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Ask a recruiter: My current salary

Our ‘Ask a Recruiter’ series is well underway now, but if you’ve missed a previous week (like our one about finding applicable vacancies for experienced candidates), make sure to head over to our Recruitment Room section within the Media Hub. 

Each Wednesday, one of our recruitment specialists answers a question that comes up in conversation with their candidates; this week’s being about your salary.

An Audit Senior based in Guildford asks: ‘Why do you need my current salary?’

I think a lot of people wrongly assume that, if you tell us your current salary and you’re underpaid, we won’t try as hard to get you the salary you deserve: the market rate figure. The important thing to remember when talking salary with a recruiter is that our fee is based on the figure you are offered. Therefore, the higher your salary, the bigger our fee. Telling us your current salary does several things for us, it gives us an idea of your level – as structures can change from firm to firm, it gives us an idea of whether your current firm is under/overpaying you and it helps us guide you with what salary to aim for going forward.

We don’t hear this figure and then immediately limit you to a certain threshold. Our job is to manage expectations and keep you realistic. We don’t always have to share that figure with our clients, we are experienced enough to know when it would and wouldn’t help your case to share the number and in circumstances where we do have to share, we coach our clients not to get too hung up on it. I understand that sometimes there is a fear that you won’t get the job if the prospective employer thinks you’re taking too much of a pay cut, or that you’re not at the right level if you’re not currently on a Manager’s salary, but let us do our job. I had a candidate who was on about £12k and he got a £9000 increase. I didn’t share his current salary with the firm but it gave me perspective on the impact that job had on him financially, as well as the other aspects that made it the perfect role for him. I’ve also had candidates that tell me they know that they’re paid well and then they disclose the figure and they’re not at all! Don’t be coy next time a recruiter asks, be confident and ask how it compares to market rates, we’re there to help.

Tune in for our next instalment of ‘Ask a recruiter’. If you want to get in touch about a question you’d like to ask us, contact our team.

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