when a recruiter approaches you about a job but plays games on salary

A reader writes:

I was contacted out of the blue about a job via LinkedIn message with a job excerpt, a link to the full description, and list of benefits. I responded with:

Hi (name),
I would like to know more. Is this a senior role? What is the salary range for this position?


She in turn replied with:

Hi (me),

Thank you so much for getting back to me. I would love to speak with you further about this role. This role is a Lead role where ideally within the next 6-12 months you would be managing one direct report.

The range will vary based on experience and there is some flexibility. What is the range that you are looking for?


I feel like saying, “I’ve lost interest, because you didn’t answer my salary question.” She has seen my LinkedIn profile, which is a mirror copy of my resume, so she knows my experience or enough of it to give me an answer about salary range. Honestly, I don’t think I will even reply to her at all now. I am a passive candidate, and not really looking. So for me to get this run-around off the bat makes me even less interested. They’ve essentially turned me off from any further communication.

Am I overreacting or should I feel annoyed? If hiring managers want to tap into the passive candidate market, why do they insist on treating us the same as candidates who applied directly, with vague responses?

No, it’s legitimately annoying to have a direct question ignored, and it shows a lack of awareness about how to recruit employed candidates. And you’re right that it’s especially annoying because you didn’t seek them out; they came to you.

To be fair, candidates sometimes play games like this too: An employer asks what salary they’re looking for, and they turn the question around and ask what the planned range is. But that’s different — the candidate has proactively responded to an ad for a position. In this case, you weren’t seeking out the job; they approached you. It’s reasonable to ask about salary and expect to have the question answered before you invest any further time in a position that you haven’t even said you’re interested in yet.

In any case, I’d respond with, “Since I’m not actively looking for a new position, I haven’t given sufficient thought yet to the range for my next job. But if you can tell me the range for this position, I can tell you if it makes sense for us to talk.”

{ 133 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    “I’ve lost interest, because you didn’t answer my salary question.”

    That would be awesome. But AAM’s answer probably is more productive.

  2. Josh S*

    OP– are you sure the person who contacted you was the hiring manager and not a 3rd party recruiter?

    Most of the inquiries I’ve gotten via LinkedIn are from recruiters. And a small majority of those recruiters have jerked me around in some form or fashion (though I’ve also had some good experiences).

    I think you’re perfectly justified to be annoyed and just write the person off if you choose. But if the position seems interesting, you could also respond with Alison’s language, which seems pretty spot-on.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yeah, I’d assume it’s a recruiter, either internal or external. (Although there are of course plenty of hiring managers who are bad at this stuff too.)

  3. Rosalita*

    I agree that it can be frustrating when you don’t get a straight answer on salary. However, it could be a situation where there is a “softer” range but the company is willing to stretch for the right candidate. Alternately, maybe the company asked the recruiter not to share the salary range until further conversations. I’ve worked as an agency recruiter and an in-house recruiter and there are a lot of possible scenarios. I think Alison’s suggestion makes sense. If they’re trying to recruit you away from a job you’re presumably happy at, they should be trying to sell the opportunity, and salary definitely plays a part in that.

    1. Jubilance*

      I get if a recruiter is asked or directed to not share salary, but as a jobseeker its extremely annoying & frustrating when a company refuses to talk money. Companies & hiring managers that do this are really diluting themselves if they think money isn’t a big consideration for the majority of workers. Better to be up-front about the salary range, whatever it is, than to keep it a secret like its some type of classified information.

  4. excruiter*

    I used to be a recruiter. Unfortunately, some companies actively refused to provide a salary range yet expected me to compile a huge pool of interested candidates. Most serious candidates will walk rather than deal with an ill-informed recruiter. It’s a tough position to be put in. Believe me when I say that I hated it, too.

    1. Anonymous*

      Could you be more explicit and say “My client has asked me not to share salary range at this point”?

      Rather than making it seem like a game or you personally trying for an upper hand.

      1. Allison*

        I’ve always wondered if it’s okay to say that. I just assumed I’d be disclosing information I shouldn’t be, or sounding dismissive and lazy. No one likes to hear “oh, that’s not my job” or “I’m not authorized to do that.” Even if those are true statements, they make people angry.

      2. excruiter*

        It depended on the customer. Then again, explicitly stating that the company had not released that information to me was rarely met with anything better than the assumption that I was lying. I found that candidates generally expected all recruiters to lie and would take any opportunity to assume the worst no matter how up front I was.

        There are reasons I stopped that line of work.

      3. Jamie*

        If I were a passive candidate even that would annoy me to no end.

        It’s like if a salesperson were to come and approach me with a product I hadn’t sought out and when I inquired about the price got cagey and wouldn’t tell me until later in the interaction. That would end it right there.

  5. Mad Quoter*

    The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does.
    –Napoleon Hill

  6. Just a Reader*


    When I was job hunting, recruiters (often in house) would contact me about jobs, spend a couple of cycles having me pitch myself for the role and then tell me my experience wasn’t a fit. The thing is–what we discussed was all on my LinkedIn. So they don’t really do their homework. Netflix was the #1 offender of all the times I encountered this.

    LinkedIn makes it really easy to waste other people’s time.

    1. BeenThere*

      Oh yes! I had a recruiter contact me within 30 sec of me posting my application we had a long chat about the role and seemed like a good fit. So he was going to get in touch with the hiring manager and call me after lunch. At lunch time I get an email “Sorry the Hiring Manager is looking for 8 years experience in Chocolate Teapot Handle design”

      Well the job description only asked for 5 years general experience with a background in Chocolate Teapot Handle design. Don’t know how the hell they expect to get someone with 8 years….

  7. Allison*

    As someone who works in recruiting and does occasionally interact with passive candidates, I’m going to play devil’s advocate. When people ask me about salary, I’d love to tell them, really I would. I’m not trying to play games or deceive people, I’m not trying to conceal information, but I am not permitted to disclose the salary range, and my guess is that a lot of recruiters are held to that same rule until a certain point. So when a recruiter withholds salary range, they’re not being evil, they’re not trying to trick you, they have rules they have to follow.

    Unfortunately recruiters don’t always have full say over their practices, there’s a higher-up determining what procedures everyone needs to follow.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Ah, but then I’d argue that it’s your job as a recruiter to push back with the client and explain that they’re probably going to lose out on some excellent candidates — particularly the strongest ones who have many options — because passive candidates don’t appreciate this kind of thing.

      And if that doesn’t work, then I’d say that you should be explaining to the candidates you contact why the company is taking that stance.

      1. Joey*

        That’s a little unrealistic to expect a recruiter to explain to an applicant WHY a company won’t disclose salary. Because half the time they dont even know why they’re just doing what they’re told. Besides, what’s the point. No excuse is going to make the candidate feel better. But I do think recruiters owe it to candidates to stop the games and say “I can’t disclose it.”

          1. AdAgencyChick*

            I agree. This would be the difference between my telling the recruiter “Thanks, but no thanks” on this job, or my telling this recruiter, “Please do not contact me again.”

    2. Wilton Businessman*

      So you want to get me to consider leaving my current cushy job for another job without knowing if I can maintain my current lifestyle? Good luck with that.

      1. Blue Dog*

        They are trying to pay you a percentage over what you are making. It’s crappy, but it happens.

        I wouldn’t lie about my salary, because sometimes they will double check and rescind your offer if you lied (which leaves you without a new job or an old job if it occurs after you gave notice).

        Go with, “Well, I am currently making X, but I am really happy and comfortable with where I am. But I might be willing to make a change for Y” (where Y is your needed amount plus a little negotiating room).

        1. Allison*

          There’s typically a range hiring managers are willing to pay, rather than a hard number, and very often they’re willing to go a little higher for the right candidate.

    3. Joey*

      Wanna change the practice? Just anecdotally telling them theyre losing good applicants isn’t very persuasive. Do it their way for a while and keep track of total applications and number of folks who you cold called and weren’t interested because salary wasn’t disclosed. Based on the lack of quality candidates and candidates who turn you down ask to try it your way. Then compare the number of apps (total and qualified) you get when you disclose.

    4. fposte*

      Sure, but it’s utterly ridiculous. It’s the equivalent of a door-to-door salesperson who rings my doorbell when I’m peacefully engaged at home, offers me a product, and then says he can’t tell me how much the cost is because his boss says so. Does that make his company look good? Is he going to get away without being booted in the butt?

  8. Alex*

    As someone who is unemployed and actively searching, I think you’re overreacting and being slightly…ungrateful? And a little bit demanding. Now, hear me out. There’s no need to be snippy (plus, people will remember that type of behaviour, you never know who could be recruiting you for what in the future). Perhaps she’s not permitted to disclose. Perhaps she just forgot to address it. Just ask her again and if you don’t receive a direct answer, thank her and move on. I’m sure recruiters appreciate candidates with manners.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      She didn’t forget to address it, because she addressed it in the second paragraph. She just didn’t answer it and turned it around on the candidate.

      In any case, why should the OP be grateful? She’s not job searching and she was approached out of the blue by someone who wants to know personal information from her (salary info) without being willing to say what the job she’s approaching her about even pays. If you weren’t in the market for, say, knives, and a knife salesperson approached you out of nowhere and tried to pitch you on his knives but wouldn’t tell you the cost, wouldn’t you take issue with that?

      1. Alex*

        Ah yes, I see what you mean. I still would just ask again. And with all due respect, I stand by what I said about it seeming overreactive. It’s courteous to display gratitude that someone pointedly feels your skills and qualifications are a match, and has reached out with a potential offer, regardless of your employment situation.

        1. Jamie*

          I agree that it’s generally called for to be courteous – but display gratitude? I don’t understand why anyone should be grateful.

          The recruiter doesn’t make money unless they fill the position, so they scour linkedin and try to find candidates who meet the criteria. This is trying to find the other half for a business transaction.

          Another way in which looking for work is like dating. If someone hits on me and I’m already married all you owe them in a simple no thanks – I can’t imagine being grateful for their interest.

          1. Ashley (inhouse corporate recruiter)*

            The recruiter only makes money if the “recruiter” you’re talking about is an agency or headhunter. There are LOTS of in-house recruiters (like me!) who do not operate on commission. There’s a huge difference there, I think a lot of job seekers don’t realize this!

            1. jennie*

              I wouldn’t say it’s a huge difference. I am an in house recruiter too. I don’t work on commission but I get paid to make hires and if I’m not filling positions I won’t have a job much longer.

              Dealing with passive candidates means the candidate is in the power position and the recruiter should be grateful to the candidate for taking the time to listen to the pitch.

              1. Laura L*

                I think this is why so many people were reacting negatively to the idea that the candidate should be grateful for any attention from a recruiter.

                This is also a problem with the concept of gratefulness generally: there is a power differential between the people involved. The person who is (or is pressured to be) grateful is always the low-status person, but in this case, that person is the recruiter, not the potential candidate.

        2. Elizabeth*

          I am beyond busy. I took the time to respond and asked direct questions. And the recruiter didn’t answer the questions?

          They don’t get a second chance.

          I have 2 lists of recruiters: the good list & the bad list. The good list send me emails when they have something that is very specific to my skills (which they know about because they’ve made it a point when they don’t have a position to get to know me) or to say hi and ask how I’m doing, and they respond to questions I have about the opening they are trying to fill, up to & including “the client says that that can be answered if you decide to move forward with a formal interview”.

          The bad list recruiters land there because they call (not email) constantly, send positions that have no relationship to my skills (because everyone in healthcare obviously has the same skill set, no matter what their background), and don’t answer questions about the few positions they send that might suit me.

          The good list folks know that should the day come that I start looking, they will hear from me. I have about 30 of them that routinely salivate over the prospect. The bad list folks will never know if I come up on the market.

          I don’t have to be grateful to people who waste my time.

      2. Dan*

        It’s actually way more significant than that. You come up to me out of the blue, and want me to significantly disrupt my life? You really need to tell me ASAP what I’m getting out of the deal.

        A couple of years ago, I had a third party recruiter call my work phone a couple of years ago, and he pitched me a job that paid $180k (props to him for coughing up a number). I told him I’m definitely interested, but with a BS and two years of experience, I’m definitely not qualified. I point blank asked him how he got my number, and I never could get a straight answer out of him.

    2. Wilton Businessman*

      I think it depends on your situation. If you are actively searching for work, then you are at a disadvantage in terms of what you can ask and demand. But when we’re talking about trying to pluck an employed somebody from their employer that wasn’t even looking, it is a different story.

      1. Dan*

        Oh yeah. I’ve got a price I’m willing to quit my current job for (I won’t get it anytime soon unless I get lucky). Then there’s the price I’m willing to work for if I ever get laid off. There’s a $40k difference between the two ;) Makes me wonder if employers who say “currently employed applicants only” are costing themselves a lot of money.

        1. Heather*

          You know, I never thought of that angle on the “employed applicants only” crap before, but it makes a lot of sense!

        2. Jamie*

          I love this comment, Dan.

          It illustrates a couple of important points. One, that the more satisfied a person is at work the higher the “jump” number is. Two, the closer an employee makes to market the less likely that anyone will wave their jump number at them.

          (Conversely, an unhappy employee will jump to break even or a cut.)

          I’m not looking, so if one wanted to make me sit up and consider disrupting a comfortable life the number is 35-40k. To make a move for less wouldn’t be worth the risk to me.

          The likelihood of someone tossing that number at me is unlikely – so I wouldn’t waste my time on more than one email either if the info wasn’t forthcoming when I asked.

          If you really want someone who is currently happily employed you have to recruit differently than if people were applying to you.

    3. Mike C.*

      Stop acting like a doormat. Why should the OP or anyone else thank the recruiter for avoiding a direct question twice and wasting time?

  9. The Editor*

    Another Devil’s Advocate here, but I actually don’t see a problem with the response at all. I see that as the next step in communication. _You_ know that your LinkedIn profile matches perfectly to your resume, but the recruiter doesn’t. And I certainly don’t see it as inappropriate to say that, “the range varies based on X, Y, and Z. Why don’t you tell me about where you fit?”

    Or you could do what you’re doing and let this pass you by.

    It just seems to me like you’re trying to find a reason to be bothered by this recruiter.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Ah, but she’s trying to get the OP to name a number first, which isn’t reasonable when she approached him. She should have said, “The range will vary, but based on the experience I see on your LinkedIn profile, you’d likely fall around $X.”

      She might not know that the profile matches perfectly to the OP’s resume, but since it does, there must be plenty of info there about the OP’s experience, which should allow her to say the above.

      1. The Editor*

        Sure, and I see that. I just think throwing the whole thing away is a bit of an overreaction. And even then, I don’t necessarily see the recruiters response as unexpected or even out of line.

        I guess what really got me was the “I’m not even going to respond to this!” response, as if the recruiter had committed some major faux pas.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I think if you’re happily employed and not looking, and you get an email like this, it’s one thing to feel like, “Okay, I’ll see what the job is about and maybe I’d be interested,” but when the coy salary games start, it’s pretty easy to quickly decide, “Forget it — not worth my time” and just delete the whole thing. It’s not so much that the recruiter’s email is an outrage (it’s more just an indication that she doesn’t know how to recruit passive candidates) and more that it’s just not worth the time to get drawn into that crap if you’re pretty happy where you are.

          Which is of course exactly why recruiters shouldn’t operate like this — the candidates with the most options are the least likely to play along.

          1. Dan*

            The corollary is the applicant who sends you a quick email and says, “If you’re interested, I’ll send you my resume.” Duh. I’ve got a 100 people who sent me their resume, why should I waste extra time with you?

          2. Dan*

            ” …the candidates with the most options are the least likely to play along.”

            You know, this explains government employees in a nutshell. What I mean is, government employees as a whole have a stereotype of being lazy an uninterested and all of that jazz. Why? Has anybody ever applied for a federal employment job before? You have to jump through tons of hoops, the process can be arbitrary, and takes forever. Employees who have options get picked up in the private sector ASAP, while the g makes them jump through hoops. So who’s left to actually get hired? Those the private sector wouldn’t pick up.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              It’s also a function of the fact that it is very hard to fire people in the federal government — it’s doable but a huge pain in the ass — and very little incentive for most managers to actually manage well.

            2. Rana*

              Well, and those of us who actually want to work for the government. When I applied for the job I did it was because I genuinely was interested in the position and the department doing the hiring, not because I couldn’t find anything else better.

            3. Omne*

              “Employees who have options get picked up in the private sector ASAP, ” Not really, it’s much more complicated.

              I could easily go into the private sector at somewhere around a 30% increase, I’ve had several offers. I’d also be working 70+ hours a week with fewer benefits and a 401(k) plan. As it is I work roughly 40-45 hours a week, really like my job, have good benefits, a 6 figure income and a defined benefit pension plan. Being about 20 years from retirement it would make no sense at all for me to leave.

              You wouldn’t believe how many accountants have left here only to try and come back once they work for a while in a white collar sweat shop.

        2. Mike C.*

          The recruiter did commit a major faux pas: a salary range wasn’t named.

          It’s about time that companies divulge this information.

  10. JohnQPublic*

    OP- just send this recruiter a link to AAM. If (s)he’s smart you’ll get a number. If not, you don’t have to waste your time anymore.

  11. Ashley (inhouse corporate recruiter)*

    As an in-house recruiter I have to say I for once disagree with Allison! I think this is a first.

    For my studio, we have salary bands that we create and update yearly based on geographical and industry salary data (to make sure we are in line with industry standards and can make competitive offers). That said, it’s not as easy as looking at someone’s LinkedIn and deciding what level on our matrix (and what related salary band) that person will fall into. For instance, we often have engineers apply who on paper would look to match our say, Level 20 Software Engineers internally. However, after testing and/or interviewing here, it often happens that they actually align 1 level higher or lower depending on closely their resume matches their actual skill level and experience once we dig past the buzzwords on their profiles. We also have to consider internal equity on the team and career development planning when make offers — that is to say, it wouldn’t be fair for me to hire an engineer who has been overpaid by 20K at the startup he’s coming from at a rate that is really 10-20K more than what is standard for our engineers who match his experience and performance level. Doing so would unfairly throw off internal equity and make it so that, over the normal course of career progression, this person is always 10-20K+ better compensated than other engineers on the team who are doing as well as (or better than) him/her. The same goes for someone who is underpaid — I’ve just as often made offers that were a significant boost (sometimes 20, 30K) from a person’s declared salary expectation (or just telling me what they made in their last role) because of internal equity and fair compensation rules.

    When we ask for your salary range (or for an idea of what you’ve been making), we ask so that we can have a ballpark idea that you’re in the same zone we ESTIMATE this role will fall into. It would not be helpful for me to tell you the level’s salary band because of a number of reasons — 1), you might not actually fall into that salary band (see above, higher or lower), 2) if i quoted you the higher end of the band and then we determined you aren’t really at the higher end of that scale, you’ll be pissed and offended, whereas if I DIDN’T initially set the expectation that you MIGHT be getting 100K as the max, you might be thrilled to death to take a 90K offer (especially if you were actually only making 80K when I asked you for your salary info and you balked at the idea that you should answer).

    I can say that my company does make fair and competitive offers and I’m never playing games or tricking candidates when I ask for salary information. I’m trying not to waste their time (or ours) if the expectations are way outside of a reasonable range for us. I swear!

    1. B*

      The difference here is that you are an inside recruiter, presumably people have applied to you for the position. This is an outside recruiter trying to get someone to come in for an interview who is already employed.

    2. PEBCAK*

      As a person who earns a salary I have to say I disagree with you.

      As a candidate, I have a salary bands that I create and update yearly based on geographical and industry salary data (to make sure I am in line with industry standards and can make competitive offers). That said, it’s not as easy as looking at a company’s job description and deciding what level on my matrix (and what related salary band) that position will fall into. For instance, I often have companies on paper that look like they’d be a great fit for my values and career goals. However, after testing and/or interviewing there, it often happens that they actually align 1 level higher or lower depending on benefits, work/life balance, and culture, once I dig buzzwords on their job descriptions. I also have to consider opportunity cost — that is to say, it wouldn’t be reasonable for me to take a job that is 20K less than I’m making now simply because a recruiter views me as overpaid.

      When candidates like myself ask for your salary range (or for an idea of what you’re willing to pay), we ask so that we can have a ballpark idea that you’re in the same zone we ESTIMATE this role will fall into. It would not be helpful for me to tell you my exact range because of a number of reasons — 1), I might change my mind about expectations once I learn about the details of the job, benefits, etc. (see above), 2) if i quoted you the lower end of the range and then I determine I’m not really willing to take the job at the lower end of that scale, you’ll be pissed and offended, whereas if I DIDN’T initially set the expectation that I MIGHT work for 80K, you might be thrilled to pay me 90K.

      I can say that we candidates do make fair and competitive offers and I’m never playing games or tricking candidates when I ask for salary information. I’m trying not to waste their time (or ours) if the expectations are way outside of a reasonable range for us. I swear!

      1. Ashley (inhouse corporate recruiter)*


        Look, at the end of the day, talking about salary expectations is not the end of the discussion. It’s not giving in or giving up (and as a recruiter, as long as there are no big flags, I’m not even talking about your salary info with my hiring mangers until we get to the point that we do want to make an offer– because we know we will need to make a competitive and fair offer to you.) There’s no trick involved. It’s just the way a lot of companies work.

        You obviously will have the option to either decline or negotiate your offer if you get to the offer stage, just as we have the option to not move forward with you if you are so against sharing your general compensation requirements. It doesn’t have to be down to the cents, you can give a very wide range without showing all your cards. If you’re in a place where you don’t really want to change roles and you don’t really care if not talking about salary is a flag to recruiters and may or may not take you out of the running, that’s great. I’m just being honest that it’s a flag to recruiters (and to larger teams) when you refuse to give any information at all about what you’re looking for. It wouldn’t be fair to waste my team’s time if there’s no way we can pay you what you’re looking for (and I wouldn’t expect you to waste your time interviewing if it’s obvious in the beginning stages that your comp expectations won’t be able to be met).

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I think the problem is that it’s so one-way — employers want candidates to name numbers but don’t want to give numbers at this point themselves. They often say that they don’t want to give a number too early because if it ultimately comes in lower, the candidate will be frustrated and not understand … but simultaneously, they’re not generally willing to give candidates the same kind of flexibility in naming one number early on but changing it later.

          It’s the double standard and one-way nature of it that people find frustrating and unreasonable.

          1. PEBCAK*

            I don’t find it frustrating, I find it short-sighted and unlikely to accomplish the recruiter’s aims of getting the best candidates. The bottom line is that the best candidates have the most options in whom they deal with. I have passed over many a shady-looking job offer while currently employed.

            1. Ashley (inhouse corporate recruiter)*

              I disagree. We get top talent in our industry and very rarely, maybe 2% of the time, are candidates unwilling to discuss salary.

              1. Jamie*

                What percentage of your candidates are currently employed and not actively looking for employment? A lot of people who are looking for work will comply with the request to throw out a number first (even if they don’t like it) out of necessity. I don’t think anyone is arguing that.

                So the question for me would be what percentage of the candidates who you are actively recruiting and did NOT apply are willing to pony up salary information to a cold calling recruiter?

                1. Ashley (inhouse corporate recruiter)*

                  I’d say the same percent — 98% of the time, people talk openly with me. I honestly am kind of surprised every time I read the threads here about salary discussion because my professional experience with candidates discussing salary has gone SO FAR the opposite direction of what it sounds like is the norm here. That goes for both my experience inside the tech industry and outside (I was in medical staffing before this).

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s because this is a community made of a lot of people who are especially thoughtful about their careers and these types of issues. I think it’s also worth considering that even when people are naming numbers first, they’re generally not at all comfortable with it but do it because they feel like they don’t have a choice (as a ton of letters here attest). There’s a power dynamic there that can benefit you, but it comes at that expense to others.

        2. The B*

          If you’re contacting me, I expect to have a general idea of what you’re offering. I’m not going to start having a conversation if we are wildly off base.

        3. Liquid Paper*

          Ashley, you make a lot of valid points. But, I dont think youshould be offended by PEBCAK’s post . He/she is just trying to make the point that candidates have equally valid reasons for wanting to know the salary range for a job. He drove the point home by demonstrating how easy it is to mske precisely the same arguments favoring the candidate. This is precisely the point that AAM frequently makes:a job is a business agreement, nobody is doing anybody any favors. In fact, employees are also trying to run a business: their household.

          PEBCAK, I thought your rhetorical “trick” was delightfully effective at illustrating this point.

          1. JohnQPublic*

            +4 :)
            The essence of rhetoric, and it seems too often like a lost art.

            Both the employer and the candidate have reason to Not throw out the first number. But as the supplicant, it’s ultimately up to you to figure out how much time, effort, and information you’re going to invest in recruiting an already-employed candidate. If you don’t keep the candidate interested, why bother spending the effort? And if you’re not willing to share a basic detail like salary (and let’s face it, we’re all in it to get paid. TANSTAAFL. Fish or cut bait, but don’t waste the recruit’s time if you’re not going to at least agree on an appropriate salary.

            Ashley, I think we all wish we were paid appropriately. But we’re often not. Perhaps if more companies acted like yours we wouldn’t have to negotiate quite so hard. Ultimately the only arbiter for that is what the two parties agree on. The OP’s price for continuing the conversation is a ballpark figure on salary. He’s in the position of strength and most of us agree with his stance.

        4. Jamie*

          Look, at the end of the day, talking about salary expectations is not the end of the discussion.

          I think this is the crux of the issue and looking back over this thread I think you are maybe addressing a different point than many of us.

          What you’re talking about is absolutely the way it works in hiring much of the time. I don’t like the lack of transparency on the employers side, but I can’t deny it’s common practice.

          But when talking about people who aren’t looking, whether it’s on linkedin or someone you’re trying to poach from another company or whatever – it’s not about ending the discussion. It’s about giving someone a reason to even want to have a discussion to begin with. And someone who already has a good job and is content and financially comfortable the bar to get them to even enter a conversation with you is a lot higher – you need to wow them and for most of us that requires a number from you first.

          Otherwise it’s kind of like someone cold calling you and asking how much you make – most people wont give out salary info and then offer to tell them their weight too …they’ll hang up.

          1. Jazzy Red*

            It’s EXACTLY like someone cold calling you and asking how much you make.

            If I’m employed and satisfied where I am, I’ll tell you that I’m not interested if you can’t be forthcoming about the salary range.

    3. Judy*

      Wow, 20 levels of engineers? I’ve worked at 3 F100 companies, and there has never been more than 5 levels of engineers. Titles vary, but Associate (usually first 2 years), Project (2-7 years), Senior (8-14 years), Lead (15 -20 years), Principle (20 + years) with those experience levels being a guideline. Lead is equivalent to Manager, and Principle is equivalent to Director. (But generally the manager track has a Senior Manager before Director). And when you hire, you’re hiring for a certain spot, not just cruising around for engineers, you have a need for a Senior Engineer in this department. They only seem to “peanut butter spread” the hiring when they’re doing college recruiting. And I’m talking locations with 2000-3000 engineers.

      1. Ashley (inhouse corporate recruiter)*

        The levels start at like 16 or something– there aren’t 20 total levels! LOL. :)

        And you’d be surprised at the flexibility we have when we have open positions — sometimes we will post for the lowest level possible but have multiple spots open on the teams. Same goes for very senior openings — sometimes a candidate who thinks they are a match to the senior opening as listed actually are not, but we have certainly made offers to them anyway (or created new roles from them) if they were great matches to the team overall. That’s not the norm, but it happens frequently.

        I respect your experience, but I’m also a very large corporate global org and how you describe the engineering hiring is not aligned with how we’re structured. I’m not doing university level hiring, but regular full time positions anywhere from PHP developers to director-level candidates (tech and non-tech).

    4. Joey*

      Why can’t you just give the whole range(lowest salary to highest) even if its broad and say it depends on how you test?

      1. Ashley (inhouse corporate recruiter)*

        Because candidates only hear the highest number and go through the entire process with their heart set on that. It sets us up for delivering a disappointing offer (and the candidate up with having a less than stellar offer experience).

        1. Ashley (inhouse corporate recruiter)*

          You also obviously need to leave room for folks to move up in the salary band within a given level, so it doesn’t make good sense to start someone at the higher end of that band unless they are right on the edge of being ready to get bumped one level up (like, say, within one year).

            1. Ashley (inhouse corporate recruiter)*

              I explain our process to candidates all the time. I just cannot tell the candidate the exact numbers on the pay scale for all the reasons I detailed above.

              1. Mike C.*

                You aren’t following the arguments Joey, myself and others are making. If you do explain that process, you can and should give a range of numbers, because wage is the most important reason someone takes a job.

                And if you’re going to refer to “the reasons above”, then explain to me why you’re so worried about candidates being disappointing about not making the top of a salary range if you aren’t exclusively hiring children. I presume you hire adults, and if so, they should be adult enough to manage expectations.

              2. Joey*

                Don’t be afraid to push back. I know in HR lots of folks are uneasy about challenging current practices. Consistency a d confidentiality is drilled in from the beginning. But that’s why people always have a negative view of HR- they’re only doing things because that’s the way its always been done. If you really want to show your value look for ways to do things better and voice your opinion. Standing out like a sore thumb is only bad if you only point out the problems. Bring the solutions and you’ll increase your value. Don’t be afraid of transparency-when people understand why decisions are made they’re more likely to accept them.

          1. Jazzy Red*

            You should be able to narrow it down based on the job candidate’s experience and job history.

            I’m finding myself more and more happy that I’m not an engineer.

        2. Joey*

          Thats an age old argument that doesnt hold water. As long as you justify the salary what’s the big deal? Another option would be to say “usually people with experience similar to yours come in between x and x?” That doesn’t commit you to anything and it gives them an idea of what to expect.

        3. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m not trying to be a pain here, I promise, but what about when candidates give a range and companies then are disappointed when the candidate won’t accept the low end of that stated range?

          It’s just very one-sided and sort of abusive of the power of their position, in my opinion. Have an honest discussion about salary. Trust that the right candidate is mature enough to understand the idea of a range.

          1. The B*

            Exactly. When I was hired for my current job the job posting said the range was between X (lowest) and Y (highest). When I was finally offered the job, they didn’t give me the highest salary. I was offered something above the middle, but not the top, with an understanding I could move up the salary band if merited later on.
            I took the offer and was not disappointed that I didn’t get the highest figure. However, I would have not even looked at the offer if I had not know the range because it was important for me that I make at least the lower range. Otherwise, there was no point in me switching jobs, having a longer commute, etc.
            A range is that: a range. You fall somewhere on the spectrum depending on your experience and I don’t assume I’ll always get the maximum amount.

          2. Joey*

            It is one sided. Ashley’s concerns are real, but there are ways to proactively address them. Candidates always think they’ll come in at least above mid or near the top. I think the only way you can combat that is to tell them what to expect. If you don’t know you could say something like “most people come in around entry” or ” it’s pretty rare that someone comes in near the max.”

            1. Mike C.*

              Yeah, I don’t see what is so difficult about this. I assume people here are hiring adults, and as an adult, I can understand why I’m at the lower end of a salary band.

    5. Dan*


      I’m speaking as a guy with an MS in Business Analytics, which was earned from a College of Business. Meaning, I can crunch numbers and I’m supposed to have business sense. I don’t work in HR, benefits, or upper management, so I have no idea what corporate compensation strategy is. That said…

      Assuming that a “competitive” offer means “median” salary, there’s a huge, glaring problem when assessing someone as overpaid: A median represents a midpoint. To have that midpoint, half of your people are going to be below that number, and half of them are going to be above that number. There’s also something called fallacy of the mean: Nobody *actually* earns that salary. Yes, it’s entirely possible that the group as a whole makes an average of $X, nobody in the group actually makes $X.

      But this all goes to the heart of the matter, and something Jamie is asking you about: If I’m currently employed, and you come to me, I want a salary higher than the median if I’m going to jump to your company. If I’m unemployed, or highly dissatisfied with my job, I’ll take a salary closer to the median or slightly below.

      This is why I strongly believe that companies who specified “currently employed applicants only” are costing themselves real money. My “jump” requirement is 50% higher than my current salary. The why behind it is a bit complicated, but the fact of the matter is, I’m worth what I’m worth to my current employer, which I consider to be my market value. To jump, it has to be worth my while. If I’m unemployed, my market value changes, and I’ll accept something lower. If that sounds like a double standard, name me something that has a price that never fluctuates.

      1. Joey*


        Competitive doesn’t necessarily mean median salary. It depends on the comp strategy as you point out.

        And your salary expectation rationale is flawed. If you’re currently employed you’re likely to jump for any increase regardless of where the salary lands compared to the median. So if you’re underpaid as long as you’re given an increase you’ll probably view it as competitive to your salary. And if you’re unemployed your bargaining power is pretty limited so lots of people will take far less than median just to have income.

        1. Heather*

          I would guess that Dan isn’t underpaid, and that’s why he would want to be above the median in order to make a move. But if you’re underpaid, the median might be a big jump, so you’d be more likely to go for it.

    6. Mike C.*

      Why can’t you just tell the candidate what the salary bands are and what sorts of skills/experience/responsibility falls under each? My company does this and it’s easy.

      If they don’t fit into one it doesn’t matter because they’ve seen the others, you tell them about the process and how it could change based on evaluations and you treat your candidates like adults.

      What is so difficult about this?

      1. Rana*

        Or even, if you’re worried that everyone will assume they should be at the top of the band, why not adjust the bands.

        Say your band in reality is 25k-35k for a given position. You’re worried that everyone will think they deserve 35k. So, tell them that the range is 25k-30k, with the possibility that you may be able to talk them into more for exceptional candidates. Boom, done.

        1. Joey*

          This doesn’t work. It reduces the applicant pool, drives away the best applicants and causes confusion among internal candidates who typically know the real range.

  12. Dan*

    Minimum salary requirements are almost a joke, anyway. I live about six miles from my suburban office, have a flexible work schedule, wear jeans every day, get paid by the hour, and have five weeks of vacation.

    If someone were to call me out of the blue and ask me what the minimum I’d need to quit my job is? I couldn’t answer. If I had to do the downtown grind during rush hour every day, buy nicer clothes, get a straight salary, and take a vacation cut, that number would have to be really high. If I had to relocate somewhere cheap, that number could be a lot lower. Do you want me to manage employees and interact with clients, or just be an IC? Those things all matter.

  13. PEBCAK*

    Walking away is one option. The other is just to name some absurd figure and see where it gets you. Hell, why not spit out a number that’s double your current salary and see what they say?

  14. Anonymous*

    “In any case, I’d respond with, ‘Since I’m not actively looking for a new position, I haven’t given sufficient thought yet to the range for my next job. But if you can tell me the range for this position, I can tell you if it makes sense for us to talk.'”

    EXCELLENT reply. They’re coming after you – and it’s not a bad thing to ask up front. I once applied for a position I wasn’t really looking for, but it was a perfect fit — so I said I applied out of curiosity.

    That got me in the door – and, yes I had to play hardball on the salary — “this was what we talked about, I will give you one more shot”….

  15. Judy*

    I’m getting real annoyed with some of these recruiters that find me and call or email me about a job. When I turn around too and ask what is the salary range, some have come back saying they can’t discuss it till I go into their office to talk.
    This leads me to think they’re probably isn’t a real job and that they want to bring someone in to make their quota. If it was a real job, wouldn’t they want to get on it and send my resume over since so many get hundreds when the req goes out.

      1. JohnQPublic*

        Tell the next recruiter who wants to talk to you like this that you charge a $200 consultation fee.

    1. jennie*

      I’ve worked with recruiters who are open to discussing salary over the phone, but hesitant to put a number in email. Making someone come in in person to discuss preliminaries seems a little shady though.

  16. Judy*

    I’ve also had one recruiter give my the salary for the position and even though I told him the range I was looking for, came back to me with a form saying before he could even set up an interview, I would have to sign a paper saying I would except $ amount and it could not be changed. Which by the way was a lot lower than my minimum.
    I refused to sign, and never heard from them again….which was fine for me.

    1. Anonymous*

      Wow. Sounds like you made the right decision.

      I once had a recruiter ask me to complete a lengthy compensation form that asked for my current salary, bonus, anticipated future increase in salary, three past year’s W-2 wages, and detailed benefit information about my current employer (401k matching amount, vesting info, etc). I was a passive, currently employed candidate. I declined to complete the form and she got huffy with me, but I got the job anyway.

      I work in HR and will never ever use that recruiting firm in the future based on my experience with them as a candidate.

  17. Anlyn*

    I had one recruiter call me based on a resume on Monster.com (since taken down), and was very polite and understanding when I told him I wasn’t interested in contract positions. I had another recruiter call me and get nasty when I said the same thing to him. Both of these were probably a year or so ago.

    I’m about to talk to a recruiter again today, and it’s the first time I’ve been seriously interested. I like my job, and I’m not really looking to leave it, but circumstances have changed personally and if there’s something out there that’s a better match for me, I’d be interested in pursuing it. I’ve been toying around with the idea for awhile now about looking for another job, but I’m not much of a risk-taker, so haven’t really jumped into it. I’m rather curious as to what type of recruiter this one is that I’ll be speaking with tonight…maybe I can start my own version of Elizabeth’s “good list”. :)

    1. Anlyn*

      I know this might get lost with the Valentine’s day themed posts today, but I’m curious about your thoughts.

      I had a talk with the recruiter last night, and we talked for about 45 minutes. She was young, only been working a year, and it’s her first job, but she’s placed 14 people so far in the year she’s been working. I haven’t the foggiest idea if that’s good or bad. She also said that no one has changed jobs since she placed them.

      She seemed very interested in a good fit, and kept using those words (good fit, good match, right environment, etc). She asked what I liked about my current company and what I didn’t like. She asked about my job, obviously, and I gave her a lot of information on what I look for in culture, and what I’m interested in pursuing. She did ask how much I made, and seemed startled when I wouldn’t tell, her, but didn’t get defensive or coy. When I asked, she advised on a salary range she thought would fit my skills and experience. She didn’t seem pushy at all. Since I am fairly happy with my job now, she would keep an eye out for possible positions and let me know as they occur.

      Overall, my impression was favorable, but her being young and green gives me a little pause. I don’t want to penalize her, because everyone has to start somewhere, but I do kind of wish the time frame for the people she’s placed was longer…a year doesn’t give me much idea, since they could have been placed recently.

      What do you think? Does she seem like a possible good recruiter?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I don’t see any reason not to hear her out if she calls you in the future about a job. You’re going to do your own due diligence on any employers she connects you with, after all, so it’s not like you have to rely on her (limited) experience to find you the right fit. She’s just one more way of potentially finding jobs — but from there, you’d ask the same questions and do the same interviewing of the employer that you normally would.

        Or is there a different part of this that’s make you uneasy?

        1. Anlyn*

          True, I didn’t really think about that. I’ve only ever been on maybe 5 interviews in my entire life. I got my job through a temp agency, and worked my way into my current position, 15 years ago. So I don’t really know how to interview, or how to determine a good fit with a company just through interviewing. So it may be that more than her newness that makes me hesitate.

          Or I could just be looking for an excuse. It’s scary even considering leaving a decent job for another, even if it does turn out to be a great fit.

      2. fposte*

        Remember that “young and green” can also mean “young and hungry.” It’s not uncommon for people younger in a commission-based field to want to establish themselves and to work harder per client rather than engaging in the cherry-picking that more established people can afford to do.

  18. L*

    OP here. Thanks everyone for all your comments. I was thinking about responding to this in- house recruiter , but have since received another annoying message from her. She literally copy and pasted or used a LinkedIn feature to resend me the exact message again. The LinkedIn version of Facebook poking. In house roles tend to have salaries less than the agency salary I get now so even though the company is on my list of maybe ill go there some day, I am not drooling over this job since I am happy where I am. What kills me is that she stated that my background was impressive, implying she could state a range very easily. And when I say my profile is a mirror of my résumé I am saying that I have 5 jobs listed from 2 companies showing progression and at least 7 bullets per job, so def enough info to give something of a range. I usually tell recruiters that this industry can vary widely and similar job descriptions can be anywhere from 35 k to 100k and I just want to make sure no one is wasting time, if its at the lower scale because I am at the higher scale. Still the poking email just turns me off as much as vague email.

  19. Liz T*

    This is reminding me of guys on the subway who’ll interrupt your reading/music/game for a totally boring, self-serving, terrible attempt at flirtation. I want to say to those guys, “If you want to talk to me, you have to be more interesting than the book I was reading.”

  20. Rana*

    I have to admit any discussion of recruiter dynamics fascinates and mystifies me. I’ve never worked in any field where being recruited is the norm (or, for some, even heard of) so it’s very strange for me hearing about how it works or doesn’t work.

    I mean, people just contact you out of the blue with possible jobs? This astonishes me. Is this a normal thing more generally, or is it something that only happens if you’re in a competitive industry or have special skills?

    1. Jamie*

      It’s fairly common in IT – although for every recruiter that seems to have contacted me about a particular job there are many more who want to talk to me about the “jobs that may interest you” which is nothing specific – just trying to add to their roster.

      I’ve never responded to any of them – but as much as I know there is no such thing as a dream job I still think wistfully of this one I was sent information about a couple of years ago. It was about 50 miles north of where I live – but very near where I grew up and I have a secret longing to move back. But 50 miles in Chicago winter traffic – I might as well leave my husband and kids a picture by which to remember me.

      It sounded as close to my job now that I’ve seen but was crazy money. I mean it had to be a typo and if they were paying that kind of money it wouldn’t be to me money.

      It’s like the one in a million apocryphal job that haunts one’s dreams. Oh well, it was an industry in which I’d hate to work and I just assume everyone who works there is horrible, chews with their mouth open, and leaves nail clippings on their desks. Then I can convince myself I dodged a bullet and go on with my life. I’m very good at rationalizing.

    2. jennie*

      Companies that post on job boards like Monster, etc. can pay to have access to the contact info of people who post their resumes there. I got a cold call the other night based on a resume on Monster I didn’t even know I had and must have been years old. It was for a customer service job way outside my industry. I said not interested and immediately went to Monster to delete the old profile.

    3. Meg*

      I agree with Jamie. I work in IT (front-end web developer) and recently started my current job in October. Four months later, I’m still getting emails from recruiters asking if I was interested in a position. I reply back to them saying that I am not interested at this time because I’ve already accepted a position. But it went from 10 emails a day to about 4 emails a week. I’ve made my profiles inactive on Monster and Dice and other job boards I’ve used, so it must be coming from some internal pool they’ve got me in.

      Unfortunately, a lot of the recruiters are like, “OH WEB DEVELOPER? NEAT, HERE’S A JAVA AND J2EE and JSON DEVELOPER POSITION! INTERESTED?” And I’m like, “… neither of those languages ever appear in my resume. Why would you think I’m qualified for that?”

    4. Cathy*

      I think it’s pretty common in technology, especially for senior people. I get a lot of recruiters contacting me through Linked In, and they’re usually looking to fill specific jobs (i.e. they’ll put words like “Director of Software Engineering with a growing startup … building the technology team from 5 to at least 30 in the next year …” in the email).

      Engineers who have a strong online presence will also get a lot of cold calls. People can find you from Stack Overflow, blogs, contributions to open source software, etc.

  21. Danielle*

    Why is everybody hating on the recruiter? The first sentence in her response was “Thank you so much for getting back to me. I would love to speak with you further about this role.” Translates as: I’d love to speak with you further about this role!

    I’m a Corp Recruiter, filling only internal roles. If I were this recruiter, quite frankly I’d be annoyed that the candidate is questioning me when my initial message was just about exploring their background and fit. And if that was the response I got from a candidate, I would immediately recognize he’s not a cultueral fit and move on – I don’t want to work with people who immediately want to know what the salary is. Granted you don’t want to take a step back but sometimes an opportunity is more than just compensation!

    Get over yourself and realize that if someone reaches out to you, it doesn’t mean they’re making you a job offer! It means they want to have a conversation with you and you should take that opportunity because you never know what the future holds. And another thing – feel flattered that you’ve been contacted, not annoyed.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Danielle, have you read the comments here to understand the concern? The issue is that the OP is employed and happy with her job and was contacted out of the blue, and thus wants more information before deciding if she’s interested in discussing the job.

      And believe me, EVERYONE wants to immediately know what the salary is. It’s just the employed ones who are most likely to feel comfortable asking, because they have more options.

      1. Danielle*

        Right, I realize everything you’re saying – the reader is happy and loves where he is etc. But what happened to talking to people, networking, learning about what else is out there? Everything is a curt quick response and cut to the chase tell me the title and salary and maybe we’ll talk.

        I don’t know – it just seems like we live in a society where there are so many people out of work who need help – yet the people who are working never seem to think that could be them one day and maybe they should make a nice first impression while they’re in a good place. Maybe that candidate wasn’t really the recruiter’s target – maybe the recruiter wants to see if he knows of anybody like him who might be looking.

        Just my opinion. I’ll stop ranting now :)

        1. Joey*

          That’s sort of used car salesman of you to expect people to listen to your pitch before they know if the car makes financial sense for them.

        2. Anon*

          Yes, but all the same, you can’t always think “opportunity” is better than salary.

          I have student loans. I’m getting married shortly and am the primary earner for the household so far. I live in a major metropolitan area that is quite expensive. If all I thought about was “opportunity,” I’d take a fellowship. So, yes, I do need to consider salary if someone expects me to jump ship from my current job. Unfortunately, my landlord, the US Department of Education, my water/electric/Internet companies, and my stomach don’t really care about “opportunity.”

          Further, if you’re going to ask me about my salary history, you best believe I’m asking what you want to offer me. I already volunteered full time before. Even though I work for non-profits, the reason I seek employment and not volunteer work is to be paid and I expect a livable salary. So, if you want me to jump ship from a good arrangement, I want to know what you’ll offer me. Nothing personal, strictly business.

        3. Anon*

          How do you know that these people aren’t networking, talking to people and “seeing what else is out there?” How do you know we haven’t already talked to other recruiters or keep in touch with ones used in the past? The difference is, we are the ones choosing these interactions and the people we seek out are the ones who know our fields, what salaries/benefits are reasonable to expect and people we can have good relationships with. You, on the other hand, are talking about cold-calling someone who doesn’t know you and who may or may not want to get to know you. As for “opportunity”, we’d rather stick with our own networks because that “opportunity” should come with good compensation.

          Also, you assume people don’t think “it could be them.” That’s why we save money. That’s why we network (and, if you don’t know this person, you have no idea that’s what they are doing). In addition, if they’re already pretty successful, they may have a built in safety net.

          If you care so much about a “good impression,” be honest with people, especially if you have never spoken with them before. And, just maybe, understand that we want a livable salary and something that pays what we’re worth. If we need you, we’ll call you. We’ll also refer our friends to people and services we’ve used ourselves.

      2. robert Jahn*

        I realize this thread is old, but I am wondering what the company has to gain by not disclosing at least a range. I don’t need a job, I have a good one, but I have been in my position for eight year and feel it is time to begin looking for my next challenge. I am mid-late career and don’t want to waste my time, or the employers, if the salary is not in the ball park. I am always confused when employers want to keep that a secret, have a phone screen, an interview, and then a final interview before discussing salary. Then when we are too far apart walk away–seems to me that not only is that a waste of my time, but a waste of their time as well.

    2. Jamie*

      Get over yourself and realize that if someone reaches out to you, it doesn’t mean they’re making you a job offer! It means they want to have a conversation with you and you should take that opportunity because you never know what the future holds. And another thing – feel flattered that you’ve been contacted, not annoyed.

      Just to preface that this may sound snarky, but it isn’t – it’s an attempt to make a point:

      Are you flattered when a telemarketer calls you to talk to you about a great opportunity or product? Or you get spam in your email box? Do you feel flattered or annoyed?

      I think the point is to many of us cold calls from recruiters – even by email – are in the telemarketer/spam category of annoyances. And someone selling via telemarketing or spam needs a different approach than someone selling to people who are approaching you for a product or service they are interested in (i.e. people actively looking for work.)

      Recruiting at it’s core is sales. You’re selling a company to a candidate, you’re selling candidates to a company – and whether it’s an external recruiter on commission or someone in house your job depends on filling positions.

      With a good recruiter who knows how to match the correct candidates with the right jobs everyone wins.

      And of course you are correct that not every recruiter who contacts you is offering you a job – they are trawling for prospects. And if you aren’t on the market there is nothing flattering about that any more than it’s flattering if someone calls me offering a time share.

      And of course it works – the same way spam and telemarketing work – numbers. I’d never buy anything that way – but if it didn’t work people wouldn’t still be employing the method. That doesn’t mean people who don’t want to be solicited should get over themselves.

      I think the bottom line is those of you who are unwilling to discuss salary to passive prospects risk losing the candidates who require it upfront. And candidates who require it up front will lose the opportunity to work with recruiters who won’t discuss it – that seems fair all the way around.

      And with this I’ll just agree to disagree and stop opining about this.

      1. Joey*

        Yeah, feel flattered I even called you? That’s a terrible attitude. It should be “I’m going to bend over backwards to find out if this person is the rock star his résumé says he is”

    3. Dan*

      I’m flattered if you’re contacting me for a job that pays 50% more than I’m making now. I’m not flattered if you are contacting me about a job that pays less than 110% of what I’m making now.

      TBH, from time to time we are looking for senior developers on a small software project that I help manage. If you’re cold calling good people and then you hang up on them because they ask you about salary on the initial call, I’d want you fired. No joke. Your job is to GET ME PEOPLE. Not screen for fit.

      What does recruiting know about fit anyway? I’ve barely spoken a dozen words to our recruiter. Have you worked on my team? Have you sat in on meetings?

    4. Corporate Drone*

      “I don’t want to work with people who immediately want to know what the salary is. . .”

      You already do, my dear. I guarantee you that each of your coworkers is pretty concerned about how much money they earn, and that when they apply for other positions, the money is a key factor. Surely you’re not suggesting that you occupy your cubicle everyday because of the great culture, the important work, and the contribution your work makes to the universe.

  22. Corporate Drone*

    This whole dance about salary could be avoided if the hiring company simply disclosed the range up front. What is the big secret? We all know that you have a budgeted range and that you’re not going to veer from that. Telling people what they are prepared to pay would save everyone, on both sides of the desk, a lot of time.

  23. SadButTrue*

    Sadly, the comments of many of the recruiters on this thread are beyond naive.

    This approach is in fact a strategy specifically designed to contain compensation expenses. If you don’t realize that, it only means that you as a recruiting professional don’t understand the reasons behind the approaches you have been asked or instructed to use.

    The only exception to this rule is a few highly competitive categories, especially where a little experience merits significant increases. In that one case, companies will proactively offer more aggressive compensation because they realize that anything less will be grossly uncompetitive within 1-3 years.

    The bottom line is this, if you are currently in a reasonable job, and the recruiter wants to talk to you… make them give you a range before you tell them anything.

  24. SimplyStated*

    The worst part, and weakest aspect, of any job search I have ever under taken has been the recruiter interaction. It has always been, the recruiter is the weakest link in the job search. I use the major online services for getting my profile into the public view. Doing so has had the effect of leaving raw chicken to sit in the sun during summer, the flies congregate, as in recruiters, an unfortunate aspect of the job search. Yes I am aware of the privacy and public settings, as well as personal information that can be included on the actual resume.

    I would no more trust my client representation to recruiters than I would trust a known criminal. Recruiters, local to my area, who have taken the time to meet with me, get to know me, have been shown to be the most effective and trustworthy. I have presented myself to clients where a recruiter firm has gotten me into an interview, only to find the recruiting firms have significantly reformatted my resume, added bullet items, added vendor comments to the header of the resume, a host of other attributes could follow. In a couple cases, the vendor comments contained spelling and grammar errors. Other cases, vendor added bullet items were misrepresentative of me, not in my own words. The list could go on, and the actual companies associated with the calamity of missteps could follow with it.

    I have actually found my last couple positions utilizing personal resources, searching, cold letters to insiders at the client firms I would have interest in working. Trying to find a job, is a job in itself. Using a recruiter firm is taking a huge risk. I have had many times where a recruiter firm has submitted me to a client, for which I did not authorize, knew nothing about, and all of a sudden I get a call or an email, you were double submitted and have been disqualified. I have found the latter to be more the case with recruiters who obviously are not from USA, Indians. When I answer the phone and I hear an Indian voice on the other end, I have made it a practice to simply hang up. Of which most of the time, they just keep jibber jabbering away while disconnecting the call. Too many Indians in the job market in the US, send them home. US jobs for US Citizens, not green card or H1, etc…, period.

    Then there are the large contingency of recruiters who, once you have submitted a resume to them, and on the chance they actually submit you to a client, you actually never hear from them, or the consulting firm. There are plenty of these types out there. And when you do get hold of them, you hear the “I was just about to contact you….”, bullshit.

    Here is another scenario, recruiter calls, confidential client and search, exclusive to our firm, etc ….. Only to find out, I have had many other calls for the same client.

    Won’t use the online players any further for public posting, use them in conjunction with other company research resources to find out about the company and other information.

    Recruiters are a group that lacks credibility, integrity, morality, and ethics. Pretty much low life, bottom of the barrel types, bottom feeders, just for the 95% of the group.

Comments are closed.