CHICAGO, IL - I am in the relationship building business, and every relationship starts at "hello." When you and I first speak, it's safe to say that I don't know you. I am an optimist by nature, so I am prepared to like you. Indeed, I want to like you. Truly, you have nothing to fear in an interaction with me.
Like a doctor, I'll be asking you some questions about your current situation:
- "Are you currently employed?"
- "Why are you leaving your current job?"
- "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?"
- "To what cities can you relocate?"
And very importantly, "What is your compensation target, including base, bonus, options, and other miscellaneous payment in kind?"
People hate to answer this last question because they fear 1.) being automatically knocked out of the process if their number is too high, or 2.) “leaving too much money on the table” if their number is too low. Damned if you do. I get it.
The “How much money do you make?” question is the most blunt instrument in my grab bag of interview questions. It's one of the only questions in the entire hiring process to which the answer isn't subjective. It is a terrible question to ask, but I really have no choice: It helps me determine the financial dimensions of your strike zone.
The alternative to your not disclosing this information is me bringing you opportunities that are clearly untenable for you in economic terms. Neither of us wants that. And trust me, my clients don't want to vet candidates who will be impossible to close later on in the process.
A blast from the past: "Negotiating a Higher Job Salary"
I am well aware that in previous posts I have warned readers in no uncertain terms to not answer this question. That advice pertained to candidates who were dealing directly with employers. But beware: In such instances, some HR-types will knock you out of the process for 'being difficult."
I won't! Primarily because I'm not an HR-type.
The difference between me and one of my clients is that, as a contingency based recruiter, I make money in direct proportion to the amount of money my client pays you. Like Ari Gold and Vincent Chase, your economic interests are completely aligned with mine: I genuinely want you to take a step up financially. I'm on your side!
And trust me, if my clients did not think you were worth the added investment, they wouldn't make you an offer, and we'd both walk away empty handed.
So please, just answer the question. Honestly.Tweet