I recently started saying yes to recruiters. Soon, I will (have to) go back to work; I’m actually looking forward to it! So I’ve turned that LinkedIn feature on and I am open to the initial fit conversation that is often necessary to begin the hiring process at pretty much every corporation. I am happy to report that I have already engaged in some delightful chats with some world-class recruiters (you know who you are!).
This first date is usually really fun. I enjoy talking about my career and my skills, especially now that, as an experienced professional, I am more clear than ever on what I want to do and the kind of company I want to do it at. I also enjoy listening to these expert individuals as they describe their corporation’s clients, customers, culture, products, services and differentiators. The conversation usually flows back and forth organically.
Until that moment when my potential future colleague asks: “What are your salary expectations?“
Normal question, right?
For years, I have maintained a strict “I don’t tell on the first date” policy. A long time ago at AOL University, I learned about the first rule of negotiations: listen and let the other person say their position first.
As such, my answer is usually something like:
“I value annuity-based compensation more than variability with bonus, so my number one requirement is to maximize my base pay”.
“I am pretty sure you have a range in mind for the position you are thinking I would be a good fit for. I’m at the top of that range, and to be safe, let’s add some on top of that”.
“I am confident you have a good idea what people with my skills and experience / Associate Partners at IBM-types make; I expect my compensation to be augmented for joining your company”. (Note: I only use this one when I am feeling really bold)…
And, I usually wrap up the segment with a question back to the recruiter:
“You see a lot of candidates like me – what do you think my value to your company is worth?”
“What is the highest salary range you think you could fit me in?”
“What do you say we put a pin in this topic until we both know a bit more about each other?”
Last week, I broke my own rule and tried something else on for size: I flat out told a recruiter my number. It was higher than the number she had in mind. We decided to proceed to the next step nonetheless.
As I prepare to soon embark on the full-time job of finding a job, I am interested in your thoughts and techniques in navigating these precious conversations. To tell or not?