||Keep Your Salary Under Wraps
By Nick Corcodilos
I got into the headhunting business in Silicon Valley
when I was just 24 years old, fresh out of grad school. Not yet a real headhunter, I flew
east to visit my family for the Christmas holidays that year. At every holiday party I
attended, word got around that a headhunter was in the room and I was swamped with
requests for advice and job hunting help. That was when it hit me: being a headhunter (no
matter how "green") was very cool. I had instant friends. Without hesitation,
people were whispering in my ear, sharing the most private things about their work lives.
The one thing that startled me most was this: people just blurted out how much money they
Who says my salary is any of
Now, I grew up in a working class household. Whether it was due to modesty or out of a
sense of their place in society, my parents never talked to anyone about how much money
they made. In fact, my parents taught me never to divulge my earnings to others. Your
income was private, and your regard for another person was not to be based on how much
money he earned or possessed. That was just the rule.
Today, people still want to tell me how much money they
make. Maybe they think any discussion with me constitutes an interview, and in an
interview you're supposed to tell your salary. After all, one of the first things that's
requested on a job application is your detailed salary history. Prospective employers
routinely want to see a pay stub. When they make you a job offer, you're required to sign
a statement confirming your last salary. And people open their kimonos just as routinely,
sharing information that is no one's business but their own.
It can be argued that your income does indeed say
something about who you are. But, when you're about to begin negotiating for a new job, do
you really want to prejudice an employer's judgment about you by divulging what someone
else paid you? Should it really matter to a prospective employer how much money you make?
Let yourself be judged; insist
In my opinion, your salary is an irrelevant measure of your worth outside the
confines of your place of employment. Your employer pays you what he thinks you are worth to
him, based on what he can afford to pay you. If one's compensation were a true and
objective measure of one's worth, no one would ever get a 20 percent salary increase when
But an engineer who's been earning $100,000 per year gets an offer for
$130,000 to change jobs—and the new employer has an engineering need that's worth $130,000 to satisfy. As
long as the new employer gets what he expected in exchange for the $130,000, everyone should
be happy. Except the engineer's last employer, of course.
If your value is really a
function of judgment and need, why would any employer care what you've been earning at
your last job? Good question, and one I'm asked all the time by people who are rightly
perplexed when a personnel jockey insists on knowing their salary history.
A responsible, well-managed business shouldn't care what
you've been earning. What will matter to that company is whether and to what extent it
needs your abilities; how much it can afford to pay you; and how much profit it projects
you will bring to its bottom line. A smart company would never pay you based on anyone
else's judgment of your worth, because that worth is relative.
That's why there is no reason under the sun to divulge
what your last employer paid you. Your salary history is no one's business...
...Now learn how to stop employers from using your old salary to put a cap on your new job offer...
You've just read a short selection of the
most widely-acclaimed Answer Kit on
Ask The Headhunter!
Now read the complete
Ask The Headhunter Answer Kit:
Keep Your Salary
Myth-Busting Answers For Fearless Job Hunters:
- Who says your salary history is anybody's business?
- Why does HR really want to know what you get paid?
- Can disclosing your salary cost you a big raise?
- How can you say NO... and get the best possible offer?
Don't let your old salary "cap" your new job offer!
- 24 pages of insights and insider tips that expose, explain, and counter the methods employers use to control salary negotiations and minimize job offers.
- Learn how to say NO to demands for your salary history, politely and with authority.
- Prove your value, to get hired at the highest possible salary.
Keep Your Salary Under Wraps
love Nick's new Keep Your Salary Under Wraps.
It worked for me. Nick gave me the same advice
that's in the book when I was negotiating a job
offer several years ago. Despite both the headhunter
and the company insisting I disclose what I was
getting paid at my old job, I stuck to my guns and I
was able to double my salary. Plus I got a signing
bonus. That would have never happened in a million
years if I had caved!"
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