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Discussion on: β€œWhat is your current salary?” is a red flag that you don’t want to work here

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mrsaeeddev profile image
Saeed Ahmad • Edited

Hey Jean
Thanks for writing on this topic.
But let me tell you about the situation of South Asian countries. Here even the top companies of the region ask for current salary and if you don't reveal it they will upfront back off. They see it as a criterion for evaluation of technical skills and think 'if this person is so good at their work, why he/she's working on a low salary'. So, it has happened to me as well. When industry leaders in a country follow such bad practices you are left with no choice.

What do you think about how can we deal with this?

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crimsonmed profile image
MΓ©dΓ©ric Burlet

Totally agree here in Singapore it is a normal basic question. It is asked for the simple reason that a company will want to offer more than your current salary as a normal rule of them ans standard in the industry.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ Author

I think almost every developer gets a higher salary when he moves jobs, this has nothing to do with asking for your current salary to anchor the salary negociation to the bottom of the range.

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crimsonmed profile image
MΓ©dΓ©ric Burlet

Not at all in europe I got many offers with smaller salaries but because its a big company then I should join them. And we ask this question at our company and we do not use it to anchor to the bottom of the range. I guess we just agree to disagree.

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jmfayard profile image
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xowap profile image
RΓ©my πŸ€–

Well, knowing the current salary of the person you're hiring tells you what kind of gap they're jumping to join you. It gives more meaning because you know if the person is considering lowering or expanding their salary.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ Author

I understand the upside from the employer to know that information, but what's the upside for the employee?

And frankly given the need for developers, I take it as a given that when you move after 2 users of experience+ or more that you will have a higher salary

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michaelandreuzza profile image
michael-andreuzza

Well, knowing the current salary of the person you're hiring tells you what kind of gap they're jumping to join you. It gives more meaning because you know if the person is considering lowering or expanding their salary.

Hey @remy , in what way is going to help you to know the gap? That has nothing to with either company...

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xowap profile image
RΓ©my πŸ€–

Well because the salary is part of the conversation. That's literally why you go to work. It should not be spoken of? How do you even know how to setup your salary grid if you don't ask what people want?

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ Author

The salary expectation should be spoken of, of course.
On the other hand, I see no reason why good, skilled people who used to be underpaid should continue to be underpaid, just a bit less.
It's none of the companies's business.
The company should only care about how much value the candidate provides for what price.

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michaelandreuzza profile image
michael-andreuzza

You just answered your own question.

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michaelandreuzza profile image
michael-andreuzza

I second this.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ Author

Hello @mrsaeeddev
I have got some feedback from Erik Dietrich that could probably be useful for you:

That question used to be pretty standard fare, many years ago when I did job interviews. The way I always handled it was to understand that they didn't really have any specific means of verification of what you told them, especially if you talked about your "total compensation"

So I'd start with my salary, add in the last bonus I'd received times 1.25 (I mean, you have to assume this year's will be higher), the pro-rated salary rate for any weeks of vacation above 2, the 401K match amount, the total tuition reimbursement available to me, $1K for the free lunches usually provided, etc, etc, etc. I'd then answer that question with "my total comp was X"

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mdrijwan profile image
Md Rijwan Razzaq Matin

but then they'd question this after you have to provide them with your payslip which would take place after they've sent you the offer letter.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ Author

What? You have to provide them with your payslip in south Asia?
Didn't know that either and that is very weird to me.
Frankly at that point, I think the solution is that you should unionnize to defend your rights

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mdrijwan profile image
Md Rijwan Razzaq Matin

we do yeah! i guess to ensure them that we weren't lying about it before. it's ridiculous!

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dannymoerkerke profile image
Danny Moerkerke

Do not EVER give them a payslip. That is just ridiculous and is just to lower the offer. I know it happens in certain sectors here in the Netherlands as well but this is about as red as a red flag can get. You do NOT want to work for such a company.

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mrwensveen profile image
Matthijs Wensveen

I've never heard of this in the Netherlands, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I lot of companies ask what you would like to earn (aka the happy number), and then proceed to offer you somewhat less. I always exaggerate even the happy number and then say that I'm open to any reasonable offer.

Negotiating is tricky business and a source of unfair gaps (possibly the gender gap, too).

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ Author

Thanks for sharing, I didn't know this.

In Europe, I would say it's only the bottom 20-30% companies who do it, so the leverage to push back is pretty good.

If most company around you do it, of course it's harder to push back.

I don't really know what a candidate can do in such a context. Accept it and have your deal breakers somehwere else?

On the other hand, if I was a C-level executive in South Asia, I know what I would do: I would advertise that at my company, the recruiting process is free of this nonsense. You get a competitive edge and are doing Good at the same time, what's not to like?

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ildar10 profile image
Ildar Nazmeev

To be honest, from my personal feeling , most of the companies except FAANG ask this question in Germany

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ Author

I don't know, I am myself in Berlin and the majority of companies didn't ask for my current salary.
A very famous fashion company did ask for it, but my friends recommended me before hand to not work there anyway, so it reinforced my conviction that asking for the current salary is a useful red flag.

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adsidera profile image
Anna Costalonga

oh good to know you are in Berlin, as well! Normally I am asked my salary expectations by third-party recruiters, and only a few times by companies directly. Do you think that it would make sense not to disclose salary expectations to recruiters as well?

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itsashleighhyo profile image
Ashleigh Roberts

As an external (3rd party) recruiter myself, I think it makes sense to disclose salary expectations to us because the motivation for asking the question is completely different. It helps us filter out which jobs to send to you and which jobs wouldn't be worth your time. And we're not going to try and lowball you as the higher the salary we're able to secure for you, the higher our commission is.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ Author

That's a good point, I also disclosed my salary expectations to external recruiters and it went well

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deca profile image
Deca • Edited

I can confirm that also in Italy most of the companies ask those kind of questions...and by the way, salaries here are 1/3 of those my Berlin friends πŸ˜’