Author Topic: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?  (Read 7025 times)

rugorak

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How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« on: August 21, 2013, 05:04:06 PM »
So I am in the hunt for a new job. I came across a listing at a college that looks fantastic. But they specifically state:

"Interested candidates should submit a letter of application, resume, salary history, and the names of three professional references."

Now resume, letter of application, and professional references I have no problem with. But salary history is another story. This is the first time I have seen this specific request in a listing I have been interested. Usually it is desired salary. How should I go about handling this? Just ignore it and hope they don't rule me out right away like I usually do with desired salary? Or something else?

I am also trying to get in contact with a fellow alumni from my alma mater who works there to find out more but so far the contacts I have that know him haven't responded to me yet. If I can that will potentially give me a specific answer but the general ones from here have never really steered me wrong so any advice would be appreciated!

Jamesqf

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 05:10:22 PM »
I wonder how many people could do better than a ballpark guess for more than one job back.

lhamo

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 05:14:45 PM »
My organization asks for "desired salary" but I find even that annoying -- understand that it helps to rule out people whose expectations are way beyond the budgeted salary, and avoid wasting time in a lengthy interview process that will never result in a hire because of misaligned expectations, but I personally don't think salary should be discussed until you are ready to make an offer.

I'm currently fielding resumes for a position we're hiring for and the best strategy I have seen is for people to put in a generic statement like "In considering my next position I am most concerned about finding an opportunity where I can make a strong contribution to the organizations mission and goals while developing my professional skills and talents.  While overall compensation is certainly very important, it is not my primary motivator and I prefer to defer discussions of salary and benefits until both parties are sure we have a good fit." 

Or, alternatively, just ignore the request.  If I see a really strong resume, I'm not going to put it on the "no" pile just because they didn't give me a salary number.  And I wouldn't want to work for any organization that would.  If they push on it, give something that's a bit higher than what you ultimately would accept and see how it goes -- maybe adding something like (negotiable in relation to the overall compensation package).  Again, if they aren't willing to compensate you at the level you think you can get in the marketplace you probably won't be happy there anyway.

Good luck!

Eric

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 05:16:33 PM »
I just finished a 6 month job hunt, and that was a pretty common request.  Just ballpark it if you're not sure.  I generally answered honestly for this, however, unless you were a public employee with a published salary or something, I don't think there's really a way for anyone to verify if what you state is true or not.

CDP45

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2013, 06:50:03 PM »
Only put "market" or "competitive." If you don't know the salary range you shouldn't waste your time applying. A simple call to HR, a request to an employee via LinkedIn or something can work too. 

Rural

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2013, 07:57:53 PM »
If its a public college, don't just ignore it. Likely HR, or HR's computers, will filter applications by completeness, and no one on the hiring committee will see an application that is incomplete.

That said, you could always be very vague. Or include a document labeled "salary" and discuss your desired salary. Or estimate the value of the full benefits package of your last few jobs. Just make sure everything you say is truthful (indicate it's an estimate to cover yourself).

ender

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2013, 08:01:30 PM »
My organization asks for "desired salary" but I find even that annoying -- understand that it helps to rule out people whose expectations are way beyond the budgeted salary, and avoid wasting time in a lengthy interview process that will never result in a hire because of misaligned expectations, but I personally don't think salary should be discussed until you are ready to make an offer.

I'm currently fielding resumes for a position we're hiring for and the best strategy I have seen is for people to put in a generic statement like "In considering my next position I am most concerned about finding an opportunity where I can make a strong contribution to the organizations mission and goals while developing my professional skills and talents.  While overall compensation is certainly very important, it is not my primary motivator and I prefer to defer discussions of salary and benefits until both parties are sure we have a good fit." 

Or, alternatively, just ignore the request.  If I see a really strong resume, I'm not going to put it on the "no" pile just because they didn't give me a salary number.  And I wouldn't want to work for any organization that would.  If they push on it, give something that's a bit higher than what you ultimately would accept and see how it goes -- maybe adding something like (negotiable in relation to the overall compensation package).  Again, if they aren't willing to compensate you at the level you think you can get in the marketplace you probably won't be happy there anyway.

Good luck!

+1


velocistar237

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oldtoyota

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2013, 08:52:24 PM »
You should ask them for the salary history for the position. Can you imagine if you really did that? They would never do it. Why should you?

They want that number so they can offer you the salary at your last job + the smallest additional amount possible.

I would not give those numbers.

It is dumb and lazy to ask for that info instead of taking the time to think what the job is worth to them and their business.

For more advice--> asktheheadhunter.com

Good luck!
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 08:55:43 PM by oldtoyota »

oldtoyota

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2013, 08:53:44 PM »
My organization asks for "desired salary" but I find even that annoying -- understand that it helps to rule out people whose expectations are way beyond the budgeted salary, and avoid wasting time in a lengthy interview process that will never result in a hire because of misaligned expectations, but I personally don't think salary should be discussed until you are ready to make an offer.

The above is so true. I might say X, but I might be willing to take Y if there's a liberal work-at-home policy or some other such benefit that makes up for the one number that is a salary. Demanding the salary up front is small minded.

oldtoyota

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2013, 08:56:26 PM »
I just finished a 6 month job hunt, and that was a pretty common request.  Just ballpark it if you're not sure.  I generally answered honestly for this, however, unless you were a public employee with a published salary or something, I don't think there's really a way for anyone to verify if what you state is true or not.

Yes. The can. With a simple background check. Or by calling your past employers to ask once you've signed the documents allowing them to call your past employers.

rugorak

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2013, 08:05:40 PM »
It is a private college. Still no luck trying to get an introduction. I suppose I could just try and call them and get someone in HR and ask if there is a pay grade for the position. I think it is pretty common for most places to have pay grades which restrict how little and how much people can make. And if I can't make that work I'll probably just leave that piece out. If they rule me out solely because of that then probably not going to be enough anyway.

My biggest issue with these sort of questions is it leaves out the fact that benefits should and need to be part of anyone's calculations. My last offer was a wash pay wise after adjusting for cost of living. However benefits were so bad I couldn't justify the change. If benefits would have been a wash too I would have taken it in a heartbeat.

Eric

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2013, 09:20:53 PM »
I just finished a 6 month job hunt, and that was a pretty common request.  Just ballpark it if you're not sure.  I generally answered honestly for this, however, unless you were a public employee with a published salary or something, I don't think there's really a way for anyone to verify if what you state is true or not.

Yes. The can. With a simple background check. Or by calling your past employers to ask once you've signed the documents allowing them to call your past employers.

I was under the impression that past employers aren't really allowed to give away that kind of information.  Or maybe they're allowed, but it's a terrible idea in a litigious society.  I know one of my previous employers won't even let my former coworkers be professional references.  I highly doubt they're giving out salary info.  My wife says her major multinational company is only allowed to confirm dates that people worked there, with no other info, even regarding performance.

I guess they could through a background check, like you say, but I'm not sure I'd work at a place like that.  I'm sure they'd want a drug test too.  Fuck that shit.  You gotta draw the line somewhere.

Rangifer

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2013, 09:56:27 PM »
^^^ They could certainly ask you to turn in a paystub or two as part of the verification process.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2013, 10:07:56 PM »
I have never been required to turn in an old paystub, that's crazy!

dragoncar

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2013, 11:57:53 PM »
Here's the thing.  Most places won't check.  By the time you are hired, they want you and don't want to do anything to derail that process... Until they do.  Years down the line, anything you put in your application is fair game to fire you "for cause."  When you piss off the wrong person, or economics change, that's when they might ask you to "prove" anything you said with an old tax return (redacted), background check, etc.  Its a remote possibility but like anything else in this world, its the 1 in 1000 audit that keeps most people honest.

igthebold

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2013, 08:41:14 AM »
Just a quick note from someone who sells his own services as a consultant: I don't tell my potential clients what other clients have charged. It's irrelevant. What matters is the value I provide to them. If a client harps on the price, he is likely not going to be good to work with, because he's thinking *primarily* in terms of cost, not value. Cost is part of the equation, but the goal isn't to spend/not spend money. The goal is to accomplish something.

In other words, if your potential client (employer) is focused entirely on cost, he might not be the best person to work for.

Of course, it could just be an HR process gone wrong (most do). The hiring manager himself is probably only concerned with filling a need.

RMD

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2013, 09:28:57 AM »
My current company does not allow employees or managers to give references. 

If applying for a position and we are asked to provide employment history, we give a website.  To verify employment the company who is hiring will submit the required information to the website.  What is given is a cummulative yearly salary history which corresponds with job titles.  The hiring company can see bonuses and career growth in one fell swoop.

I hate automated applications and the "auto-weeding".  I wonder how many wonderful, quality, talented individuals are out there for positions that don't make it through the screening because the answers aren't all cut and dried and they left a field blank or filled it in sub-optimally.

mustacheme

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2013, 09:54:03 AM »
I would include something in regards to required salary rather than your historical salary, even though that's not what they asked for. For example, "Required Salary: Competitive Market Rate". I would then do some salary research to find out what the competitive rate for that type of position in that area would be.

I also like the advice given in the link velocistar237 gave for the PBS article.

If your current salary is significantly lower than the usual rate for that area, the employer will almost certainly try to bring you on at a small increase over what you are currently making by throwing in just enough over that number to make it tempting for you. I agree with the thought that the employer would never reveal to you what the salary history of the position was, so they should not try to get the significant upper hand in salary negotiation by requiring you to reveal your salary history. It's an interesting negotiation ploy on their part. Not answering their specific question might cost you an interview, but then again if it does, it's probably only costing you an interview with an employer who would never pay you fairly even with increases years down the road.

oldtoyota

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2013, 06:15:02 PM »
I just finished a 6 month job hunt, and that was a pretty common request.  Just ballpark it if you're not sure.  I generally answered honestly for this, however, unless you were a public employee with a published salary or something, I don't think there's really a way for anyone to verify if what you state is true or not.

Yes. The can. With a simple background check. Or by calling your past employers to ask once you've signed the documents allowing them to call your past employers.

I was under the impression that past employers aren't really allowed to give away that kind of information.  Or maybe they're allowed, but it's a terrible idea in a litigious society.  I know one of my previous employers won't even let my former coworkers be professional references.  I highly doubt they're giving out salary info.  My wife says her major multinational company is only allowed to confirm dates that people worked there, with no other info, even regarding performance.

I guess they could through a background check, like you say, but I'm not sure I'd work at a place like that.  I'm sure they'd want a drug test too.  Fuck that shit.  You gotta draw the line somewhere.

What people are allowed to do and what they do are two different things. One of my previous employers forbids giving out recommendations. That company laid off most of its staff. Guess what? No one could get recommendations from their bosses who still worked there. Nice, huh? A potential employer of mine ignored their rule and called my former boss directly, and my former boss broke the company rule to give me a good recommendation.

HR where I am now mentioned they had gotten the previous salaries for one my employees. I had assumed HR got it from calling the former companies. Now that I think about it, maybe the employee filled it all in on the form. I would never do that myself as I don't want my complete salary history in a database somewhere.


oldtoyota

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2013, 06:16:24 PM »
My current company does not allow employees or managers to give references. 

If applying for a position and we are asked to provide employment history, we give a website.  To verify employment the company who is hiring will submit the required information to the website.  What is given is a cummulative yearly salary history which corresponds with job titles.  The hiring company can see bonuses and career growth in one fell swoop.

I hate automated applications and the "auto-weeding".  I wonder how many wonderful, quality, talented individuals are out there for positions that don't make it through the screening because the answers aren't all cut and dried and they left a field blank or filled it in sub-optimally.

And that is why you need to meet/find the hiring manager and get around the auto-weeding. If a hiring manager finds a good candidate, they can get them past the useless HR filter.


rugorak

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Re: How to handle when listing asks for salary history?
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2013, 12:20:47 PM »
My alumni connect just came through. And I I am trying to call their HR for the salary range of the position (unfortunately I think the person who can tell that information was off Friday). So hopefully Monday or Tuesday at the latest I'll have the information I need to know if it is even worth my time. And if it is I'll have my foot in the door and hopefully won't get excluded for not putting that in there.