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Providing Salary History Info?

I have seen requirements on some company's applications to provide salary history.

I have never thought such information was anybody's business and seeing a company ask such a question has always served as a significantly negative red-flag in my evaluation of the company. But, that's just me.

Anyway, I'm interested to know the group's experiences with this and thoughts about it.

anonQAguy
Sunday, October 27, 2002

It's none of their business.  They're just trying to get a leg up in the negotiation process.  I learned the hard way once, now I always leave that section blank. 

qwik
Sunday, October 27, 2002

I recommend leaving it blank too, which is what I do.

Many businesses solicit resumes with as much info as they can get with no intention of hiring -- they are jsut collecting info to see what going rates are in their own area. Don't help them out here.

If they insist on the info, tell them you'll sell them that research data for the right price, which clues them in that you're on to their game, and identifies you as a sharp negotiator.

Sarain H.
Sunday, October 27, 2002

The best advice I've ever read about this was from Nick at www.asktheheadhunter.com (fab site, btw) who says you can tell them that as per your employment contract, the terms of your employment have to be kept confidential, and you're just adhering to the contract.

Cheeky, but true many a time.

MadMan
Sunday, October 27, 2002

I never have a problem with it because I've been earning a high salary for 10 years. To me, it strengthens my case to be paid well again :-)

Alberto
Sunday, October 27, 2002

The one time I did not provide a salary history, I received a low-ball offer. Of course, the same interviewer asked illegal questions like whether I was married or had kids. I turned him down. His dot-com went out of business a few months later with people working for stock options and $0 salary.

At my next job, I did provide salary history and they said "gee, looks like your previous employer was underpaying you!" The salaries were not really comparable because they were in different states (with different tax laws).

I would say only give your salary history if it helps YOU. If you current salary is high, share it. It will give them a ballpark of what you want. I have found http://www.salary.com to have pretty accurate salary data.

Zwarm Monkey
Sunday, October 27, 2002

Alberto - Cute, but irrelevant.  I too have an impressive salary history*.

My case was that I provided my salary history and they didn't offer me the job because I cost too much.  I told them that I was willing to take a pay cut, because I REALLY wanted to work there.  Although they believed I was sincere in willing to take a pay cut, they thought I would grow tired of the lesser pay after a while and start looking.

*(at least to me - 25 to 85 in 4 years, stuck at 85 for 2, living in KS.  Sure it's not 6 figures, but do you realize how far 85 goes in KS?)

qwik
Monday, October 28, 2002


Here's the kicker:

  Let's say they have two similarly-qualified candidates that provide salary data.  One was paid much cheaper than the other.

  They hire both.  What do you think the offer letters will amount to?  Probably Previous Job + 5K.

  Is this right?  I think not.

  When dealing with money, I always try to defer it a bit "Well, let  me know a bit more about the position" or "It really depends on the benefit package.  401(K), tuition assistance, a defined pension plan, a large vacation schedule ... these things go a long way for me.  We should talk about that a bit before we talk salary."

  Eventually, they make you an offer.  At this point, they have invested a great deal of time and effort in finding the "right" guy.  They won't want to spoil the deal over a couplea bucks.

  Of course, this assumes that the companies management isn't a bunch of manipulative jerks that are out to get something for nothing.  Before I interview with a company, I do a little bit of research within the development community to find out about that company. ("Birds of a feather" or something like that.)

  If you can avoid the cheapos and focus on the entire position (training, time off, salary, expected uncompensated overtime, etc) - I've found things work out pretty well in the end. :-)

  I -did- provide salary references to one company, but I knew and trusted both some coders and the management within that company.


good luck!

Matt H.
Monday, October 28, 2002

Thanks for the basis of comparison. Seems like my reluctance is not out of the norm, at least based on this small sample ;-)

You cited one concern I've had and that is that if they find what I've made, they may pass me over because they assume I would not be willing to work for less.

In fact, I may or may not be, dependent upon factors many of you have mentioned here (used to live in KS, and yes, 85 goes pretty damned far there, compared with many other areas). The point is, I want to retain the initiative to make that decision one way or the other and not give it to them to make for me.

One piece of advice I came across that appeared good to me was to never (as far as you can manage) give the employer an amount when it comes to salary negotiations, because there's a 66.67% chance it'll work out against you:

1) you give a number that's higher than they want, and they reject you out of hand, though you might want the job for less, but you're shooting in the dark so you end up on the short end.
2) you give a number that's lower than they were willing to go, and you get the job but short yourself.
3) you give a number in the range they're looking for and everything works out ok.

1 in 3 odds isn't very good if you can avoid them. Better (for you, anyway) if they tell you what they're willing to pay, based on a reasonable, sensible offer for the geographic area, and you decide if it's ok with you or not. Normally, I've been able to work things out so the conversation goes that way.

anonQAguy
Monday, October 28, 2002

I know someone who had an impressive title (Director of HR at a small company in a small town), but an unimpressive salary.  She applied for the position of Director of HR at a much, much bigger company in a big city, and was afraid her unimpressive salary would signal to the hiring company that she was not "in their league."

So she lied about her salary -- saying she earned much more than she actually did.

She got the job, earning 4 TIMES what she was making at the previous job.

programmer
Monday, October 28, 2002

Rule #1 in Negotiation.  The first one to name a number loses.  This has bit me a couple of times when doing negotiation for contract work.  You think that they won't bite at your "normal" rate and then you lower it.  It was quite possible that they would of taken the normal rate.  I'm working on it so it won't happen again.

Jonathan
Monday, October 28, 2002

Alberto,

Your mistake is summed up in the phrase "paid well again".

How do you know they weren't going to pay you a sh*tload more before you inadvertently told them you would work for a lot less?

Li Fazoli
Monday, October 28, 2002

I never provide salary history, because it is irrelevant.

The relevant issue - the ONLY relevant issue regarding salary - is whether or not the offer a prospective employer makes is within market range for the position.

The fact that I was earsning $30,000 at my last job is irrelevant ot the fact that the job I'm applying for carries a market value of $80,000.  Asking for salary info is just a way for a company to get talent as cheaply as possible.

I research the positon, the wait until interview time to tell the prospective employer that I'm entertaining offers between x and y.  That way they know that if they don't at leat try to get toward the higher end of that range, someone else might snap me up.

Norrick
Monday, October 28, 2002

I always hated salary history info.  Pay me whatever the $#@!!@ I am worth to you.  PERIOD. 

Bella
Monday, October 28, 2002

NEVER lowball.  The only time you'll price yourself out is if your off by a factor of 2.  Shouldn't happen.  I always say I am flexible based on the position/commute/firm rep/etc.  (b/c I was)

Bella
Monday, October 28, 2002

Has anyone actually DECLINED to give salary info?  I recall one interview at  a big white-shoes bank, where they askeed me for a paystub, and said they would be verifying it.  I didn't call their bluff.  Dicks.

Bella
Monday, October 28, 2002

The way I broke out of my low-rate consulting work was when a company with an urgent requirement rang one day, told me how much they could pay, and asked if that would be OK.

The figure was about twice what I had been charging till then, and what I had thought was the "market rate." After that I charged the new rate and got even more business.

BH
Monday, October 28, 2002

"Has anyone actually DECLINED to give salary info?..."

Actually, yes, I have declined, but those were under other market conditions. No longer have as solid a feeling for how that would be received were I to need to go shopping again.

Going somewhat off-topic (of my own thread, no less): The most absurd situation I experienced was one where the company required me to complete an application (most of which was a regurgitation of my resume, but crammed into tiny little text boxes on their paper form), AND to sign an authorization to let them do a background check on me via private detectives and computer db check (this was not a sensitive position -- I've been in the military in classified positions and had Defense Investigative Service pound the pavement actually checking up on me back when I wore green. This was just a technical position at an ordinary civilian software house). The kicker was that they required this BEFORE they would even discuss the position with me.

I told them none of this made any sense - I'd deal with signing the authorization or not once we determined whether or not I was even interested in the position, and whether they were even interested in me. I told them I wasn't about to leave a signed authorization to poke into my personal business lying around anywhere, or provide them any additional info on me until I knew whether we'd go forward or not.

When their HR person (I have a lot of bad things to say about recruiters and HR folks "screening" for technical positions - but for a different thread) said it was just "their policy", I thanked them and walked out. I said we would not be a good match for each other if they were not prepared to evaluate what I said based on its logic, and only disregarded whatever I would say based on an arbitrary "policy".

Had a slightly different stupid situation with a recruiter that came after me (wanted me in their stable) once, and I went in to interview with one of their handlers. They positioned themselves as only recruiting for senior level management/VP-type positions. OK, fine. So in the receiption area, their receptionist handed me a clipboard and the ubiquitous application form which required me to regurgitate my resume once again. WTF is it with these people? I declined to do so, then when I went in to see the handler I explained to him that they really needed somebody to revise their processes - they had my resume already, did they really expect me to sit down for 15-25 minutes and hand-write the thing over again on their data-entry form? (yes, that's exactly what they expected). The guy told me their clients valued them because of their db of candidates' info that enabled their searches to be done so efficiently, etc. So they needed things re-written to go into their db. I told them they should either 1) have their receptionist who spent most of her time polishing her nails and answering the phone do the data entry, or 2) set up the forms online so candidates could do the data  entry before coming in (would at least allow copy-paste from resume). Whereupon I offerred to set such a system up for them ;-).  Walked away from that one as well - told the handler that if they couldn't see the value of what I was telling them, then they would not be able to see and sell the value I had to offer.

I figure the climate today would likely be different, though. With any luck, I won't have to find out.

anonQAguy
Monday, October 28, 2002

Just another perspective for the mix:

We ask for salary history.  If the candidate refuses to answer, we're probably going to make a lowball offer.

If you're negotiating for a deal where you win and your new employer loses, by all means, refuse to give salary history.  We don't want to hire someone who wants a win/lose deal, so identifying yourself as such a person will save a lot of time.

Eric W. Sink
Monday, October 28, 2002

Great post.  God damn, I forgot about those $!%$#$ stupid generic job application clipboards from HR.  That shit makes me insane.  What is this, a @!#%@#$ temp job?  Read the %!$@#!$ resume. 

Bella
Monday, October 28, 2002

A tip to managers hiring. Giving equally skilled people different salaries is a sure fire way to kill morale at your company.

You may have clauses preventing employees talking about their salaries but rest assured after a few beers most employees start talking about what they are getting.

The last big company I worked at was paying people at vastly different rates, and when everyone found out more than a few quit.

Negotiations usually favour people with more aggressive bolder personalities which from what I have experienced rarely make good coders. So your good coders are usually the first to quit when they realise they are getting the raw end of the deal.

Matthew Lock
Monday, October 28, 2002

"Has anyone actually DECLINED to give salary info?..."

I also used to decline to give date of birth and stuff like that, because data like that can be used for identity theft. It could be found in the firm's garbage, or taken by a dishonest staffer.

When I explained my reasons, I never did get a recruiter insisting that I provide it.

Brian G
Monday, October 28, 2002

Eric,

You could never afford someone with my talent anyway so it's no big deal. But I wish you all the best in your endeavor and enjoy your weblog.

May I ask how you would respond if a candidate reasonably requested to see the salaries of other engineers at your firm?

Charlotte C.
Monday, October 28, 2002

I suppose I should offer our own experience in order to provide a constructive alternative.

We do not ask for a salary history. We interview candidates thoroughly and are able to determine their level of ability and how well they might fit in. When we find someone who we want to add, we make them a starting offer at the 75th percentile, relying on pretty good info as to actual going rates, given our evaluation of their talent and experience level. We also confirm all references. No one has been offended yet and some candidates have been pleasantly surprised. We also provide a Peopleware-aware work environment. Our turnover is below average and we keep track of the cost/benefit of the system and believe it pays for itself. What the candidate was making before is irrelevant. And we would never even consider making a "low-ball offer", which you state is a known procedure. We are not selling used cars here. May I kindly suggest that you evaluate your own statements to find whether or not it is the wrong party you are accusing of seeking a win-lose scenario?

Charlotte C.
Monday, October 28, 2002

Charlotte, I love what your company does.  It makes a lot of sense.  Taking the time to find out what the "market" rate is, and paying your employees better than average, makes great sense.  It's humane.

Eric Sink, and others who DEMAND salary information, are just hoping to get a bargain by finding a poor soul who doesn't know how much he's worth.

James
Monday, October 28, 2002

"If you're negotiating for a deal where you win and your new employer loses, by all means, refuse to give salary history.  We don't want to hire someone who wants a win/lose deal, so identifying yourself as such a person will save a lot of time"

Eric - not trying to lash back here, simply to clarify in response to your comment.

Personally, I'm not out to set up a win/lose situation with any company or team I join. I've been involved with and led too many teams during the past 25+ years to treat the relationship between a person and a team as though it were a zero-sum game. It's clearly not--there's no reason an "honest day's work for an honest day's dollar" should not be able to lead to a win-win relationship for both company and service-provider (i.e. employee/contractor). The rub is in figuring out what the "honest day's *" amounts to for both parties, of course.

The simple reality of the situation is that unless the candidate is financially independent and truly has no need what so ever for a particular position, then even in a hot job market, the employer ever holds the highest cards - they're the one with the money.

My experience has been that I'm better able to fairly evaluate a reasonable package against my needs/goals than companies would be able to fairly evaluate any information about my salary history. While I might not always be successful in securing a position after having witheld historical salary information, I disagree that (as I interpret your statement) being reluctant to provide it automatically brands me as a contentious, non-team player out to unfairly cheat an employer out of money.

As an aside, the privacy issue some posters have mentioned here is also a very real concern to me regarding providing confidential information freely.

anonQAguy
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Never work for sourcegear.

Eric states that if the candidate refuses to give salary info, then they will lowball him.  Win/lose in favor of the company. 

Yet he states "We don't want to hire someone who wants a win/lose deal". 

I guess as long as the company is winning, that isn't true.

My value to your company is irrelevant to my value to my previous companies.

sourcegear sucks.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

I don't think Sourcegear should be faulted because someone contributed a perspective on what these companies think.  Some companies believe people want to grow financially like a company.  But normal techies often don't think in these terms.

Always for me the salary negotiation part is uncomfortable.  I'm one of those programmers who may be whoring himself out, but I still want to do it more for the programming than for the $.  So I say all sorts of things to have the other person suggest a "fair" price.  Better yet, I want to know how much they pay other people, then I'll tell them my salary and we can work something out.  If the company is a struggling but smart company, I have no plans to extort money from them.  I want to extort flexibility, so I can code without the heartache of peoples' preconceptions.

Tj
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Don't be such a wimp Tj.  If that's their policy, they SHOULD be faulted.

sourcegear sucks.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

He contributed an insight.  Of course I looked at his email addy and thought it was a strike against them.  But after Eric Sink was honest, I think I now know how to deal with such companies.  At least the ones that otherwise seem well-meaning.

He's sitting there right now, thinking the issue over.  Better to talk and get rid of old preconceptions.

Tj
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

I've been on both sides of the table.

As a candidate, it is perfectly reasonable to decline giving this information.  There is no interview rule book that says you are obligated to provide an answer.  After a few early mistakes, I stopped doing it.

When I do interviews as an employer, I gain a measure of respect for those who can tactfully decline answering this question (you have to decline tactfully though, that is most important).

I have also learned that it can be valuable to see how somebody will answer that question.  If they are desperate, they'll give the number and immediately talk themselves down.  If they are arrogant, the reverse.  A confident person will either decline to answer (tactfully) or just give the number and that's the end of it.

Of course, the interview doesn't hinge on this question (unless the person is a total fruitcake and just cracks under the pressure of answering it ..... it happens).

By the way, I was never very good at tactfully declining to answer that question myself.  It always sounded over-rehearsed to me (because it was).  But it still worked well anyway.  And if they wanted to focus on the question, I knew this wasn't somebody I wanted to work for.  (especially if they said it was a matter of bureaucracy).

There is something else that I think is true.  Sometimes the interviewer is simply a nosy loser.

They don't want your salary for the good of running the interview.  They just want to know your business, or they want it for their own sake (How well is XYZ company paying?  Maybe I'll be dealing with them in the future ....).  I mean, come on, how many manager have you known how were just themselves insecure and petty morons.  I've known some managers who weren't satisfied until they knew the salary of everybody, like it was a right bestowed upon them by a higher power.

$100,000...but I can do it for less.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002


I think it's fascinating to see the faulty assumptions being made after my last post.  I don't think I am *quite* as evil as is it would seem.  :-)

Yes, I do expect that a candidate will honestly disclose their salary history.  But I don't do this to get negotiation advantage.

We are one of the highest paying employers in our area.  I do not believe anyone has ever left SourceGear in the pursuit of higher salary or better work environment.  We try to treat our team members with a high level of trust and respect that is truly rare.  Yes, we make mistakes in this area, but we do the best we can. 

Of course, we expect each employee to treat others with trust and respect in return.  If I ask for your salary history, I want to know the information so that I can work with you to find a win/win deal which is fair to you and to the company.  If you trust me not to use that information to your disadvantage, then it is very likely you will be able to work well on our team.  If I were to betray that trust, then I would expect you to be VERY angry.  That's why I never do.

For the sake of privacy, we do keep our salary list private, but I always try to make sure that nobody would be upset if it were posted on the bulletin board.  If a candidate asks me what salary we are paying to people of comparable skills and experience, I answer them.

I probably should not have made my flippant remark about lowballing anyone who won't share their salary history.  The truth is that this has never happened (although I still think I probably *would* do it, just to prove a point).  I have met candidates who were reluctant to disclose the information, but each of those cases simply became an opportunity to talk openly about the unique kind of environment we try to foster.  After spending time getting to know our team, no one has ever refused to provide salary history.

[ Charlotte, it certainly *is* possible that we could never afford you.  :-)  But I assure you that our environment and compensation have attracted some extremely talented people.  Never say "never"... ]

I stand by my original statement, which I have hopefully made much clearer:  If you are not prepared to function in an environment where trust is this high, then you probably don't belong at SourceGear.

And yes, all of this is moot since we're not hiring right now anyway.  :-)

Eric W. Sink
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Respect my ass.  If you respected them, you wouldn't try to 'prove a point' when they refused to give you salary history.  And if you really value 'truth', then why don't you have an open pay scale?

I'll defer to Nick Corcodilos for the rest:

"A responsible, well-managed business shouldn't care what you've been earning. What will matter to that company is whether and to what extent it needs your abilities; how much it can afford to pay you; and how much profit it projects you will bring to its bottom line. Such a judgment requires that the company evaluate you carefully and in terms that are relevant to its business, not in terms that are important to someone else."

http://asktheheadhunter.com/hasalary.htm

sourcegear sucks.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

I shouldn't say that sourcegear sucks.  That's just mean & unprofessional of me.  Sorry.  This just got me riled up.

sourcegear's salary history policy sucks.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Eric -

You've cited that a sourcegear candidate ought not be reluctant to reveal their salary history based on the high level of trust in your corporate climate.

First, taking that statement at face value, I applaud your organization for having achieved such a high level of mutual trust. Given that, I have a question -

(BTW, I'm not looking, am happy where I am, and you're not hiring anyway, so I'm not "cruising" for anything in asking this ;-)

If you're in the role of the interviewer, what do you do to earn the candidate's trust during the relatively short duration (my assumption, correct me if wrong) of the interview such that they become willing to reveal salary history?

I presume you don't expect a candidate to just reveal salary history (yes, you cited that sometimes they do) immediately upon request and that you'd have to "earn" their trust first. Or do you expect them to trust you and the organization first, without having ever worked there even a day?

Also, you said:

"...If I ask for your salary history, I want to know the information so that I can work with you to find a win/win deal which is fair to you and to the company.  If you trust me not to use that information to your disadvantage, then it is very likely you will be able to work well on our team...."

Whether you intended it or not, this para clearly implies that 1) the candidate is incompetent to determine whether the offered compensation is acceptable to them or not. 2) you are making the revelation of private data during an interview after a short time of knowing you/sourcegear a key indicator of ability to work on a team.

Is that really what you intended to imply?

I submit that in seeking to fill a req, a company will not:
- attempt to fill the req before having some idea in mind of what the going rate is
- attempt to fill the req before having some idea of what the max it can offer is.
- then offer more than it can pay.

So if you make a reasonable offer to a candidate, why do you implicitly presume (if in fact you do)  they are incapable of making the decision and that **you** have to be the one to take the lead in doing so?

Further, that the judicious handling of sensitive information, especially when its revelation can (and has) place(d) the candidate at a negotiating disadvantage (in their experience), is a much stronger indicator of experience and common sense than it is of any of the factors related to being a bad / untrusting teammate.

In fact, the causal relationship you seem to restate between revealing such information and the ability to function on a team strikes me as quite remarkable. I can only presume it comes from you having been burned somehow in this area. Is this true? Did you really observe that people reticent to reveal salary history subsequently functioned badly on a team? If so, I would caution you to reevaluate the causal relationship with an eye toward discovering what was likely the true reasons for those person's poor fit on yor team.

As a final question - you seemed to allude to this earlier - are you using the question itself as a way to probe into how the candidate handles uncomfortable situations, without really caring what their specific answer is?

Certainly as you can tell from the posters here, you have successfully chosen a question that causes many people discomfort.

Personally, when/if the situation arises for me, I openly state I would prefer to handle money negotiations by having the company make an offer first, citing specifically the example of my earlier post that identifies that 2/3 of the times me speaking first will work to my disadvantage. Were I to be asked for salary history specifically, I would ask how the information would be used, how and why the company thinks it is relevant to the current req and me. Hopefully that would foster a reasonable discussion on the topic where either they realize they do not need the info after all, I decide to give it to them anyway, or they stumble and fall with the famous "it's just our policy." That last is a red flag to me that the company is likely a very poor team player.

anonQAguy
Tuesday, October 29, 2002


BTW, I do appreciate your switching from this:

-- sourcegear sucks.

to this:

-- sourcegear's salary history policy sucks

In fact, if I could paraphrase your opinion (as I understand it) with even greater precision:

-- eric's attitude toward salary history sucks

This clarifies the fact that my remarks are actually not SourceGear policy.  Since our company is rather small and quite founder-centric, it is certainly true that my philosophies have a major impact on the way we do things.  Nonetheless, most people who get hired here do so without me interviewing them.  :-)

Eric W. Sink
Tuesday, October 29, 2002


I'll try to make this my last post on the subject.  If I spend too much of my life here Joel is going to start charging me rent.  :-)

anonQAguy asks more questions about my expectations and philosophy.  I want to clarify a bit further:

First of all, I should just say this situation is rare in my experience.  Most people just haven't balked at the question about salary history.  Perhaps that's just because we're all hicks here in the midwest.

No, I did not intend to imply that the candidate is incompetent to make his/her own decisions.

But yes, I do believe that the salary discussion between us and a candidate can be a reasonably good predicter of our ability to process difficult issues together in the future.

This principle is a guideline, not a rule.  Interviewing SourceGear is a very WYSYWIG experience for the candidate.  We are completely genuine, and we make no attempt to be anything more or less than we are.  We hope that the candidate feels sufficiently comfortable to be genuine with us as well. 

It is a core skill for our team to have the ability to process tough issues together.  Yes, we can calibrate for the fact that some people do get nervous during an interview.  Nonetheless, we like to see a candidate who can confidently navigate the salary discussion without constantly worrying that we are trying to screw them over.  This correlates very well with the ability to function with excellence on the kind of team we are trying to be.

Final disclaimer:  SourceGear is a reasonably young company, and this is still my first experience as an entrepreneur.  It is perhaps inevitable that our team will lose its family-like qualities and gradually become more corporate.  Signs of this are already starting to appear.

I've never met Joel, but I read this site because I think he's probably a lot like me.  We're both arrogant, know-it-all entrepreneurs in our thirties.  I have strong opinions on almost everything, but I also know that I am still learning from my mistakes and experiences.  As SourceGear and our industry each continue to move forward, it is possible that my philosophies will begin to look dated.

But I'm sticking with them for now.  ;-)

Eric W. Sink
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Thanks for the response, Eric.

Yeah, I think this horse is about dead.

(and I gotta get away from this and go home as well)
Interesting perspectives; sounds like you probably have a good shop. Good luck to you and your company.
Also, for the record, I was not 'sourcegear sucks' or any variation thereof. That was somebody else. Not that you suggested it, but just wanted to be clear - one pseudonym is about all I can keep up with.

Cheers,

anonQAguy
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

I still don't understand how revealing your salary history will help Eric create a win/win situation. He said they try to treat all their employees fairly and ensure that nobody would be upset if it were posted on the bulletin board. So if they already know the market rate salary and how much they pay their other employees, how will the candidate's salary history affect their decision? It can only hurt the candidate and help the company.

The company cannot pay much more than their other employees without breaking the "bulletin board" rule. Theoretically, they cannot pay much less either without breaking the "bulletin board" rule, but Eric already said they might lowball someone who did not provide a salary history. That puts the "bulletin board" rule's validity into question..

Zwarm Monkey
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

I believe the win/win situation in this case is actually a disguised win/lose in favor of the company.

Suppose I've been working for Podunk University for the last few years where there's a published pay scale between 40-50K.  What the hell does that have to do with anything?  What does it say about me?

nothing.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

nothing, I absolutely agree with you.

 
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Eric

After interviewing a candidate, you know the market value of that candidate to your firm.

The only reason for discovering previous salary is so you can identify opportunities to pay a rate less than the market value to your firm. You aren't going to pay a higher rate if you discover the candidate's previous salary was higher.

And if the rate you offer is too low for the candidate, that is his or her decision to make, not yours.

Brian G
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Eric is implying a completely different notion of trust than many people are used to.  In a healthy community where people don't take advantage of you, but instead try to move forward to something mutually beneficial, people discuss this sort of thing openly.

Of course, I don't know how Eric runs his business.  I'm just talking about healthy communities in the main.

anon
Thursday, October 31, 2002

anon -

yeah. And my concern is that in my experience, meaning no disrespect to Eric, his position is somewhat naive, first off, and second, that in using reluctance to reveal salary history as a predictor of ability to work successfully on a team, he's failing to recognize the real-world experience many folks have had and would effectively punish them for having acted on their hard-won lessons.

Well, he seems to be in(or is running) a good shop, so I'm happy for him and wish him and sourcegear luck. IMO, he should have learned something from the posters here -- he should be careful about extrapolating future teamwork success from somebody's reasoned prudence. He seemed reluctant to recognize the value of posters experience as being different than his. I suspect he hasn't been burned this way personally, but that's assumption on my part.

The hiring/employment experience can often be and often is a win-win situation, but the world is not inherently a benevolent place. At best, it's indifferent on average, which means there's still an antagonistic side to be prepared for sometimes.

Under some circumstances, I might reveal salary history, but he would, as he says he does, have to get me to trust that the info would not work against me. In fact, I have told salary history to people, but typically only when I'm being interviewed by headhunters so they can know better how to sell me and price me, not by the hiring manager or HR.

anonQAguy
Thursday, October 31, 2002

I should make myself more clear -- many successful teams have a cult-like quality about them.  That is, they do little things to knit people tighter into the team.  Asking for salary history and being benevolent with it, is a way to prove that normal outside rules don't apply here in the team.

Now, I'll stress that cults can mess this up greatly, like a business can.  If you think this is getting into fairly dangerous territory, you're right.  That's how it can be potent.

anon
Thursday, October 31, 2002

OK Accenture sent me a Personal Data Sheet to be faxed back to them before they interview me, asking my salary history, not to mention asking my social security number to do a credit check.

What should I do?????

Need A. Job
Monday, August 02, 2004

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