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Talking about your salary can feel like a sensitive subject. We don’t generally do it outside of work with our friends (unless they’re really close) and we usually don’t talk about it in the office either. So why do we need to talk about what we earn with our recruiter?

There are generally two levels to this conversation. 1. What do you currently earn and 2. What do you expect to earn from your next role. A good recruiter will ask you both questions to situate you within the market and work with you to determine the best way to help you moving forward.

It is absolutely your prerogative to refuse to disclose what you earn to your recruiter and talk only to the hiring manager. You may also decide to disclose what you earn to your recruiter and request that it not be disclosed to the company in favour of only voicing your expectations. Both options are 100% your choice.

Recruiters do ask for salary information and expectations for a number of reasons however that are worthwhile taking into consideration. This outlines our Top 6.



1. Your Recruiter Wants to Find you a Better Option


If you’ve made the choice to use a recruiter and found one (or more) that you like and more importantly, trust, their job is literally to find you something better than what you have currently (or else why would you move?). The more colour the recruiter has surrounding this including your current salary and your ideal salary to move, the better equipped they are to find you the right option.



2. It Pays Them to Better Your Salary


If you don’t already know how the recruitment industry works, recruiters are paid for a successful placement on a percentage of the candidate’s total salary. It pays the recruiter to be your advocate and push to negotiate a better salary and total package on behalf. This means however, that they require a point to start from.



3. They Won’t Waste Your Time


Unless you’ve asked to have every opportunity that matches your skills put in front you regardless of how much it pays, then telling the recruiter your salary expectations at the beginning of the process will prevent them putting options in front of you that aren’t worth your time.



4. They can set the Expectation Early


Most companies have an ideal salary band that they want to pay for a role which is generally based on company and / or industry parity. Sometimes they are able to move outside of this for the right fit but sometimes they can’t.

If your salary sits within this band, there may be no problem. If it is higher you may encounter problems at the end of the process i.e. an offer that is not matching your current salary / offer expectations which means that unless you’re willing to take a pay cut, everyone may have wasted their time.

Setting expectations early on in the process ensures that both parties; candidate and company; fully understand what to expect.

Yes, it may also mean that the company may not want to interview you but a. if they see value in your skills and have wiggle room in their banding then they will interview and will do so with the knowledge that they will need to offer you more to join them and b. if they don’t, then no one’s time has been lost.



5. They Can Help You Understand the Market


Most people at some point wonder if the grass is greener on the other side when it comes to salary. For some candidates, they may well be underpaid and will easily find greener pastures somewhere else.

For others however, they may be extremely well paid and unlikely to get a better salary option. If your recruiter (who talks salaries day in, day out) knows this info, they can counsel you on what feedback to expect from the market. If they can’t better your actual salary, they may be able to better other aspects of your working life (conditions, flexibility, job responsibilities etc) and at least help you be happier in your job.



6. They Can do the Negotiating


Some people love the thrill of negotiating but for most people who aren’t practiced in pushing for a better deal, negotiating a salary can be a daunting conversation for which they may not have all the information they need. In particular, what their salary looks like as a comparison against the market as a whole.

A good recruiter should be a good negotiator and do so considering all of the potential factors in play including: your expectations, what the company can pay, what jobs with similar responsibilities pay in the rest of the market, will your new role be adding responsibilities, how does your hire affect the company, this role’s importance to the company, how much competition there is for the role and often many, many more variables.

Allowing your recruiter to headline this conversation may well net you a better deal.