As a recruiter, I don’t ask people for their salary history, or their salary expectations, as part of the initial application process. That’s just tacky.
How to Respond if the Application Requires the Information
1. Perhaps you shouldn’t apply for that job. The employer has already shown you that expediency is more important to them than a reasonable negotiation process and respect for your boundaries. Don’t expect that behavior to stop after you go to work for them.
2. Instead of applying online, use the approach described here.
3. If you do apply online, respond to the “salary expectations” question with a number that won’t eliminate you from consideration. You can negotiate later — when you have better information about the job.
4. If you do apply online, respond to the “salary history” question by providing your current base salary.
Sample Salary History & Expectations Language
If you get to provide a narrative, try this:
“I am providing the compensation information you have requested. Please note that cash compensation and employee benefits are important to me. However, I plan to consider many factors in deciding whether or not to accept any job offer I receive.
My current base salary is $120,000. My employer also provides additional compensation and benefits.”
If you’re way out of their ballpark, you just saved everyone some time. If they think you might be under qualified, they will have to reach out to learn more about you.
I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at email@example.com for more information.
Image: Fotolia/Tom Wang
Updated June 2017
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