What NOT to Say When a Recruiter Calls You

From time to time, you might get approached by a recruiter who has an interesting opportunity for you. 

They email or phone you out of the blue and you’re so flattered (rightly so!) that you completely give into their requests, but don't forget... 

Getting a good job and negotiating the salary you want is like playing a game of poker. 

Don’t show your opponent your cards until you have to. 

Sometimes a recruiter might ask if you’re interested in the position and what you’re currently making in your job. They play like they are on your side, but do not be fooled — they are NOT on your side. 

They are on the side of the employer who has hired them and is paying their fees. 

You DO NOT have to tell a recruiter your current salary or your salary requirements to be considered for a position. Especially if they’ve just called you out of the blue. 

Stand in your power. Hold your cards close to your vest until you are absolutely forced to show them or fold. And even then, trust your gut. Your salary is private and you don’t have to share it if you don’t want to. 

Here is what you might consider saying instead:

“I’m so flattered you’ve contacted me and I’m very interested in the position, however I’d rather discuss salary requirements further down the line. Might I ask you some questions about the position?”

“I’d like some time to think about the position before we start a discussion on salary. Does xyz company have a range in mind? Can you tell me more about the job?”

Don’t let a recruiter bully you into giving out information that feels private or makes you feel vulnerable. You have a choice as to how you answer, so take a deep breath, pause and speak from your empowered place. They’ve called YOU. Don’t forget that. 

For more on this topic read, “Answering the Sticky Question 'What Did Your Last Job Pay?'” by Liz Ryan, CEO and Founder of Human Workplace.

What do you do when it comes to disclosing your current salary or expected salary range?

Photo credit to Flickr Creative Commons user Garry Knight