This is a special posting connected to a presentation for Executive MBA students at Cornell:

  • Ask The Headhunter / Be The Profitable Hire
    Cornell University Johnson School of Management
    March 23, 2013, in Palisades, NY

cornell-logoI’ll add more content here after the event — but the main purpose is to answer attendees’ questions that we didn’t have time for, and to carry on the discussion.

Please feel free to post your questions and comments below — I’ll do my best to respond to them all. Thank you for joining me, and special thanks to Cornell’s Johnson School for the wonderful hospitality!

Quick access to resources I referred to:

How to Work with Headhunters

How Can I Change Careers?

Keep Your Salary Under Wraps

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less by Milo Frank

Six Degrees: The science of a connected age by Duncan Watts

: :

  1. Nick, while I agree with your approach to keeping previous salary confidential, I recently discovered that it may be in vain.

    What I discovered: Equifax, the big data broker, owns an employment verification service called The Work Number. When I requested a “full file disclosure,” I found that it contained my full salary history for several employers. I also found some glaring errors that demonstrated that Equifax performs inadequate quality controls for the data they claim to receive from employers.

    So, apart from claiming that the prior salary data is garbage — a kind of “me vs. them” contest that I’m likely to lose — what can be done when these income verification services are selling my salary data to potential employers?

  2. @Mitch: There’s a big difference between an employer getting your supposed salary history from Equifax, and you signing a document confirming that you provided the accurate figures yourself. I don’t see how an employer could hold you up for Equifax’s figures. First, they’d have to admit to you they obtained the information. That’s embarrassing for them. Second, they’d still have to negotiate with you. Of course, the other approach is to politely decline to grant permission for a credit report. What’s it got to do with the job? (For most jobs, nothing.)

  3. Nick,

    I agree that access to a credit report has zero correlation with most positions. The FCRA request for access, however, has a 100% correlation with every employment application I’ve encountered over the last 3-4 years. Perhaps I’m looking in all the wrong places, but to decline the FCRA request equates to “need not apply.”

    My usual response to salary requests are “confidential,” “variable,” or “1” (when I’m forced by a web page to insert only a number.

    I’ve worked in the large-scale data analytics field for over 20 years and my experience has been that Equifax and other data brokers have no concern for data accuracy, only profit from selling data about individuals. In turn, their customers collectively spend hundred of millions of dollars on technology and billable consulting hours to clean the data. Many of us then spend our personal time, money, and tears correcting the data errors or being victims of criminals who exploit the underground economy that trades in personal financial data.

    My professional view is that 37 million student loans will eventually cause this house of cards built on sensitive personal information of dubious accuracy to collapse.

  4. Who is Mitch, is he from cornell, which batch.