I’m having a dilemma and I need some advice. I’m looking for a new job and I want to work with a recruiter because they have good market information but I don’t know how much I should tell them. What information outside of my work history do I need to give to a recruiter? I have been asked questions like ‘what is your current salary’ and ‘How many subordinates do you have’. Should I disclose this to a recruiter?
Open but closed
That is a tough question. Let’s tackle the recruiter first.
It is best to be open and honest when speaking with a recruiter, whom you trust, so they have all of the information they need to best represent you. That includes the companies you have worked with and the period of time you were at each, past titles and responsibilities, and any accomplishments you can cite. Giving accurate information to a recruiter ensures that the client gets accurate information as well.
But please note the phrasing above, whom you trust. Use a recruiter you have gotten to know and can trust. If you are not sure why a question is being asked, then ask the recruiter. They are usually thinking of a specific position and the questions are directly related to the experience needed for a role.
One potential trap that should be left to your recruiter to manage, if at all possible, is salary negotiation. This is to ensure that you and your prospective new employer start off your working relationship on the right foot. You don’t want your first impression of your new boss to be that of someone who is stingy or stubborn, or him/her to think you are overly aggressive or inflexible. Your new boss doesn’t want to fight you about money and wants you to be happy when you start. It’s important that they get the salary right from the beginning.
Be sure to confirm your salary and any other benefits, your notice period, and whether you need to finish any projects before leaving your current position. These may seem like inconsequential matters when first considering a job change, however giving incorrect information, that you then later need to correct, can be damning to you. Even a honest mistake in giving inaccurate salary information can be viewed suspiciously or critically by a prospective employer.
In one instance, a candidate was nearing the end of the interview process and was expecting an offer. When asked about current salary and his expectation he gave an approximate figure for his current salary and what he wanted. He couldn’t remember his exact salary and the figure turned out to be a few thousand dollars below his current remuneration. When the offer letter was issued at the exact “approximate” number he asked for (surprise, surprise!), he checked his salary details, realized it would mean a pay cut, and declined the offer. This left no room for his recruiter to try to negotiate with the prospective employer because they had heard directly from the candidate what he wanted.
It is best to start a new position on a positive note and this all begins by being prepared, with accurate information, for your first interview with a recruiter or prospective employer.