Is It Normal For a Recruiter To Ask About Salary When I Am Not Looking for a Job? |

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EP 1301 The search firm is on the phone pushing me about my current compensation and I am not looking for a job. Is this normal?

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"Is it normal to get a call from a recruiter for questions about current and previous salaries while I'm explaining that I am not looking for a move?"

The answer is, "Yes." However, let me dissect what is going on. They are trying to fill a position; they are sourcing for job. They are trying to find someone with a particular background. Here's what they've got. They have a job description or yellowing from the client about what they are looking for., Including prices that they're willing to pay for this talent.

You are saying, "I'm not interested," but, they are doing 1 of 2 things. There going to try to convince you, because your salary is much lower in there going to try to persuade you with money OR if you are interrupting them and saying, "I'm not interested," there trying to build a database of that they have an idea of what price point you are at for the future. In this way, they can recontact you when they have something that makes sense.

The 1st scenario is the more likely one. That's when they are trying to find out whether they can talk with you about salary, can the persuade you with money, even though you are not interested.

For example, you're making $100,000 per year, $125,000 per year... Whatever it is and they say to you, "This is a position that will pay between $110,000 and $125,000," on the 1st scenario. Or you are at $125,000 and they will say, "this is a position that can get you to $140,000 per year, maybe $150,000 a year PLUS BONUS!!!" Is just so much money in there . They're just trying to break down your defenses.

Yes, it is normal, because most recruiters, at least in the contingency business, not in executive search, what they are trying to do most of the time is break you down in 2 ways. Number 1 is money. Number 2 is opportunity. "I have a career opportunity where my client is looking for a rockstar to work for them and do magical things." I'm being goofy there, but that's what most of the sales pitches come down to.

So, yes, it is normal. Yes, it is very much part of the repertoire of recruiters. No, you don't need to comply. I am going to repeat that. No, you don't need to comply. BUT, the person who gets ahead isn't always the smartest or work the hardest (although those a great qualities to have). People get ahead by being alert to opportunities and not falling for company pablum that wears them down and get them stuck in the job that they say they are happy at until one day someone calls out to them and says, "Hey, Charlie, come here. Meet us in the conference room." And in the fire you. When the economy goes south.

You are the chairman of the board of your organization. In my case, it would be The Altman Organization. Thus, I am responsible for me and you have to think about the chairman of your organization, as well. If you are a compliant, meek little nice person working for a company, you are going to lose out and eventually, your employer is going to spit you out.

Don't believe me? Look at what happened to millions of people just in the United States between 2008 and 2010. Look out for yourself. Don't just pause and go, "hey, I am in a good job. This is a good job. I like my good job." Maybe there is a better one. Listen. Be smart. If you listen and then decide,. "This is not for me," maybe the commute is to longer the money isn't right, I can't do it right now. We've got this trip that we are planning, whatever the reason is don't do it.

But, be smart and listen. Then make the decision.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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