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I've posted this elsewhere (forgot here or reddit). I'm gainfully employed. A former colleague who is now in a hiring position at a new company reached out to me. Said they have several openings and are having a hard time hiring good people. It would be a much longer commute, working/rewriting some older tech to be cloud ready (I did that at my current and previous employer). We started talking about salary. I told him what I made. He told me...he could match that.

I thought to myself...that's not how it works. I'm sure I could have negotiated higher. But I wonder if he thinks I inflated my salary and those said match.

Keeping in mind my current company has some of the best benefits I've seen outside of Silcone Valley...

> I told him what I made.

Never make that mistake. Never ever disclose your salary information to someone that you potentially could work for.

I think a situation where we were required by law to disclose, or a company where such a thing was common (GitLab) would be exceptions. But otherwise, I've found it to be a huge mistake to disclose your exact salary or numbers to anyone.

> Never make that mistake. Never ever disclose your salary information to someone that you potentially could work for.

In general I agree, except he did say the person was his friend. My close friends and I all know what each other makes. It helps a lot when negotiating for a new job, because I now have additional data to know that what I'm asking for is not crazy.

One of these friends I have worked for in the past and could work for again, but he readily admits he can't afford me right now.

EDIT, I read colleague as most likely a friend now. Perhaps not, but my above point still stands about friends.

It's worth disclosing it to rule out pointless conversations early on if you have strong reasons to believe you're on the higher end of the salary distribution. I wouldn't say it precludes you from asking for more if you can articulate a value proposition that makes you an even better fit for the next opportunity.

Agree: What I do now is pointing out I'm not considering it at all for anything less than my current salary + a good raise.

With that I might or might not consider it.

I've made a simplified version for recruiters here: http://erik.itland.no/step-by-step-instructions-choose-your-...

If anyone likes it they should feel free to adapt and customize it for so it can work for even the most annoying recruiters :-)

Given what I've been reading in this thread, it seems like if some employers are going to think that you're going to lie, there's no point in sharing your salary. And the salary that should only matter is the one you'd accept to change companies.


Because it creates an information asymmetry. They now know what you (are willing to) work for, but you don't know what they're willing to pay, or what everyone else in the company makes.

It does not benefit you to disclose the information, even if you think your number is high. They might assume you are lying, or they might already be anchored at an even higher number - you don't know.

I kind of wonder about these things, but I'm not in sales.

I've heard two stories about car dealers that each say different things.

One story was about a car dealer that told its salesmen the actual wholesale price of the cars they were selling. The salesmen would deal from that price upwards and would always sell the cars close to that price. They changed to only telling them the retail price of the car and then sales from that point on were much higher as the selling prices clustered nearer to retail.

But the other story was from a friend who used to work at a car dealer. The top sales guy would move an enormous number of cars. He would sell them for $250 over invoice. My friend said he was amazing, and it was common for other salesmen to spend hours haggling with a customer on one car, and meanwhile the top guy would move 4 or 5 cars.

Trouble is you can't sell yourself 4-5x as often as a total job length without that starting to reflect poorly on you. You don't get paid per job. Maybe a valuable lesson for contractors, though: there's value in simplicity if it leads to volume.

It’s not a clear cut never do. If you know you’re expecting the higher end of a salary range then it’s absolutely in your interest to signal that from the outset. Telling them your current salary is doing just that.

But otherwise I agree. The company always has such a strong hand that it’s in your best interest to play every one of your cards as strategically, carefully as possible.

Can't you just tell them not to bother with the interview any further and refrain from wasting everyone's time if they're not prepared to offer what you've asked for?

However, not discussing compensation with your peers ONLY benefits the companies you work for. It encourages anti-competative behavior.

Because they use for the basis of their offer. Most people don’t really know what the market is paying for the skills and experience, so they are already operating blindly. A 15-20% increase over current salary sounds like a lot, particularly if the potential employee is unaware that the market supports 50% (or more) above their current salary.

This practice favors the employer so much that it is illegal in California (and a few other states) to ask for salary history.

>>This practice favors the employer so much that it is illegal in California (and a few other states) to ask for salary history.

That's interesting....when submitting resumes for US Federal government (GS) jobs, their resume guidelines include salary, hours worked, and points of contact for each position. I wonder how positions advertised in the State of California can be reconciled with what you've shared?

I would imagine the federal government has enough transparency and process regarding pay scales to make this moot.

Lemme clarify: your application FOR a Federal position is expected to include your PREVIOUS salaries, regardless of whether they were public or private sector. So if you are a California resident and you submit an application for a Federal position in California, but you don't disclose your previous salaries, I wonder if they consider your application incomplete? If that was used as justification for rejecting your application, would you have grounds to dispute that rejection legally?

That’s easy: California has no jurisdiction over the Feds. The Federal Government isn’t a private employer subject to California labor laws and regulations.

First off, you'll almost never get an indication of why your resume was rejected. Secondly, as someone already commented, federal positions don't have tho play by state rules.

They do sometimes even ask for pay stubs to prove salaries claimed

I'm saying, the reason the restriction is present on private employers is so they don't make a low offer to someone who had been paid less before.

My understanding of federal employment is that the pay scales are published and public record, and job postings state which scale it's on. This level of disclosure seems to minimize the possible harm here, as there's far less room for negotiation for anyone.

I believe that by applying for a federal job, you are agreeing to federal jurisdiction.

State laws don’t apply to the federal government.

Check out this great overview on salary negotiation:


Because it has no bearing on how much you are worth to them and is only used by the new employer to gauge how little they think they can offer you. There is no benefit in disclosing it.

I’ll happily tell someone my current salary but I’ll never accept a new salary that I’m not happy with. I also try to accept 10-20% below market. You can get away with a lot when they think you’re the schmuck who didn’t know what he was worth.

What are you “getting away with” that makes a 20% discount off market rates acceptable?

I think I’ve said too much already.

> He told me...he could match that.

I think he was just honest.

In those cases, I'd answer with "Ok but I need X% more because of the commute and the hassle of changing jobs".

And that X% needs to be post tax

Make sure you don’t end up in the same hierarchy as your friend

I woulda been reporting to him :)

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