Time To Rant About Those Conducting Interviews — Part 2

Last week, I discussed how frustrating it is when an unknown recruiter calls you and asks for your salary information after five measly minutes of conversation.  I got some great comments from you guys, telling me how this really makes you feel uncomfortable.  Recruiters too often treat candidates like numbers, vs. people and they need to take a deep breath and recognize that they have to develop a trust with a candidate before asking for personal data.  Now that said, I’d like to state that, as a recruiter, we really do need to know your salary information.  If we’ve got a job we’re looking to fill, our clients have no doubt given us a range to look for.  Doesn’t it make sense for us to know right off the bat if you fit that range so we don’t waste anyone’s time?

The answer is yes and no.  My feeling is, regardless if you are right for this job that I’m currently recruiting for, I’d like to get to know you.  Maybe if this position is not the right fit, the next one will be.  So, I try to encourage an in-person meeting to get to know one-another, to understand the candidates’ goals and his or her desired next steps.  Once that dialogue is established, then it makes sense to discuss salary history and desired future salary.

I had one comment from a recruiter who really took offense to my piece (copied below).  She didn’t understand why I think salary information is personal and seemed to think that there is nothing wrong with asking the question upfront.  I suggested that she ask some of her candidates how they felt about that.

Below are some of the comments that I received.  Feel free to add your own rants!  Next time, I’ll go beyond the salary piece and discuss the other things that piss you guys off about the interviewing process. And, I’ll give you some advice on how to move through it….

From Tracy:

Why exactly is salary information so personal? I’m a recruiter who regularly asks that question in a very non-threatening, matter of fact way, expecting a matter of fact big picture response. Maybe it’s different in the legal field where I work and salaries are often “lock-step,” but I don’t happen to think it is (or should be) such a personal issue. We’re all big boys and girls operating in the business world. I’m a consultant, and salary is one piece of business information that can make or break a deal. I often need to know salary basics to know if the deal is going anyplace. And yes, I’m going to roll my eyes if the person on the other end is not confident enough to share basics without drama.

From MJ:

I got into a very similar situation just this morning. A company that contacted me, out of the blue, via my LinkedIn profile, finally had a “senior enough” HR person call me. She asked what I make, and my salary history, as part of a pre-pre screening interview. I told her that I wasn’t comfortable discussing; that I make market; etc. and she threatened to END the discussion and not speak with me further, right then and there, if I didn’t spit out my salary. I still want to hear more about the job, so of course, I lied and told her more than I make now, and told her that we’d negotiate around salary if we got to that point in the conversation. The NERVE!!! I wanted to jump through the phone and strangle the overly-important, Dilbert-esque HR recruiter, WHO by the way, didn’t know enough about the job to even speak to it. So annoying!

From Ken:

…most HR people I’ve encountered in midsize and large enterprises are painfully undertrained and insufficiently talented for what is a vital role in cultivating, engaging and benefiting from human capital.

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