I have some mixed feelings about pissing off a recruiter today with a pretty good company. I received a LinkedIn inquiry today about interest in a position with another firm. I’m not actively out looking to make a move, especially if it entails relocating – heck, I just put in this pool! But on the other hand, I would be remiss to not at least listen to what’s on the table, especially from a company I respect (hereinafter referred to as XXXXX since there’s no need to mention them specifically). On one hand, I like where I’m at and I’m content in staying, but on the other, the layoffs are looming everywhere and contractors are doing my job elsewhere in the organization (reminding me that we’re all replaceable), so I’m not so naive to believe I’ll never be targeted for separation.
My initial reply after a few rounds of email courting…
“Without more info on sal/bonus I can’t commit to discuss further; I’d be looking at the “director or equivalent” level for a move and this sounds like more of a lateral; I’d have to have a feel for compensation to commit to further discussions; I hope you’ll understand, I get inquires rather frequently and I only want to spend additional time on this if initial criteria check out.”
“Sorry and I say this with all due respect, but you wouldn’t be considered for Director level ops at xxxxx. For this opportunity, with your amount of experience and the MBA I could see us potentially considering you for the Principal level (one of the highest technical levels at xxxxxxxxx) is generally people with +15 years of industry experience. I always hate to have the detailed comp discussions especially with someone that I’ve never spoken on the phone with. Since this dialogue has really been compensation driven, which I never really like to start off a relationship with, this probably isn’t the best for both of us. Just to close the loop with you though, comp: base $xxxxxxxK & bonus generally around 20-25%.
My Takeaways and Lessons Learned
- No Salary For You! Apparently, recruiters and HR professionals don’t like discussing salary up front, as if you need an NDA to even get to the point. I’ve found this time and time again and today’s exchange was the most direct I’ve been with anyone and, well, the result is I pissed them off and probably burnt a bridge if I tried to reach out in the future for an opportunity. Why do they hate providing comp info up front? I dunno, I guess someone like me could go forward on the semi-confidential info, post it online, or whatever. Or perhaps, like what happened to me, it would be viewed as immediately too low and wouldn’t get me on the phone.
- Hey, You Contacted Me! On one hand, I can see the reluctance to share information like that up front, but at the same time, I was the one being solicited, right? So, aren’t I within my right to inquire a bit further before committing my personal time (and perhaps drawing the ire of my company for replying)?
- Like You Wouldn’t Ask…As coy and polished as my counterpart would like to present themselves, let’s be frank. Were the table turned, they probably get job inquiries now and then too…don’t they also want to know about compensation before spending time replying to somewhat frequent inquiries? Who has time for it? I only want to spend my (and their) time on something that might make sense!
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Well, if I were looking, I wouldn’t just wait around letting recruiters come to me; I’d seek out the highest paying jobs and get market intel on what similar roles that I’m in are paying elsewhere. How? Well, I’m already signed up with a free account from The Ladders, which is the best. I get 6-Figure Job info only (weeding out the zillions of random job postings that aren’t a good match) and they deliver info by region, by job title, etc. the way I like to see it. But I never act on the info at the moment. I just digest. It’s good to know where you stand either way, as I had outlined in this article on the benefits of informational interviews.
Anyway, interested in your thoughts on how you’ve dealt with recruiters, if you’re a recruiter yourself and if you can enlighten me on what the hangup is with talkin’ salary?!?