If you haven’t read Liz Ryan’s LinkedIn Pulse post about candidate salary history, I strongly encourage you to do so! (Then come back here.) Well written and provocative, Ryan’s piece is inspiring and empowering for job seekers. The main point of her article is that candidates should not divulge their current salary or past salary history to recruiters. Instead they should indicate what their target salary is. From the author’s perspective, providing current and past salary gives tremendous leverage to recruiters, putting candidates at a disadvantage in salary negotiation.
Overall, Ryan offers sound advice, and I thoroughly support her intention to help candidates maximize their opportunities. However, I am disappointed by her depiction of recruiters as uncaring adversaries: “If a recruiter didn’t need you in his or her pipeline… believe me, the recruiter wouldn’t waste two seconds with you!” This statement is simply untrue for recruiters with high integrity and a dedication to service, including those at Menlo Partners and many others in the San Francisco Bay Area who have enjoyed sustained success over a long period of time. We are not driven by revenue goals, but by the desire to help people and impact lives.
Another Misconception About Recruiters
One of the most common misconceptions about the staffing industry is that because of the recruiting fee, a candidate who works with a recruiter will earn less than he or she would by directly applying to the company. This is not the case. My Silicon Valley client companies are aware of labor market conditions and are willing to pay employees what they are worth. Simultaneously, for a variety of reasons they prefer to outsource their recruiting and are happy to pay for the service and added value. Did you know that recruiters typically extend a guarantee with their placements? If an employee hired through a recruiter leaves voluntarily or is let go within a certain period of the hire date, the recruiter will either re-fill the position or refund the recruiting fee (terms vary among recruiters). The guarantee serves not only as protection for our clients, but also as a strong incentive to make great placements each and every time.
The most successful placements are made when the candidate and company are great fits—not only in terms of duties and skills, but also of personality and values. The final ingredient to recruiting success is placing people into jobs which reward them fairly for their efforts. Great recruiters don’t have time for clients who are unwilling to pay quality employees what they are worth.
Salary History and the Fear of Success
Returning to the topic of salary history, it is absolutely true that the past does not equal the future. To the right organization at the right time, your unique background and strengths could be worth far more than you have ever earned before. I completely agree with Liz Ryan’s recommendation to engage recruiters and potential employers in a discussion about your current salary requirements, not only your pay history.
A note of caution: whatever your salary target, you must believe that you are worth it. Even if other people are willing to pay you $150,000 per year, if you lack self-confidence, it is unlikely that you will be able to sustain income at that level. The fear of success is a real challenge for many people. Achieving a level of success greater than what they feel they are worth results in subconscious discomfort and self-sabotaging behavior. The usual outcome is a change in life circumstances—a retreat to a lower level of success which feels more “comfortable.” Be aware of the fear of success and don’t hold yourself back from realizing your potential!
At the same time, use common sense and market research to substantiate why you feel your targeted salary is justified. “I think I deserve it because I work hard” isn’t an argument that will help you achieve your desired salary increase. +/- 10% of your total compensation is easily achieved in the current market. Increases beyond 10% need to be justified by having skills in demand and logical thought process for presentation to substantiate the pay raise.
Continuing the Discussion
Menlo Partners invites you to meet with us for a discussion about your job search, your salary target, and possible opportunities. The talent acquisition team at Menlo Partners Staffing is happy to answer your questions about recruiting, temporary staffing, and workforce management. Contact our office today, Menlo Partners Staffing, a Redwood City based temp agency at (650)752-6193.