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Recruiter Asks for Salary Number

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Data Engineer at Taro Community4 months ago

I had an initial call with a recruiter for an opportunity. She followed up with a call specifically asking for my salary expectations.

She initially provided a range in an earlier call, and when she asked me to narrow down, I did, to the 50th - 75th percentile of that range.

I'm upset that I did, as I believe best practice is never to share a number, even when they tell you they can't move forward without one. E.g. see here.

Can people confirm that the right move is not to share the number, even when the recruiter asks you specifically, repeatedly?



  • 4
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    Team Lead (people manager) at Mistplay
    4 months ago

    Yes I can confirm its best to not share a number. The very most important thing is to not share the first number, but to get the highest offer it doesn't help you to name anything before they give an offer. When they give a range you are implicitly saying you are comfortable with it by continuing to interview with them so I don't see a big problem in saying "I'm comfortable with that range".

    Generally the advice I've heard and is to deflect or delay. So when they ask you for a number during initial calls deflect it by saying "Money is important to me, but what's really most important is collaborating with awesome teammates building a product I believe in (or learning or helping the world or whatever you want)". And then you turn them asking about money into a chance for you to show them why you deserve the top of their pay band.

    Keep in mind they have these conversations 1000+ times and you have it a handful of times, so when they give you an offer you also want to prepared to say thanks + I need to talk with my family, partner, dog or neighbor. Anything to calmly say thanks and then get off the phone. You want to be able to strategize about how to get more even if it is a bigger than expected offer or a big salary increase already. Once they give you an offer you have the power and then you can start naming things.

  • 3
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    4 months ago

    In general, it's true that you never want to give a number. However, there's a bit of nuance to this: You never want to give a number that sets your ceiling.

    So you want to avoid saying things like "I would take an offer that's X" as this means the company is just going to offer you X and get mad when you don't auto-accept it. At the very least, replace "would" with "could".

    However, setting a range or establishing a minimum is fine and good for both parties. So there's nothing wrong with saying something like, "X is on the lower end of a feasible compensation range for me", followed up by the material Ryan mentioned about how money isn't the primary issue for you, it's about finding a good fit where you can add value.

    If I'm a recruiter and I know that the max pay I can offer is $175k but the candidate's minimum is $200k, going through the interview process is a huge waste of time for everyone.