What to Do When a Marketing Recruiter Asks for Your Salary History

budgeting for marketing staffing solutions

There’s recently been a lot of misinformation circulating that recommends to professionals that they withhold their current and past compensation when being considered for a new job. This is, frankly, shortsighted advice that could hamstring your marketing career advancement, especially if you’re a senior marketer.

In reality, keeping your salary history secret from prospective employers and executive marketing recruiters has few practical benefits but plenty of drawbacks. It’s understandable that you might be hesitant to share such personal information. However, being upfront, confident and honest with your compensation is the best policy to open as many career doors as possible and put yourself in a position for salary growth.

Save Yourself Time

Being upfront with your current and past compensation saves you time, plain and simple.

There’s no benefit to you to invest yourself into a lengthy recruitment and interview process only to find out halfway through that you’re far over (or under) the range budgeted by the employer.

Imagine a situation where you’ve been approached by marketing executive recruiter over a role that sounds interesting. You have a few conversations with the recruiter, then some conversations with stakeholders at the employer. If you’re playing your cards right, you’ll do extensive research and interview prep before committing a large portion of a day to the interview itself. You may even make considerable travel arrangements for it. All the time, effort, and emotion you invested disappears in the blink of an eye when you discover that your most recent salary isn’t even within the ballpark of what the client was looking to pay.

That’s what it’s really all about; the ballpark range. You want to verify as early on as possible that you’re at least close to what the employer has in mind. As long as you are within spitting distance of that range one way or the other, then you at least have the potential to negotiate your way to a compensation package your feel is appropriate for your value.

Keeping Up with the Competition

marketing executive recruiter competition

If the job you’re interested in is a highly desirable one, then rest assured that you’re not the only person in consideration for this position. Competition for the best marketing executive jobs is high, and you need every advantage you can get.

You could be overlooked early in the hiring process simply because other candidates were more forthcoming and easy to work with than you–even if you had comparable qualifications. The hard reality is that key business decision makers are extremely busy, and have learned to take the path of least resistance whenever possible so they can focus their efforts on more pressing challenges. Don’t expect a hiring manager to bother going back and forth with a secretive professional if there’s an alternative who’s willing to be communicative and cooperative.

Getting Paid What You’re Worth

If you haven’t been on the job market for a few years, you might be quite surprised at the going rate for top marketing talent. Demand for experienced leaders, especially those with a proven track record in emerging digital disciplines, is extremely high–and salaries are rising to match.

You could very well be getting compensated less than your fair market value and not even realize it. But you’ll never know unless you’re willing to engage in a conversation.

The Importance of Negotiation Skills in Your Marketing Career

The only time withholding your past salary helps you is if you’re a bad negotiator who is unable to work out terms that are fair for the value you bring the business. If you’re confident in your capabilities and can prove your positive impact on ROI, then your previous compensation shouldn’t serve as a hindrance to getting paid what you are worth.

If you think your current value is more than is reflected in your salary history, that’s great! If you can prove your value (as any good modern marketing leader should be able to) and explain why you were historically willing to work for less, then you should be able to make a strong case for the price range you think is fair. The trick is to be a good negotiator and to play your cards right.

Watch it: How to Negotiate Your Salary as a Senior Marketer

One Last Thing: Don’t Lie to Your Executive Marketing Recruiters

Keeping your salary history a secret is an inconvenience to everyone involved, but at least there’s nothing inherently immoral or career-killing about it. However, under no circumstances should you mislead a potential employer or the marketing executive recruiters you’re working with.

Resist any temptation to inflate your past salary in an attempt to put yourself in a better position for future remuneration. It could put you out of the price range for the role, and remove you consideration. But more importantly, it could ruin your new job and your career if the employer finds out they were lied to.

More and more companies are including salary confirmations in their background check and will find out if you tried to deceive them just to bump up your salary a few percent. Don’t start a relationship off based on dishonesty—you’d expect the same from a future employer.

1 thought on “What to Do When a Marketing Recruiter Asks for Your Salary History”

  1. Great video. One question, how do you handle this when your salary exceeds the typical range? I am finding even with my base salary I exceed the range. And when I disclose you my bonus and LTIP, my compensation is more in the range of an entry level VP than a Director or Sr. Director. Also, when asked for total compensation I am no longer considered by corporate recruiters and external recruiters. Help!!

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