mod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    A friend and former colleague of mine got shafted by a question about his salary history. He'd been making $50,000 per year at his prior job before getting laid off, but his skillset and experience put him closer to $75,000 - $80,000 per year or so for his type of work in our neck of the woods. When he interviewed at what would become his current workplace, the hiring manager put him on the spot and asked what he'd been making in the past and then gave him a "take it or leave it" type of offer after he divulged his past salary. Since he was unemployed at the time, he had to settle for the same salary as before instead of getting a more competitive rate.

    Basically, the reason this question is asked is to see if a company can get away with paying you less than what's budgeted for the position. Sure, there's always the chance your salary expectations are too high for them to meet, but if they find out you made significantly less than what they have in mind for the job, they're going to do whatever they can to drop their offer down.

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    ChitownjediChitownjedi Member Posts: 578 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Slowhand wrote: »
    A friend and former colleague of mine got shafted by a question about his salary history. He'd been making $50,000 per year at his prior job before getting laid off, but his skillset and experience put him closer to $75,000 - $80,000 per year or so for his type of work in our neck of the woods. When he interviewed at what would become his current workplace, the hiring manager put him on the spot and asked what he'd been making in the past and then gave him a "take it or leave it" type of offer after he divulged his past salary. Since he was unemployed at the time, he had to settle for the same salary as before instead of getting a more competitive rate.

    Basically, the reason this question is asked is to see if a company can get away with paying you less than what's budgeted for the position. Sure, there's always the chance your salary expectations are too high for them to meet, but if they find out you made significantly less than what they have in mind for the job, they're going to do whatever they can to drop their offer down.

    And I am sure if someone comes a knocking to give him closer to his market value, he would not hesitate to listen because he was put in that take it or leave it situation where his previous salary was used against him... yet some folks wonder why loyalty isn't prevalent now a days.... at least he is working....icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Cert PoorCert Poor Member Posts: 240 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Slowhand wrote: »
    ...but if they find out you made significantly less than what they have in mind for the job, they're going to do whatever they can to drop their offer down.

    Which would only backfire against them because they're basically encouraging turnover and bitterness.
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    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I have no problem with the question, never have. If someone doesn't want to pay me what I think is fair I'll find someone else who will. I don't p-lay these hide and seek games with employers. Either we can be upfront and honest or I don't want to work there anyway.
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    GarudaMinGarudaMin Member Posts: 204
    To RHEL:
    I understand your point on limiting oneself with the minimum. But back to your scenarios -

    If I said my minimum is $65k, then I have a choice on both companies. Granted the company in scenario B would low ball-me. But I don't have to take that job, I can take the one in scenario A. Or negotiate to$85k if I want to work 60+ hours with crappy benefits.

    But if I said my minimum is $85k, then only scenario B is left. Once again, I don't have to take that job.

    If I said my minimum is about $70k then yes I limited myself to the $65k job. But if we are to assume that I am already working in a company that offers the same benefits at $70k then no point in moving to $65k job. So, giving a minimum requirement does not really limit me. But on the other hand, if I don't have a job then yes I am limiting myself. But if I don't have a job, I wouldn't be giving a minimum requirement.

    The good thing about minimum requirement is that it weeds out the job interviews you have to go to. I can recall that there were some recruiters who just send me blindly to interviews saying the companies can pay more than what I listed as my past salary. I go to interviews and when offer comes, it's a crappy pay. I don't like recruiters wasting my time or anyone's time with all these phone/face-to-face (multiple) interviews only to get offers that are not what I am looking for. So, it's better to give a baseline (if you can afford to since you are working currently), imho.
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    Cert PoorCert Poor Member Posts: 240 ■■■□□□□□□□
    So it seems like every job listing is a separate online application through their own HR Management System, so it's a pain in the butt having to do data entry for every listing. It seems like every one of these REQUIRES salary history (mandatory field) before proceeding, and I can't stand this. What do you guys do?
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    neo9006neo9006 Member Posts: 195
    I had to send in my salary expectation today for a job, waiting for the call back and see what they say.
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    XyroXyro Member Posts: 623
    Cert Poor wrote: »
    So it seems like every job listing is a separate online application through their own HR Management System, so it's a pain in the butt having to do data entry for every listing.
    Agree, I do not even understand why you have to re-enter all items on your resume if you are uploading a copy of your resume. Still, I (of course) do it. It is simply jumping through hoops.

    What I do not like is having to provide my DL # on applications. Still, I do this also. It seems though a way they can discriminate... but isn't everything these days.
    Cert Poor wrote:
    It seems like every one of these REQUIRES salary history (mandatory field) before proceeding, and I can't stand this. What do you guys do?
    I just finished filling out an application that asked me salary information for every position I've held in the past 7 years. icon_lol.gif
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    neo9006neo9006 Member Posts: 195
    I have had to also put my DL # on several applications as well. As for salary information, that is sometime I guess I have been surprised about. I guess I been out of the interview and application process too long.
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    SteveLordSteveLord Member Posts: 1,717
    Driver's license? How about handing over your SSN so they can do a credit check? :-\
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    TomkoTechTomkoTech Member Posts: 438
    SteveLord wrote: »
    Driver's license? How about handing over your SSN so they can do a credit check? :-\

    A lot of companies do in fact do credit checks when they run background checks. Read the paper you sign giving them permission.
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    scaredoftestsscaredoftests Mod Posts: 2,780 Mod
    I never put down my driver's license number on an online application. Was involved in ID theft (victim) with just my license number out there.
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    XyroXyro Member Posts: 623
    SteveLord wrote: »
    Driver's license? How about handing over your SSN so they can do a credit check? :-\

    That too icon_lol.gif
    I never put down my driver's license number on an online application. Was involved in ID theft (victim) with just my license number out there.

    The ones I have done do not allow you to leave it blank. It is either fill it our or don't apply.
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    jibbajabbajibbajabba Member Posts: 4,317 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Just had a nice email conversation myself.

    Recruiter:"Got a nice role .. bla bla, could you please send your CV / Resume and Salary"
    Me:"In my experience the salaries in this particular area are well below the average where I am currently working in, could you provide me with a salary range for this position?"
    Recruiter:"Please send me your current salary and expectations"
    Me:<SHIFT DEL>

    *sigh*
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    mokaiba wrote: »
    I don't have to worry about that as I am usually under a contract that prevents me from speaking about how much I make. My answer to that question has always been and will always be that I cannot answer it per contractual obligations.

    Glad you posted this.
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    [Deleted User][Deleted User] Senior Member Posts: 0 ■■□□□□□□□□
    SteveLord wrote: »
    Driver's license? How about handing over your SSN so they can do a credit check? :-\

    Hahahahaha True!!
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    ReibeReibe Member Posts: 56 ■■□□□□□□□□
    mokaiba wrote: »
    I don't have to worry about that as I am usually under a contract that prevents me from speaking about how much I make. My answer to that question has always been and will always be that I cannot answer it per contractual obligations.

    How would you all handle this if your salary was a matter of public record (local government, etc)?
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    PristonPriston Member Posts: 999 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I love it when companies require you to tell them your previous salary, then make you sign an agreement saying you won't tell anyone your salary.
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