In the November 9, 2010 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a reader thinks I’m giving bad advice that costs people job offers. Or at least interviews. You decide:
You regularly advise against divulging past salary in an interview because it might prejudice an employer’s offer. I disagree with you. After going on over 25 interviews (most were second or third round) in the past nine months, I suspect most people would gladly reveal their salary history if required, so as not to be disqualified. What do you say to this?
Here’s the short version of my advice: (For the entire column, you need to subscribe to the free weekly newsletter. Don’t miss another edition!)
Do you really want to get stuck defending what your last employer paid you? Do you want to be stuck trying to change the value that an old employer put on your head?
This salary issue is more than a question of being cooperative. It’s about making sound judgments. In my opinion, an intelligent disagreement and discussion about salary reveals integrity and it stimulates an important dialogue. Employers who rely on salary history to judge you are trusting another company’s evaluation. Think about that. It’s almost insane. What really matters is what you can do for this company now and in the future. Is the company able to make that judgment? Why does it need your last employer’s “salary input?”
Declining to divulge salary history is not about being uncooperative. It’s about shifting the interview to a higher plane. Don’t worry so much about getting disqualified.
Some employers will try to pry any information they can out of a job candidate. Should you give them anything they ask for, just so you won’t be disqualified? Where’s the line?
What have employers asked you to say or do, just to stay in the running? Have you ever done anything you’ve regretted?