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I am working with an executive recruiter on a number of positions. We have discussed my current salary and compensation so that is out there. I just came back from an interview with a CFO and it went well. In speaking with the executive recruiter I ranked the opportunity (1 to 10) and compared to my current situation ranking.

Then I was sent for a spin. They asked what is the bare minimum BASE salary that I would leave my current position for. And secondly what is the amount that I want. So in essence giving a range to the exec recruiter whom has been hired by the company. No offer has been made and none will be made by the Company for 2 weeks.

I get suspicious about showing my hand. My gut reaction is to not state figures as it is indicating my push point.

jhack's picture

Tell the recruiter what your range is. You should know the range for this position, as you've been doing research (right?).

Don't sweat it. This is not unusual. They want to know. This is not a negotiation, and you can rarely "win" by gaming it.

John

Darcy's picture

I know what the range is for the position as the exec recruiter has shared this with me.

If I say that my minimum is what I am making now $X, as this is a good opportunity for responsibilities and fit, but I would like $X + $20k. Does this not give the exec recruiter when they are working with their client - the Company ammunition in that they can say Darcy has said that he will leave his current job for $X.

Darcy

tcomeau's picture

[quote="Darcy"]... They asked what is the bare minimum BASE salary that I would leave my current position for. ...

I get suspicious about showing my hand. My gut reaction is to not state figures as it is indicating my push point.[/quote]

I think the first thing you should do is figure out the answer to the question.

I've thought about it, and I know pretty precisely what it would take to get me to leave my current position. It's not all dollars, but there is certainly a number where I'd take a job just for the money. (There are also a few jobs for which I'd take a pay cut because the work would be so interesting.)

Once you have that number in mind, I don't see a reason to not disclose it. If you want to couch it in "well, salary is not the main consideration here - as I said at the end of the interview, I want an offer because x and y and z." and then give them the number, that's fine.

You're not negotiating, because you don't have an offer. (All together now -- "Until you have an offer, you've got nothing!") In the Interview Series Mark says pretty specifically that if asked, you give them a number. It can be a range, but it should be a small range. You'd have to check that 'cast for the details - I recall they had suggestions for research to help set the number.

It could be they don't have a number in mind, it could be that the recruiter and the hiring manager have different ideas about what the compensation should be. It could be a test: Have you thought enough about compensation issues to be qualified to manage for that company/industry. You don't have enough information to guess which.

So I urge you to pick a number. Don't try to guess how much money they have available, just tell them how much money it would take to get you to think seriously about that offer you hope you're going to get. And remember: Right now you got nothing.

tc>

HMac's picture

I agree with the others - these are not bad answers to know! (What's the minimum you'd leave for, and what would you like to get).

I think the "fairer" of the two questions is actually the one about the minimum (because what you'd "like" is almost beside the point, and it might set an unfair expectation on your part).

As long as you get an offer of at least the minimum that you'd accept to move, you're good. You then have an offer to consider.

-Hugh

rwwh's picture

[quote="HMac"]I agree with the others - these are not bad answers to know! (What's the minimum you'd leave for, and what would you like to get).
[/quote]
There are other things more important than salary that are going to determine the answer to this question.

Am I the only one thinking that the question is way too general? Is it my non-nativeness in the English language? I once refused an offer that was double my current salary. I can imagine other jobs/employers for which I would happily accept an offer doubing my income.

jhack's picture

Rob,

I think that's what Tom C was saying above. And I couldn't agree with both of you more. It's the combination of opportunity and compensation (and location, and...).

For a specific opportunity, though, you should have a number / range in mind.

John

HMac's picture

Thanks Rob -

I realize I was ASSUMING that all the other factors in the decision are acceptable, since Darcy made no mention otherwise. So I figured this question was really focused on that PART of the decision regarding compensation.

Also - just in the name of clarification, I don't see anything about any compensation other than salary - Darcy: is whatever your base is likely going to be pretty much total annual compensation, or are there other factors?

tcomeau's picture

[quote="rwwh"]
There are other things more important than salary that are going to determine the answer to this question.

Am I the only one thinking that the question is way too general? [/quote]

Hmm. I can't tell if we agree or disagree! :D

I agree that the question is specific to each individual job. There is a number for which I'd do just about any job for a year, but it's a very large number. On the other hand, I'd pay (literally) to be an astronaut if there was a reasonable chance of getting one of the 70 remaining seats on the Shuttle.

Darcy is trying to find a particular number for a particular job, so all of the other questions are either already answered, or will have to wait until there is an offer. Any time you're looking at a job, part of your "homework" should be figuring out the total compensation you want for taking on that work. M&M argue you should disclose that number, and I agree.

So it's a specific, not a general, question in this case.

tc>

Darcy's picture

Thank you for all the comments, this is why I LOVE MT.
The frustration that is being felt is that the exec recruiter does not want to hear from me about "total compensation". They said tell me what base salary it would take to pull you aware from your current job.

At present I get a bonus of 15% of base salary, plus 6% pension contribution. The exec does not want to hear about it, so that is where the frustration is. Rest assured I have done my homework, I think, and I know what their range is for base salary. As for the additional (bonus, options, pension, etc.) I can not get information.

The opportunity is good career wise, but a drop of 21% if I did not take a base salary increase (and additional was not present) is not attractive.

==> I have nothing now as I have no offer, so all I can do is answer the question, explain that it is the "total" offer that is important and if and when an offer comes, say Thank You", and then decide if I will accept or decline.

Darcy

HMac's picture

Darcy - thanks for the clarifying comments.

An executive recruiter who desn't want to hear about total compensation?

Doesn't sound like a very good recruiter...

I like how you've netted it out in your last post.

If the new company is serious about attracting you (or anyone, for that matter..), then it's in their interest to make their offer in terms of total compensation. If what they're saying here is that there's nothing to be had other than base salary, then obviously they need to gear a base salary offer in terms of your current total...

And if this isn't attractive enough a job or company to have you consider a 21% cut in pay, then you won't have to take long when considering their offer :) !

Good luck.

-Hugh