IT Employment

Battling recruiters and the salary issue

It's an age-old issue: You're talking to a recruiter who wants to know what your salary requirements are, and you want to know what salary the job offers. How does one get around this stand-off?

It's an age-old issue: You're talking to a recruiter who wants to know what your salary requirements are, and you want to know what salary the job offers. How does one get around this stand-off?

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I received an e-mail yesterday that describes an issue that many of us have likely experienced. It is the recruiter call in which the screener pressures you for salary guidelines. Here's the text of the e-mail:

"I received a phone call from a recruiter this morning concerning a desktop support position. She wanted to know if I'm in the job market. I said I am currently seeking opportunities. She has my resume, can see what I've been doing for the past 15 years, can see what environments I've worked in and what capacities I've filled.  I said I've worked as a field tech, on site tech, bench tech, I've worked in medical facilities, manufacturing facilities, you name it. I am flexible and am looking to continue my employment. She asked me when my contract ends. I said for as long as I can make it last. The state is making cuts, and there is a hiring freeze. This is why I'm out looking.

She wanted to know what I'm making. I replied that I am making a wage commensurate with my position. I can tell this response was not on her script. Oddly, she then starts describing the position, to which I responded 'Typical desktop support.' She says 'Yes, which is why I'm asking what you are currently making.' (i lost the connection there.) I asked her for the range the position goes for. She refused to answer and again asked me what I'm making. I repeated my standard response that I say to every recruiter that I previously mentioned. At this point she gets really snotty with me, and tells me she does not feel I am a good fit for the position to which I reply 'Thank you for calling.'

I have never met this person before, never spoke to her before and do not feel it is OK for her to ask for that information without giving me any details about who or where or what pay range the position is for. Am I off the mark or am I correct in my displeasure with this first contact?"

I understand the frustration. It's like a bizarre game of Chicken -- seeing who caves in first. Many of the first-round recruiting calls are done just for the sake of weeding out salary demands that are outside of the company's desired range. My guess is that she is very pressured to get that information. I had one recruiter call me on behalf of a company in a state with a higher cost of living and got frustrated when I couldn't offer a salary range that would be acceptable. Like I carry around a Cost-of-Living calculator on my belt. I also think that if you don't offer a salary at all, then you're automatically thrown out of consideration and are not moved to the next level, but that's just a suspicion.

Let's throw this out to the gang and see what kind of experiences they've had with first-round recruiting. Also, if there are any recruiters out there reading this, can you offer us some inside dope?

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Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

322 comments
mjstelly
mjstelly

"Game of Chicken"? I prefer Blind Man's Bluff or Liar's Poker. Whoever affixes the watershed and arbitrary numeric value to the job in question first, loses. The current location of the supply and demand pendulum dictates which side has the advantage. In this job market, it's the recruiters and they know it. Ten years ago, it was the job seekers, and we knew it. The problem compounds when you know damn good and well that your job-seeking cohort doesn't abide by your own moral compass. Where I punt the salary question right back to the recruiter, the next interviewee, who may be in more dire straits than I, spews a number that he/she thinks may be just what the recruiter wants to hear. The sad fact is that no number is the right one. And as I said, you just lost the game. I believe it is my karmic obligation to abide by my sense of fairness. It is uncomfortable for me knowing that, in this economic climate, the words, "salary commensurate with my experience" excludes me from many positions. But I take heart knowing that I don't want to work for an organization that treats potential employees like items in the Wal-mart bargain bin. If they don't value you now, do you really think that will change if you get hired? But the pendulum always swings back...always.

Joseph Asante
Joseph Asante

On one long-term contract I was working on, I got quite friendly with the boss and he told me how much the agency charged his company for my services. It turns out, that for every hour that I worked, the agency actually earned more than I did! Talk about taking the P**s! When my contract was up for renewal, I asked for more money and was told that the client was not willing to pay any more money for me. Well, I am not surprised at that, because they already thought that they were paying me a good rate. This caused me a few problems in work, until I explained to the client that I was not getting paid anywhere near what they were paying for me. As you can imagine, the client was not happy with the recruiters, because they were screwing both myself and them. That is precisely why I don't believe a word of what I am told by recruiters.

Lou.Berger
Lou.Berger

As a technical recruiter, I am constrained by the specific boundaries my hiring manager has imposed. They have, frequently, budgeted for a specific skillset at a specific ceiling. When I am speaking to a candidate who is interested in my position, I'm hamstrung by the constraints that are externally imposed on my search. Would I love to pay somebody half a million bucks for a desktop support position? Well, because I get paid a percentage of the candidate's salary, HECK YES! But let's face reality. If you were making $85K a year and got laid off a month ago, you really won't be staying at my position that only pays $65K...no matter what you say. It's a slap in the face (to you) to accept a $20K reduction in pay, even if that kind of salary is, for my hiring manager, the most they can afford. And *when* (not if) you leave this $65K job for one that "respects you more" at $85K, out of the rubble will be one name...mine. And my hiring manager will remember me as "that recruiter" who brought them a surly, resentful job hopper. You are darn right I need to know what you are making. And what you are comfortable with earning. I can't make a match until you show me all your cards...and if you won't show me your cards, we have nothing more to say. I can't afford to risk my reputation (which is, after all, the only thing a recruiter has) on a belligerent, cards-close-to-the-chest candidate who won't answer my questions. I won't do it. My kids need a house to live in and this is how I pay my mortgage. Hope that helps. Lou

T3CHN0M4NC3R
T3CHN0M4NC3R

Typical procedure for company to cut cost... cuz they know there are people out there willing to work for lower salary... it's unethical but it's better than no salary at all... if ur current job offers higher wage... keep it...

gpellett
gpellett

When I was young, I got suckered into asking for or accepting low-ball offers. Eventually I learned that although it is standard business to get the most out of people for the least pay possible, companies that take too much advantage of their people are poor places to work. So now I try to avoid low-balling myself (by giving or agreeing to a low wage) by doing as much research about the job as I can (before the interview) and trusting my gut feelings (developed during the interview. There are lots of companies that do not want to commit to new employees -- just want you for a short period and pay a wage without benefits. So there are a lots of contracting firms who want to be middlemen between you and the company with the job. The middlemen need to get a cut of your wages, but some of them want too much. I recently was offered $12 per hour for a position that I knew paid $40 per hour. That's too much of a middleman's cut so I told them so. They tried to pressure me by pointing out how bad the job market is. I pointed out that they'd be lucky to get any competent person to stay in this job for very long, and when that person quit they'd have to spend time and money to recruit another sucker and they would lose face with their own client. In the end the recruiter still wouldn't negotiate, and my gut told me that I didn't want to work for people like this, so I turned them down. My experience is that no matter how badly you need a job, you don't need a poorly paying job working for ridiculus people. If you cave in (and I used to) you end up unhappy and stressed and eventually out on the street again anyway. You're really doing yourself a favor by passing on junky job offers. You also do the rest of us a favor if you tell the offerers the real reasons why you're turning them down -- maybe they will become more reasonable if they cannot fill the position or maybe they will go out of business that much faster. So, I refuse to state a salary without first researching and interviewing enough to understand what I am getting into. My experience shows that the harder the recruiter pushes to get you to make your offer (especially early in the interview) the worse the "opportunity" really is. These people will treat you badly and/or have terminal management problems that will kill the company pretty soon. Part of your research is finding the average salary for people with the same credentials as you. The recruiters already know this, so if they want to dance around they are actually indicating that they want to take advantage of you. When they are quick to ask my rate, I start asking them all about the job duties and expectations, company plans, benefits, etc. The recruiters who are unwilling to discuss this are bad opportunities. They want you to bid blindly on the job, and that's a recipe for disaster. Even in a bad economy there will be other opportunities, so I decline the junky ones. My blood pressure is much better now.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Typically, when asked, I'll respond that I need at least N dollars to even consider the offered position. I try to insert that somewhere in the early stages of the conversation if the recruiter hasn't already given some hint as to the salary range that might be offered. I figure there isn't a lot of use to both of us wasting our time if they're gonna try to low ball me. So I try to be clear that if we're not talking at least N amount, I'm walking and there is no sense in our having further discussion. That said, what I'll actually want to make for THIS job, well ... talk to me. Sell me on the job. We can negotiate based on the hiring person's expectations and demands as concerns my prospective job duties, etc. As versus how attractive they can make the job to me. In short, THIS is my baseline, below which there is no use for further talk. Anything above that is negotiable. Has always worked fine for me. How much more I might require to sign on the dotted line, depends on the specific job demands, my impression of the people and firm hiring me, how interesting is the job to me, etc etc. For instance, a couple times I've accepted a lower offer (but not below my stated minimum) and signed on the dotted line. Even tho at the time I had higher offers from others. Because the people I did sign with impressed me more favorably in this way or that. And the specific job offers had something new and interesting to them that attracted me. Chuckle, in one particular case, I already had a significantly higher offer from a very well firm. But, gad, I was not too terribly impressed with those people. Had struck me as stuck up elitists, spin masters, and so terribly politically correct about everything they said and did that ... well, my BS detector was screaming its alarm in my head, "Warning, Will Rogers ... WARNING." I'd been given a firm "Yes" from them, but had made the excuse that I did have a couple other interviews I'd agreed to, had firmly scheduled, etc. Felt I owed those folks the courtesy of showing up. Was told that was fine, call them back within 3 days and I was in, otherwise the deal was off. That's as long as they'd wait. The gal I was talking to seemed extremely confident I was "in the bag", so to speak. And in fact expressed the thought that it was nearly impossible that any other offer I was made could be as attractive as theirs. Especially given how wonderful (read that as SUPERIOR) their firm was. The money offered looked REALLY good. But .... I don't know ... I just had this feeling they never, ever said what they really meant. Were the types who'd smile most engagingly, hold regular group hugs, and ... who'd sink a knife in your back in a heartbeat if it furthered their purposes. Besides, they all seemed to be turned out by the same cookie cutter, preppy clothes and all. Anyway, I went to the next interview. A job offer I knew next to nothing about as the advertisement had been vague as hell. Was met by a harried and busy secretary. Who apologized that the person who was supposed to give me my first interview, a human resources type, had gotten suddenly ill and couldn't do the interview. But, I wasn't to leave. She took me to an employee lounge, made sure I had a cup of strong coffee, asked a couple guys in there to keep me entertained while she went to go find so-and-so (a mid level manager who'd told her that he'd do the interview personally, don't let me just leave). Those guys in the break room introduced selves. One muttered, "You want to work here? Oh, you poor SOB, I'd run now if I were you. They'll work your a** off while only paying you half what you're worth. RUN, run away fast !!" Said while he was smiling. We exchanged mutual BS. While both continued to engage in poking fun at the company, the managers and supervisors; dumb rules, even dumber people, stupid mistakes, etc. I later found out both were managers themselves. That secretary finally showed back up, said she'd found "The Boss" (by which I gathered she worked directly for him), he was now in his office. And took me there. He apologized for the screw up over my interview. Then went on to say it didn't matter much that I wouldn't be talking to that HR person. "Just a formality" he said. HE was the real interviewer, anyway, the only one that mattered. He had my app, and had looked at it previously. Had penned notes on it, specific clarifications he wanted. We discussed those briefly. He seemed satisfied with my answers. (Mostly a matter of clarifying terms and definitions, so he knew we were both on the same page and had the same understanding of what was written.) Then he stopped, leaned back and asked if I had any questions I wanted to ask before we got down to serious talk. I did, like what the heck the job was? The advertisement's description was clear as mud. He laughed, and said that was because they weren't even sure EXACTLY what they were looking for, or what that person's EXACT duties would be. New, position, new department. An experiment. He explained their idea and reasoning for the new position. Explained that it'd run for at least two years before they really made up their minds as to whether it was a worthwhile venture. During which time, IF I were hired into the position, I'd have to PROVE the department's worth. If I failed in that, likely I'd be let go, the department dissolved, etc. As concerns salary, they weren't even sure what the position was worth to them. They had this idea that might save em a little money, or a lot, or maybe none. Wouldn't know til they tried it out. So I, or whoever they finally hired, was to be their Guinea Pig. A disposable Guinea Pig. So the job offered no long term promises. Then he asked what kind of money I was looking for. Hell, by this time he had me interested. I got to do something new? Different than the same old daily routine? So I named by "bottom line" price. Had to have that to start. Then named another figure, said I wanted to make that by the end of that 2 years if the project was successful enough to continue. That second number was not excessively high, was in fact a little less than the other folks had offered to start me at. He grimaced, said they'd hoped to pay less to start. Given the unknown benefits to them. Thought about it, called in his secretary and asked her how much so and so made. She told him. It was a figure slightly lower than my bottom line number. He nodded and then told me, "Okay, we'll met your bottom line, and put the other number in your contract, if we sign you on. Now can we get down to specifics?" And we did. He was himself an ex-engineer. So he asked a number of pertinent questions, enough to satisfy himself that my claims about what I knew on my application weren't exaggerated BS. During the process I taught him some things he'd not known. Granted he'd been out of the field and working strictly management jobs for a number of years. No BS about the guy. Straight talking. Same with most of the folks I met there that day. I was there for several hours. Ate lunch with other employees, got the guided tour, introduced to people, and so forth. Nearly all spoke straight talk, said it as it was, and pulled no punches. Gave me the good, the bad, and the ugly. After I'd spent some time with others, while that manager handled some other business, I was called back to his office and he asked me what I thought of the company, their people, etc? Did they seem like a crowd I could fit in with and work with? Chuckle, the place was full of odd-balls, individualists, the old grouch working next to Mary Poppins, suits working with those in flannel shirts and blue jeans, etc. Nearly every one of whom had a word or two about how screwed up the place was. BUT ... all working towards a common goal, with pride in what they did. Yah could just tell. One of the things that convinced me. As a corporation they did not require some "standard uniform". Nor the wearing of or display of stuff with the corporate logo on it. But most every office or cubicle I saw had a bunch of little personal items in it, on the desk or on the wall that had the logo on it. And most of the employees wore SOMETHING with the logo on it. Like this one gal, who wore a ring with the logo on it. I asked about that. She smiled, said that was her "vesting" ring. Meant she'd worked there at least 5 years. Said yah weren't really considered a "permanent hire" until yah got that ring. And went on, "You know, as screwed up as this place can be sometimes, I really do like working here and the people I work with." Team spirit. I liked that. Not corporate dictated, expected, or demanded. Not a bunch of cookie cutter preppies all trying to "fit in" with the group, and conform with the GROUP standards. I told the guy that I'd liked what I'd seen. Understood that the job offer had no promises. And that I'd hoped for better than that bottom line he was willing to meet. BUT ... WTH? I was interested, darn it. It sounded like a challenge to me. Something new and interesting. So, let's get down to business, "What more do you want for me to convince YOU to hire me?" And we had further discussion where he asked me about possible ideas I had in order to make this new position work for them, how I might go about things, and why. And so forth. In the end, he offered me a contract to sign, and I signed it then and there. My point is, actual level of salary isn't the only consideration when considering a job. I've had more than once that a recruiter, or other interviewer lost me not so much because of a low salary offer, but he or she failed to SELL me on the job and/or on the company/corporation itself. Motivate me right, and my asking starting price could be lower. Do it wrong, and I might want more. Depends on how much I want THAT specific job, at THAT specific place. My asking bottom line, below which I won't go is simple ... gotta pay the bills and put food on my family's table. Plus a little extra for things like bait since I'm found out on a lake fishing most weekends in spring and summer. And the truth is, I get out and about, know a number of others in my line of work. So I know the approx low, medium, and high wage scale I can get for my line of work in my geographical area. So don't BS me. I've known a number of recruiters/interviewers in the past who have fed me some BS. Each time, when I left their office, it was for good. Whether they'd expressed further interest in me or not. We were done. No trust established. Thus no reason for further conversation.

kim.hall10
kim.hall10

This is just like going to a pawn shop. They ask you how much money you need for something. If you only ask for $10 for a $500 item, that's all you'll get. Let them talk you down. It looks flexible.

frostbite
frostbite

I like to think about it that most likely the recruiter is trying to see if they can meet my salary expectations while also meeting their client expectations. So while I will not divulge my actual salary, I'd say that there's more important factors involved in accepting a position and its a bit early in the process but I'd probably be pried away in XXX to YYY range. If they can't meet my range and not willing to discuss other factors then it most likely will be a position or organization that I would not be happy with. So no loss on both parties.

drecruits
drecruits

I've been a recruiter for about 14 years now. I've recruited contractors and employees. I started recruiting junior level techs and most recently worked for one of the largest exec search firms as part of the technology practice. In other words, I've touched a lot of different areas in the recruiting industry and interacted with a wide cross section of technology professionals. Salary/money negotiations do not have to be a battle or a war. When I was looking to identify someone for one of my clients, I looked for the best fit possible. This included not only the persons background and skills, but location/relocation possibilities, level of experience and compensation. I did not want to waste my clients time nor the time of the potential new employee. Another point - as has been shown by the activity this topic has received, the technical world is small. Word gets around about bad recruiters. A professional recruiter's life-blood is referrals. I lived for referrrals. If I did not treat people in a way that made them feel like they were a professional, I would not get any referrals. I'd say, if you are working with a recruiter who does not have this philosophy, you need to ditch them.

merddyin
merddyin

I have been confronted with this issue previously as well and, while I don't think my answer to the question is always liked, it is generally respected. Many people don't spend a lot of time reading their 'standard' employment documentation but, due to a singularly bad experience where I was blind sided by something included in my new hire paperwork, I try to make myself scan through it and read thoroughly anything that looks out of the norm. It may be surprising for many to realize that a fairly standard clause in such paperwork is a prohibition around disclosing your salary. While this is ostensibly targeted towards discusion of your salary with other employees, the actual language of the prohibition is not generally that specific. In theory, as long as you are employed by your company, you have signed a contract not to disclose your salary, bonuses, or other non-standard aspects of your benefits package to anyone other than perhaps your spouse. When confronted with the question of my current salary from recruiters, I cite the reason of contractual obligation for being unable to disclose my salary. On the other side of the coin of course, you don't want either your time or theirs to be wasted on a position you would never consider due to reasons of salary. To that end, I generally provide a 10k target range as a desired salary in the first line portions of the interview. This has almost always been met as my being a loyal employee and an honorable person who meets my obligations, but is still willing to find ways to compromise. This has several benefits; My current salary is not used as a means to build up how great the position is and then low ball me down the road (and yes, some companies teach their recruiters that very technique), and the amount of the offer if and when it is made is often indicative of how interested the company is in taking care of it's employees. With a 10k range to work in, perspective employers who take care of their employees often make an offer in the mid to upper portions of the range...of course sometimes they make that offer expecting you to be happy with that amount for the next 3-5 years, but that usually comes out during the interview process. Either way, the higher offer means they consider you a serious candidate and are at least willing to make an initial investment. I generally look for a good balance. If they are towards the lower end of the 10k range, but have excellent benefits then, as long as I am not coming in at the top end of the pay scale for the position with no potential for advancement, I would still consider it a good offer. Regardless, the 10k range I offer them generally includes my current salary within it somewhere, though where I place it depends on the job opportunity and how up front the recruiter is willing to be about it as well as how much I have improved my marketability since my last raise or job change. Having known a number of recruiters for several organizations on a close personal level and being privy to a lot of the 'insider' info, if a recruiter refuses to accept a range in answer due to legal obligations, then they are trying to maximize their commission and low ball you if they can. Even if they aren't, I am not willing to work for a company that would force me to sacrifice my morals in order to gain employment nor would I expect good treatment from any such company since if they want me despite my breaking cited legal obligations, then obviously I am just a number that is easily replaced when I break down or wear out. Don't get me wrong, business is business and I hold no illusions that I am irreplacable or the most valuable commodity in a company's eyes, but I like to think that there are still company's out there that do value their employees for their skills AND their morals and that they would be willing to go the extra mile to both find and keep such individuals. So far, I have been lucky enough to be proven right. Just my 1/2 cents worth... Merddyn

ctsmain
ctsmain

usually I get a starting off point fromt he recruiters I speak with from them and negotiate my way to the salary that I require. I live over an hours drive away from most of the positions I am contacted about so i use that distance as a means of getting more money per hour for the positions I am being asked about. of course that arguement looses power when it's a positon in my local town and I have to find something else as a bargaining point usually it's my current salary since until now I have always managed to advance my salary going to a new job. The main trick is that if they are a local company anything $18.00 an hour for help desk or technical support is a good pay rate and knowing that I use that as my starting off point some offer a little less and some want you to work for peanuts. With the extreemely low pay positons sometimes bartering for higher pay does rule you out and it's those positions you have to decide based on the company it's for if it's worth you taking the lower pay for a while till you get your foot in the door or not. Sometimes it is but in most cases you aren't going to get any more pay once you go permanent than you did starting out as a temp. Something I have learned is that you should not be affraid to ask for a bump in pay even if it's a few cents an hour when going permanaent. at my last position I used the past contracted positions as an example to barter for more pay since I was going permanent. I told my new manager "you know every temp position I have ever worked I always got a bump in pay when i went permanent even if it was just a slight bit there was still more offered when I was offered the permanent position." that's all i had to say and was offered almost a dollar an hour more because of it. My position at that point was this, hey i know i am worth more than what you are offering, now what are you going to do to at least meet me somewhere in the middle on this so that i stay dedicated to your company as much as I want to stay dedicated to it. granted I may have been able to barter for more if I had my certifications at that point but being that all i had was 16 years hands on experience at that point I didn't feel too justified in pushing for more. Even after getting my certifications and being a victim of lay offs and cutbacks I am learning that all the experience in the world and good feedback from loyal managers does not speak as high as a degree that says you know what you are doing. Never mind the fact that half the people that are turned out of those degree programs have never seen the inside of a computer. But as long as I can't beat them at that game with all my practical and hands on experience I have decided to join them in the game now but I am trying to get the schools I am speaking with to convert my experience into class credits to advance me in the program. no sense spending all that time on the different jobs and not getting at least some kind of credit for doing the job all this time. There is also no need to start me in a class that is too much of a beginner class or i'd get bored and maybe not persue it any further. I got into computers because they are ever changing and challenging and I need that to succeed in whatever I do. back to the point of this don't be affraid to negotiate, just keep in mind if the pay you are bartering for is too high the recruiter may not keep you in consideration for the position because they may think you are too good for the position or what you are asking is too unreasonable for what they are willing and able to pay you for the job. Thier job is to get the position filled for the least amount of money possible, this keeps thier proffits up even though it makes no difference for the employer.

puru.a.patil
puru.a.patil

Yes I agree with the situation - similar kind of stuff happened to me. Basically I am into signal processing and embedded programming stuff. I was working as an intern in one famous company in San Diego. I got a call from the recruiter once they learned that they can not continue with the current internship in current team. So, then they called me for full-time position and I had my interview with 5 different people. Everybody was pretty much impressed with my knowledge and experience. I was kind of confused that why would HR ask me about my salary range expectations even before start of interview and I reconfirmed with her that - will that be a deal breaker? - I also requested her that do tell me that if You have any specific expectations - but she did not tell me even after 2 weeks. When I asked about the decision she replied me that I am not a right fit for the position. I was amazed. In fact the response was right after first quarter results of the company - but then I re-think the things happen to me and realize that the range specified me was not acceptable by them. It was shocking to me - sometimes I feel regret on the things that why I served so much to this company - I could have served other company and gotten better options. ~puru

geniusthemaster
geniusthemaster

i read somewhere isnt it like, illegal to ask that??? dont u need a search warrant or some kind of info warrant?? back then it was just a freindly gesture today its.. u meet our salary or we have the right not hire or fire you?? bs! you make additions to the way that salary is made.. not just go hide in a corner and fire people who get within a 50' radius!

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Find your own assignments, better choices no arm twisting to take some junk they need to clear from their books, and better yet one less parasite trying to tap into your salary.

Paul_Hardin
Paul_Hardin

I have typically given my salary + DIRECT benefits, because that better represents what I am really worth/making. For example, if I'm making $50K and receive a health benefit, transportation benefit, etc. worht $10K, I tell them that I make $60K. That way, I don't get made an offer that I know will be too low for me to accept.

GDoC
GDoC

I went independent, even though I can't figure out where my next paycheck is coming from for these exact reasons. The placement firms were charging at a +25 to 100% rate, and the actual companies were unaware of it. Now having said that, the placement firms do fill a gap between what is claimed vs. what is necessary, but even at that, I find them less than TOTALLY HONEST about either, to the placement or the client. I still maintain my contacts with them, but as of date I've not gotten a single placement through a agency that was not supported by a co-worker or a recommendation by a present/former manager.

hmmmmm!
hmmmmm!

Be sure the advise most are giving applies to contract of prem jobs, as they are not the same animal. One issue most company's have is when Contract applies to Perm and expects same dollars, will NOT happen, There is a surplus of job hunters now, whine or growl, that is the reality and it is going ot get worse before it gets better. To many in IT seem to think "I am IT and invaluable". Lesson one, NO ONE is invaluable, all can be replaced. Second with some of the more juvenile posts most can see why the posters are running into issues. Lastly most recruiters KNOW what a company will pay, they expect the candidates KNOW reality of wages, lay offs, etc. Time most broaden their educations a wee bit about jobs.Lots of sites out there on wages, benefits etc, be informed and able to negotiate, not demand and whine. You will find better jobs with better firms, with better salary and conditions. Sounds like to many see to think "all low ball me" etc and I "hate, will never use them, etc, etc, Suspect your issues may have more to do with a recruiter not wanting to use you then you think. For the adults, look at what some say and bluster and ask, "would I want that attitude in my shop?" So take a lot of the posts with that in mind as its seems many need to grow up a bit, times are getting harder and it seems a lot of techies have not read the news much.Reality world is setting into this nation that has been badly spoiled, and some it seems, do not want to deal with it.. and it shows

dapurwin
dapurwin

Hate to break it to the recruiters, but they are the very people that, in many instances, create resentful, surly job hoppers. I quickly went from a green, innocent, and enthusiastic contractor eager to make an honest career in IT the old fashioned way to a jaded and disillusioned professional . This transformation occurred instantaneously when I happened to come across the bill rate for my position as the document was accidentally left on the network printer shared by half the IT department. It is hard to put into words the feelings and emotions that rushed upon me when I found that I was getting paid a meager 55% of the bill rate. This is plain highway robbery. To put things into perspective, I was an hourly employee at the time with no benefits. My contracting company's sole job was to simply cut me a check every week. They provided no value added services whatsoever. I can understand the company taking 5%-10% of the bill rate for their overhead, but 45%?? Recruiters are savages. Shortly after, I left the job and more than DOUBLED my salary. Well, I tell myself that knowledge costs money, and I learned my lesson right then and there. I can only imagine an honest system where a recruiter would disclose the bill rate and the percentage they needed to take for overhead. This is a situation where everyone is happy. I know they are out there, but too far and few between. It must be so satisfying for these type of recruiters that make a living off the hard work, talent, and skill of others.

mykmlr
mykmlr

Everyone believes in Capitalism....right up to the second they have to pay. Then it's all about "saving money". If you don't need the service, save ALL your money and don't employ anyone. If you DO need it, be prepared to pay as much as the highest bidder for that talent already is paying. But with datamining, employee credit checks, lifestyle test results from your grocery card, your mortgage company, your credit card issuers, they know EXACTLY what the last guy low-balled your pay down to. Never forget, they have the tools, you have whatever bones they throw on the floor for you. That's why they call it "capital"ism.

hmmmmm!
hmmmmm!

First let's establish there are two types of recruiters, contract and perm jobs. Of that two more ethical and all others. I worked as a perm recruiter, ALWAYS list the salary RANGE and use only ethical firms, and if an issue will check salary ranges for self. A lot goes into the range, education, experience and even locations costs of living, AKA do not ask for CA wages in KY! NO company wants it's employees to find they are being paid less for same job as someone was paid more at same job in DC and now sits beside them. Candidates should check realistic wages, top and bottom, and benefits, Nothing worse then little of not benefits contract type going at perm job WITH benefits and expecting same wages. Then the issue of wages, want to not get hired, refuse to tell what you were being paid.. IF it was "low balled" then do some research as to what was reasonable, and explain why such is not acceptable AKA "I was dumb". If no range is posted for job, then DOE is often there, then bring in some "DOE numbers" to back up you claims. But a kiss of death for job is to refuse to state what you were making, as that leads to a lot of questions into entire resume, and a arrogance most firms will not tolerate. Remember that now days jobs are getting scarce, honest recruiters are paid by the client and and fees are fixed.. they will not haggle for "low ball wages" when it is only %5K or so to lose a good candidate, as it is not a big deal for their fees, their job is to make a match that gets hired and their client uses them again. Lots of mid to higher ups now going to get a reality check as they often had 10-15 years with one firm, built up yearly wage upgrades and all to often got stagnant in real educations and updates of self-field. The real world is all to many, at any level are not to thrilled to hear they are replaceable and not invaluable as latter is sign of badly run firm to rely on one person as "must have or we cannot make it". So when you get to the "I am worth more then that" you best be prepared to show the reason why, and if yuo want to play "I will not tell you what I made"... fine with most, and remember old saying about buses, miss this one another will be along.. that is reality. If no range given you better KNOW what the range is, what you real value is, how many will compete, and how you will come across to other side of the table, were you there..and would you hire someone with your responses? Note there is a whole new world of work, wages the gravy days of last 10-15 years are over, for everyone.

seanferd
seanferd

Once or twice I could have been smarter in similar situations.

seanferd
seanferd

A lot to think about in there, and well-told.

santeewelding
santeewelding

You could describe bait, and the construction of the boat, and I would read.

geniusthemaster
geniusthemaster

easy for those to say who aren't experiencing unemployment.. or never had a near death experience because they cant get unemployment.

hmmmmm!
hmmmmm!

Next time you combine the bennies and wages as what you were paid, best ID them as such, not a good idea to lie on such things, as that is what you are doing. Get fired for that one and you might have something haunt your career..and often companies find out that was done, NOT THING wrong with stating as W and B, but to state it was wages, which it is not, is a lie.. and it will catch up to you..Had a bud that did that, years back to get into company, he was there 11 years and somehow about the time he was up for about Dir level, that lie turned up. He was fired and career took serious hits. You can say "not a big deal" but most firms do not brush off, as lie there, where else and about what? Just not a good idea to post all as wages. Even worse when going on www job sites and posting "desired salary range". Real rule is most firms will go about 5-10% max above last job, and they pretty much know the real pay ranges and benefits. And that includes Contract shops, of which there ar few bad ones, so ask about on whom is good and whom is bad. Most perm job recruiters are bound up by what the company wants, no more and no less. The candidate might be able to get "sign on" or other extras but salary is usually set for each job. The candidates are the ones that should ask the right questions, as recruiters, are not rewarded for law ball and such, kind of urban myth started by whiners. Honesty does pay off, and labor like any other commodity in a company is just that.

hmmmmm!
hmmmmm!

There ONLY recruiters for perm jobs anyone should deal with are thoes paid BY THE COMPANY. Never use recruiters that charge YOU a fee to get placed as they do not have the company's they send you to, best interests as core issue. They are simply after your money, quite often you will find a terrible mismatch, but they got paid so do not care if where they sent you even bothers with them again. Only use company paid recruiters, they only survive by sending in match of jobs, long term hires, and do not want to be known as "send anyone they can find". There are of course a lot of "Franchise recruiters" where just like McDonald s, someone bought a franchise and they pay fees for support, ads, and often resume base collected by min wage workers, encoded and centralized. They make money off volumn and quite often deal with companies that operate same way, low ball employees and try ot make volume make up for less then skilled and decently paid workers. Pretty much same applies to "Resume prep firms" they take your money and put out a generic thing that is at best a starting point. Sadly all to often when resumes hit a company the first "screen" is by the lower end employees, and a lot of "word match" goes on, hiring managers only see resumes after they get by HR. Note going around HR or recruiters if you find hiring manager is not great idea, HR does not like and if Recruiter had your resume and sent it to company, they will still get fee. Not a great idea to "I will save the fee by going around them" as in truth it upsets folks you do not want upset. Lots to look at out there when job hunting, first thing is know your worth, your skills and the fact that as economy shuts down, more and more will compete, for now a employee market, not a great idea to enter into any job search with anything negative, even the old "will not relocate" is dumb, as you just eliminated what might be the "Dream job at the perfect company". And wages, well get used to telling what you made, as if you will not, you just shut off most jobs, that is basic stuff, and at that point most will not put up with that hassle, they all know what you are worth, so get used to it.. Seen a lot of well qualified end up not getting jobs as what they think they know of the systems is not what they should know. This economic mess is going to wake up a lot of folks as to reality, how it all ends up in anyone's guess, but times and jobs are changing, more real work and less social organizations, as the USA has got to get competitive, educate better, trim overhead as that has been a serious issue. I expect we will become "lean", but I hope we do not end "mean".

tavishudson
tavishudson

Thanks "hmmmmm!" This is perfect. You hit the nail on the head. I'm a tech Headhunter and have worked with software and IT professionals since 1995. There are some great talented tech professionals out there, but unfortunately the world has handed them opportunity (although tough at times) on a silver platter. The abundance of opportunities and high pay at some point clouds the mind, "I am IT and invaluable." Again not to everyone, but many. On Recruiters - There are a lot of BAD recruiters out there that make it hard for the rest of us. The industry loses respect; this creates a lack of trust and inability to share info. It really stops us from doing our jobs. No recruiter worth value should ask about salary up front, but they shouldn't get off the phone without a salary range that the candidate is comfortable with. It's the nature of the business to share this data. You'll have to do it at some point. If you don't trust the recruiter then don't work with them. I look at it this way. Working with a recruiter is like working with a doctor. You need to let him/her in on who you are, trust, to really get the best service. This issue is connecting with the right one. Ask questions, get to know them; how long have they been in the business?, what type of searches do they focus on?, who have they worked with?, Who are some of their candidates? Also, look them up on LinkedIn - they should all have a profile. What are people saying about them?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

When negotiating we should n't make demands, and when as we didn't we find ourselves in a less than palatable situation, we shouldn't whine about it, because this is what we asked for? Is this excellent technique just for techies, or do you manager types use it as well? The only real way to discover your value is to find that point where your demands go from not acceptable to sign here. Do it the other way round and you'll be signing before you find out...... As far as do I want that attitude in my shop, then the answer should be yes. Why would you want to employ someone with no backbone? Well I can think of one reason why you might, but it's not very flattering is it? Bunch of straw men, opinionated drivel, and vastly obvious self interest. Why did you even post? I'm a tech because I like it and I'm good at it, not because I'm too thick to be a manager. Sheesh

a.southern
a.southern

There's a company in Manchester, who I'll refer to cryptically as "Aldus". I was contracting in a German conglomrate (the sort that would buy up a large 3d Cad company) and was well known towards the end of the contract as being one of the fastest design engineers in the office. One day a co-worker sitting behind me leaned over and said "Now I know why you were so inspired to work so hard...." I thought it was a joke, but he'd accidentally found all our invoice rates from this company call Hu-Sorry "Aldus". I was the highest paid contractor on site according to the figures. We sat down around the water cooler five minutes later and I defended my position by showing the invoice I sent to "Aldus". They were litterally paying me the smallest wage in the place. I handed in my resignation there and then. "Aldus" called me up and asked what the f$$$ I was playing at, and how they could have got several other candidates to fill the position if I wasn't interested. I told them the company had let it slip that I was the highest paid on site and I knew I wasn't, and told them to up the wage I was getting or I was going to work for another company. They thought I was bluffing until I told them where they could shove the last weeks wages they thought I couldn't live without. I then told them exactly how much they were billing, and that in a years time I'd return to this company and invoice them directly in a win-win situation. They lost as much money as I lost for the week I didn't get paid (or did I????). I'd recommend you all steer clear of "Aldus" in Manchester, and Birmingham. Next time I have a three way conference call I'll tell the company in no uncertain terms what I'm expecting from the salary, not leave it to the recruiters. -AS

gpellett
gpellett

I appreciate that you ALWAYS state a salary range up front. Most do not, at least in my neck of the woods. But DOE (Depends On Experience) is just another name for fishing. As in, see if I can hook a really good candidate who is dumb enough to work cheap (does not do his salary homework) so I can make an excellent profit, and/or impress my client about how much so-called value I bring, and/or support their decision to try to get too much for too little. If your client is able to specify job skills, then it and you are able to narrow down the going salary range for those skills. I have talked to several friends who interviewed for the same DOE job. They had a wide range of skills and experience, but they were all offered the same low rate. Where the contracting company really makes money is in the difference between what the client pays and what the worker actually gets. Evidenced by other posts, we workers are catching on. About blasting folks with 10 to 15 years experience for expecting too much, yours is the bad attitude I am railing against. Sure, nobody should consider himself irreplaceable but then you play the bad economy, so take what you are offered card. Employers feel that they need to cut costs, but why does that justify cutting worker salaries while managers still get big bonuses? Because they control the money, so that makes them King? Here is a reality check for you guys: your work does not get done and your product does not go out of the door without your workers. Workers are only productive up to the point where they feel abused. You might get away with mistreating them for a little while, but eventually they get fed up and walk out the door along with all of their proprietary experience and efficiencies. Then you must spend time and money to replace them and to retrain another recruit, while your production suffers. Good managers understand those costs, and give raises and incentives to keep experience in house. Your whole new world of work will not fly very long. I have heard that theory before, and it was always followed by the company shutting down or going through painful reorganization.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

well may be not the near death experience, we did something about it though.....

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

"Right now my total compensation is $60K." True statement. If the recruiter only writes down 60K and doesn't specify, it's an easy explanation.

hmmmmm!
hmmmmm!

Care to discuss MS and their 5K layoff and they are keeping the lower wage HIA's and asking for more. Besides when massive lay offs aas going on now happens.. more looking for work, supply and demand dictates wages, as like it or not, labor is a commodity.. When the unions were effective they protected it, but now most do not have a clue about what unions did or can do.. so the worker is at mercy of what the company will pay.. as they can always find someone to fill the job within the wages they offer. IT employees should look back to about the 1980's many of us "Old guys" remember. Then massive shifts to off shore started up.. and employees told "not to worry everyone will be trained in hi tech and IT etc, and most will not even have to go to office to work" The real result was USA jobs shipped out, mostly labeled as "Dirty ole MFG jobs", even when some required education and work standards that would stun most "clean office workers" types. So they left, and are leaving at astounding levels, and any that return are going to low wages southern states, and union busting is wide open, to shut down that thorn in business side for once and for all. If IT types would just read a bit of business history they would see same thing going on now about IT and such jobs. The better the communications, the better your chances of being outsourced or HIA replacement, and often the firm gets a tax break for doing it. Read a bit of history and as old saying goes, "best not ask for whom the outsource offshore bell tolls, as well it just might be a lot of IT workers in USA. and Wall St loves it..

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

make me more valuable. You need to damn good to clear up after those guys, at a reasonable cost. It's not usually intellectually rewarding, it pays well though. There are always numpties about, more numpties = more demand = more pay. It's not my fault businesses keep making that particular mistake. So the answer is , don't be a numpty.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]WE have a economy bordering on or perhaps in a "Great Depression", so time for a reality check, as if any job in USA can be easily outsourced offshore it is IT.[/i] Somebody still needs to be on site to do the manual labor. If you think otherwise, good luck with that 10,000-mile-long screwdriver.

hmmmmm!
hmmmmm!

Most all looking for work miss the real point, they are worth exactly what a company will pay, nor more, as employment, while it may damage some ego's is totally market driven. What most must understand in the changing new mess, companies are cutting back, and NO firm is going to hire in someone making more then those in same job, as that sets up a ticking bomb. To many out there seem to think they are worth much more then offered, some refused to state wages or cop an attitude about such things. They simply are not going ot get hired by reputable firms, for no other reason then their attitude, no matter how good, that attitude is disruptive and often opens up questions about what else are they silent about. Just the lies on education and duties in resumes is terrible, and now they won't discuss wages. Same with range, no one is gooing to hire someone in at 25-50% more them they were making before in same job, unless some really odd things happened. NO ONE should EVER pay a fee to be hired, contract or perm. Note on contract when you think the shop is getting to much, alos compute the SS, unemployment and all the other stuff taken out, plus overhead to run the paper. NOT saying all shops or recruiters are 100% honest, there are a lot of franchise type outfits out there the just collect resumes, shotgun them to employers, via word match against job openings, and beware of that as they just might send yours to your current employer which might not be great career enhancer. Boils down to if employee is so great for the job, worth so much more then offers and will not 150% say why, and prove it, then they are either very overqualified and should not be hired for job, or are going to be a constant disruptive thorn in company flows from day one and not be hired. THE JOB HUNTER is responsible for preparation on job hunt, from company to wages to real self evaluation, and must remember they are not invaluable. to test that theory suggest they go down to local pond with bucket, bail out 5 gals of water and note the whole they left in lake.. WE have a economy bordering on or perhaps in a "Great Depression", so time for a reality check, as if any job in USA can be easily outsourced offshore it is IT... and as good or better help can be had for a lot less then USA wages, and lots of code cutter felt that sting. . and of course congress gave tax breask for such. Sadly were it not such a rip off to workers, nearly amusing when your read of laid off workers "Being retrained in computers".. Many are going to find the old days of "I am great pay me accordingly" gone! As they really were not!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

wally, and you start talking some sense. Go figure. :p "Send us some money and we will help you get a job" , yeah right. Never seen one that was at best, a total lack of value for money. Seen a heck of a lot, that were just scams, pure and simple. Going straight to the 'man' can work, but it's a lot of work and if you are just a common resource, it isn't going to help you a lot. That's aside from those HR types, guarding their turf and binning you on general principles. As far as value goes in a slowed down IT economy, good people become more valuable, not less. I can out perform 2/3 basic developers, for half the cost. I went through the .dot com bust and massive IT slow down, on top salary. They just got rid of the other less effective people. Didn't do them any good of course, but they were over paid anyway.

GDoC
GDoC

The responsibility of a Manager is to help focus the resources under his or her management. This is a separate skill set from that of a technical worker, or a group of them. If, however, you are capable of doing it for yourself, then the manager possition becomes a non-sequitor. IT technicians/engineers can survire without Managers, but managers can not survive without IT technicians/engineers, at least on a day to day basis, but without the justification for thier budgets, the IT folks would not survive even a day..... Thank goodness we have Managers that at least understand there is a need and at best, can recognize that IT can become a monitary generation vs. a cost of buisiness.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Wake your dad up and ask him. I was pretty sure you were sadly lacking on the knowledge front, your last sentence confirmed it beyond all doubt. You couldn't direct me to a pub full of naked women when I wanted another drink.

hmmmmm!
hmmmmm!

Glad you are sticking to gardening as a tool to enter into adult discussions, but as you grow up you will find the real world is more then gardening..

hmmmmm!
hmmmmm!

Gald to see you came around, " Still I shall bow to your adult experience, or may be not....." but appears you still have issues on how to reason, as "I shall bow" or "maybe not".. classic example of why you need a manager to direct your efforts.. What most seem to miss is the best tech folks are quite often not the best to manage. MS releases are a classic example of where some very good tech types should not have been managers.

santeewelding
santeewelding

The original feel I had for your post is borne out by your two responses. Wind blows, and your leaves turn, exposing their underside. Nick and Tony are two with whom I take great care as to leaves of uniform appearance; outside, underside, or inside.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Personally I think that's a pretty sound strategy. I've been in near continuous employment since 1981, so as far as I can see, it's a proven one as well. Still I shall bow to your adult experience, or may be not.....

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

He provides me the resources I need to do my job, guidance on what the job is, and feedback on how well or poorly I'm performing. After that he gets out of my way and allows me to do what I do best. If you have to babysit your subordinates, perhaps you should be checking your hiring criteria...or your attitude toward your subordinates. Given the tone of your posts, I suspect the problem is more the latter than the former. And given your grammar and spelling, my original comment stands: I think you're too thick to be a tech.

hmmmmm!
hmmmmm!

Well hope they furnish warm milk and cookies as employee benefit at your shop, and a nap tiem. Some of the post are Icons of why they are having salary, and no doubt work place issues. But at one time most of us thought we knew more then "management", but finally realized that our parents in fact were right, others just continued attitude into work place. But for many, you guys do post amusing, if rather childish stuff.. So just wanted to let you know, the adults have all "been there and done that"..and most grew out it.. Last post to the kids, have business to attend to, as that is what "those ole thick managers do, even if it means a bit of baby sitting at times!

hmmmmm!
hmmmmm!

Your whine Bunch of straw men, opinionated drivel, and vastly obvious self interest. Why did you even post? I'm a tech because I like it and I'm good at it, not because I'm too thick to be a manager. Sheesh Only comment is, as you grow up you will adjust..but for now, amusing post,

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

he could be a brilliant tech, who got side stepped into management on the foolish assumption he'd be good at that too. Plenty of them about as well.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

He's a manager because he's too thick to be a tech.

ITAuditGuy
ITAuditGuy

Just late this morning, I was asked by a Recruiter to state what I am making. I politely decline to tell her, stating that it is consider confidential information for my current place of employment and that I am still an employee and have to oblige by the rule. Then I ask her about the offering, she then proceed to tell me the budget for the position. I then told her, ?I see that we can work with that.? (It was a bit low, but the job is really interest me.) We than proceed to discuss some job details. I told her that I need to find out more about the company, especially the job requirements and what is expected of me. She then proceed to tell me the name of the hiring company?they usually do not tell you this. Later that afternoon, she got back to me and told me that the hiring company wishes to schedule me in for an interview next week and proceed to give me date and time for me to choose. Honesty, sensible, and understanding works for me in this case. Now, all of this depends on what you have on your plate, and what the hiring company needs/requires/wants. If the company does not want what you have, can you blame them for not paying for it. Can you accept what they have to offer? If the job makes me more valuable, then hell, I am going to take it. I would take what I can learn, and give the company something in return until the company start to take me for granted, then I would move on. (Not unlike why I am leaving my current job. It a game of give aand take, and I play fair. Win-Win.) What is more important to you, a few bucks?which an ex-wife will gladly take it off your hand?or skills that no one can take away from you. I do not beg for job, I research, I know the ballpark pay for skill sets, and I know my worth. I saved enough that I can go at least three years without pay, because I do not own or need anything fancy. It shows in my personality that I have what it take to do my job and do not beg for job in my work or in during my interview. The company can find replacements, and so can I. It looks like I rambling, but I have so much write and so little time to write it. Sorry. Off I go. Good luck all.