July 12, 2005

Toppings: Salary History & Requirements

This is always tricky. I believe in following all the stated requirements of a job listing. If they want you to email your resume in a text document, then you'd better do so. But when it comes to a Salary History or Salary Requirement request, I suggest you play coy.

The reason is, whether the hiring manager intends to do so or not, they use this request as a culling device. They're very unlikely to hire someone who earned $50,000 last year for a position that pays $35,000 (even if that person is a perfect fit otherwise) as the belief is that they'll be unhappy earning less and therefore less productive.

I wish more companies would put salary ranges in the job listings and let the applicants make that decision for themselves.

If the job listing does request a salary history or requirement always include something, don't ignore their request. If you’re not comfortable giving a range (say $35,000 - $40,000) because you don’t know what they’ll be offering (your range should always match theirs or they’ll just throw out your resume), then just say “salary and benefits are negotiable.” Then be sure to negotiate.

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