Why It’s O.K. to Reveal Your Salary


There has been a lot of archaic advice when it comes to managing one’s career search and this is especially true when it comes to whether you should revel your salary history or hold it close to the vest. There are several reason why you should reveal your salary history but before we get into it, let me tell you how a salary number is created within an organization. Most companies will take the following into account before a job offer is extended to a potential candidate:

  1. Internal equity – most groups within an organization are banded together by ranking or titles (AVP, VP, etc.) and within each title structure is a pay scale that is determined by the company. In an effort to keep the status quo, employees of a similar title will be paid within the set range. This will offer an opportunity for pay increases upon promotion as well as flexibility upon negotiation.
  2. Budget – before any approvals are made there will be a budget created for the positon.
  3. Market demand – Companies will pay for what is in demand. If you are an AP clerk you will not have as much leverage as a digital transformation candidate and thus your negotiating power decreases.
  4. What you are looking for in a salary – most companies will ask either your recruiter or in the absence of one, “What are you looking for?” The reason why the question is taken into consideration is so no time is wasted if your expectations are too lofty or not in line with what is budgeted for the position. Understand that most positions that are being recruiter for (that have been approved) are within a budget (see no. 2) therefore, your lofty expectations without any disclosure will seem peculiar.

What you should remember is that by disclosing your salary history you are not putting yourself at risk for receiving a lesser salary but you are taking steps towards securing a competitive, market driven offer based on your skill set that is relative to the demand in the market place.

Other benefits of sharing your salary:

1. You’ve strengthened the relationship between you and your recruiter.

Recruiters ultimately want to work with candidates that have value not only for themselves but most importantly, to their clients. They want to work with savvy, business minded professionals that are in tuned with the market that they work in and have a level head about their earning potential for the role that they play.

2. You have made it clear to your future employer that you are willing to enter a relationship with no stones left unturned.

By sharing your salary history upfront with your potential employer, you are showing them that you have nothing to hide and that you are a team player. This does not mean that you are going to accept the first offer that is presented but you are willing to be transparent upfront as to manage everyone’s expectations. You will have the opportunity to share what you are looking for and show why throughout the interview process.

3. You’ve given your employer a window into your salary based on your past job requirements.

Your potential future employer now knows whether you’ve been paid by market standard for the roles you’ve played in your career and can use this data as a decision point when putting an offer on the table. Again, you do not need to accept the first offer if it does not meet your expectations but hopefully you are working with a recruiter that understands that and can express them upfront and throughout the process. 

4. You have created a baseline for negotiating and you will negotiate based on the role and the requirements not the history of your salary.

Simply because you’ve shared your salary that does not mean that you will only receive an offer based on that data point alone but it does create a baseline for negotiation. Companies are savvy and understand that good, in demand candidates are going to negotiate. You are on the move and the trajectory is upward, therefore your expectations will be as well. And as long as you are not asking for an exaggerated salary, most companies are willing to comprise and do what they can to bring you on board: more vacation, sign on bonus, etc.

Remember, salary is only one component to consider when negotiating an offer so whether you decide to share your salary or not, make sure you’ve done your research and can make a decision based on your career goals and objectives. When all is said and done, there are exceptions to every rule but from my experience and giving advice to candidates over the course of 10 years, sharing your salary can only help propel you through the recruitment process not hinder you. If a company falls into the minority and makes you an offer that is well under market, decline it and move on – you may have dodged a bullet.

Looking forward to your thoughts and opinion on the matter. You can also follow me onTwitter @joecarbone_esp or follow our company Instagram page @eastward_search

2 thoughts on “Why It’s O.K. to Reveal Your Salary

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