When to Talk Money

by Joe Lavelle on April 25, 2011

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With a large number of professionals indicating that they plan to look for a new job this year and companies sharing that they will be hiring more college graduates than they have in four years, there are going to be salary discussions occurring in interview rooms across the country.  If you aren’t asked for the salary at your current position and your desired salary range on the initial job application, those questions certainly will be brought up when you are facing your potential employer.  So, when is the right time in the conversation to start talking money?

A recent article on Fortune Magazine‘s website offers several tips for handling pay negotiations professionally and in a way that will get you the desired result.  Among their recommendations are to hold off on salary discussions until you have a clear understanding of the job and repeatedly emphasize the value that you would bring to the company without mentioning a demand for numbers.

Another piece of advice included in the article was one about which I would love to know your thoughts.  Bill Humbert. who runs the recruiting firm Humbert Group, believes that job applicants should not send salary requirements and should not directly answer the pay history question on an application.  He believes that providing this information reduces your negotiation power and that you should just write you are willing to share those details at the appropriate time.

In the Comments section of the article, some have responded that they would not consider an application that did not supply all of the requested information because that person would be seen as uncooperative.  Also, with an economy in which the jobless claims are still painfully high, there will be plenty of applicants who are willing to share any details a potential boss might want.

What do you think?  How specific should job seekers be in listing their salary history and demands?  Is it OK to withhold some of that information until a later point in the hiring process?

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