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Should I be open with a potential employer about my salary?? Yes, you should!

I've read a few posts recently about what you should and shouldn't say and information that you shouldn't divulge when you're interviewing a potential employer or with a recruitment firm.

What surprises me most is that there seems to be a number of HR or recruitment professionals advising candidates not to be upfront about their salary or where they are in other interview processes. I find this extremely bad advice.

1) Not divulging your current salary

So the argument put forward is that you shouldn't divulge your salary because it doesn't matter. The company has a budget that they will pay for the role and this should be in line with your experience, so it doesn't matter what your current salary is. Whilst I agree with this point, if a company asks you your salary and you respond by saying the above, it looks like you have something to hide. A far better way to deal with this type of question is to be open and transparent. You could respond along the lines of "My current salary is SG$XXXXX, but I'm looking out as I'm aware that I'm being paid significantly under the market rate for my position. My key focus is to find a role where I can add value within a great business and also get my salary in line with market norms".

My current salary is SG$XXXXX, but I'm looking out as I'm aware that I'm being paid significantly under the market rate for my position

The point is that employers would prefer staff who are open and transparent. Don't refuse to give information, but if you feel it's under the market rate (obviously make sure you've done your research first) then give them the information and make them aware you know what you're worth. If they offer you a salary that is still markedly under then this isn't the type of company that you'd want to work for anyway. You want to work for a company that values you and your experience. A good recruitment firm would be able to help you with this process and offer advice or even negotiate this for you.

2) Not informing them where else you're interviewing

The argument made in this case is that it has no bearing on the position you are interviewing for at this company, so there is no upside in telling them, only potential downside. Again, this runs contrary to my experience. If you are interested in a position with a company and have other interviews going on with other companies, then be open and transparent. Remember, any one of these companies could be your next employer and you want to start the relationship on the right foot. So if your preferred company asks you what else you are considering you could respond along the lines of:

"I have two other similar positions that I've interviewed at and seem to be progressing positively. Whilst they are similar roles, I feel I've had a great connection with you and your team and feel I could bring a lot of value to the position that we're discussing and am hoping to reach a positive outcome".

If you like the role, but the other position has a bit more scope, again let them know the reasons why you may be leaning the other way at this point, particularly if you expect an offer from the other company. Simply, these are negotiation points, and, articulated in the right way may mean a company can increase the scope of a role to make it more attractive. If you don't have these discussions, then it's a missed opportunity.

In both of these scenarios above a good recruitment company can help you navigate this to achieve the best possible outcome for your next career step. 

My advice is to be open, honest and transparent, don't make up figures, don't make up other opportunities and don't string your potential employer along. If they use information you give them to try and manipulate a low offer for you then it's not the type of employer, you want to work for anyway and you're better off walking away. 

Be Open, Honest and Transparent

Ambition is a leading global boutique recruitment consultancy. We specialise in recruiting positions in the areas of Digital, Sales and Marketing, Technology, Finance and Accounting, Banking and Financial Services and Supply Chain and Procurement. If you are looking for work in these areas, or need to hire great talent for your teams, please get in touch and we can advise how well placed we are to help.     

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