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I've been at my current job for about 4 years and am extremely underpaid. I've stuck around for hopes of advancement, but unfortunately there haven't been any open positions to ever advance to.

I'm currently making about $20-$30k less than current industry standard for where I live. I've been in touch with a recruiter (they work for the new employer), and they pushed for current salary info, which I ended up giving them.

Now I'm worried I've made a huge mistake by telling them. I have an interview coming up this week, but so far it seems like they are very interested in me.

Will it be appropriate to ask for the range I want/deserve even though it's a 45ish percent increase than I'm making now? Will they think it's ridiculous and not offer the job, or will they just offer what they want?

I recently was offered a similar position with a different company in the salary range I'm wanting, but declined it due to the whole package of the job. Is that worth bringing up when we talk expected salary? Thank you!

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    Never reveal your current salary. They don't need to know it. – Herb Wolfe Oct 14 '17 at 19:08
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    Possible duplicate of How can I determine a reasonable salary to ask for? – gnat Oct 14 '17 at 19:15
  • @HerbWolfe, I agree but that is easier said than done. Candidates are often pressured to disclose not just their "current salary" but their "salary history". Younger candidates are especially vulnerable to such pressure. Giving up salary info can be a prelude to a lowball offer or it could merely be a checkbox that the HR-drone wants to check. – teego1967 Oct 15 '17 at 13:54
  • @HerbWolfe I do not know where OP is from but in India every employer (even the US based companies) makes it a point to not only ask for current salary but also submit salary slips from previous organisation. There is no way around it. – PagMax Oct 15 '17 at 13:54
  • @HerbWolfe I tried as hard as possible not to reveal current salary, and got as far as a few interviews and needing a thorough background check / employment verification before getting an offer. The documents they asked me for, (W2's, pay slip from current employer, or the offer of employment for current employment etc) any thing that would have verified the dates i was working for an organization also had pay info on it. Not sure if that department forwarded that info to the hiring manager, as I got a more-generous-than-necessary offer, but I was really annoyed that you can't get around it. – schizoid04 Oct 15 '17 at 15:54
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Yes. It is totally reasonable. Your prior salary is not especially relevant in salary negotiations. They will be assuming that you're probably interviewing at multiple other places as well (do not tell them if this is not the case) and should realize that they'll have to make an offer competitive with your other options. When asked, give them a reasonable salary expectation that is in line with your skills, experience, and industry norms. If asked why you're leaving your current place, mention the salary issue, and include something besides salary that they have that your old place doesn't (just saying you want a raise doesn't look good).

Interview at other places too. Going forward, don't disclose your current salary, just tell them your salary expectations. Some places won't want to continue discussions with you if you don't tell them. You wouldn't want to work at those places anyways.

  • Thanks Glen! I'm concerned because when I told the recruiter my salary, they made a comment that it would be good to ask for 10-15k more - but that is still below the standard of where I'm hoping to be. I don't want the employer to be shocked when I give the salary range I'm hoping for and get turned off. Since the recruiter actually works for the employer, not just a third party, I didn't want to discuss salary too much at that point since I haven't even interviewed yet. Maybe I should have though. – needadvice12 Oct 14 '17 at 15:07
  • When they ask your current salary, that's the appropriate time to say something like, "I'm expecting $___". – Glen Pierce Oct 14 '17 at 15:09
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    It's often good to say "I am hoping to make at least X dollars but I'd like to hear anything that could increase the amount". That way it doesn't mean the longer you chat the cheaper you will work for. If they balk at fair wages you can be sure cutting corners is the norm, that and begging for needed improvements or equipment. What you earn is private and proprietary info of your employer. Info such as this can be used to compete against where you work or be offered to a different candidate. Know what they pay first. They shouldn't be short of money, and you not short of skills or interest. – Rob Oct 14 '17 at 18:31
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Will it be appropriate to ask for the range I want/deserve even though it's a 45ish percent increase than I'm making now? Will they think it's ridiculous and not offer the job, or will they just offer what they want?

You should ask for what you think you are worth.

But be prepared to answer why you stayed in a job for 4 years for which you felt underpaid. "Because I was expecting an advancement and raise" is a reasonable start of an answer that you want to flesh out a bit.

The fact that "there haven't been any open positions to ever advance to" might mean you were aiming too high, or looking in the wrong locales, or something else. Think that over and come to your own conclusion. Try not to say "I looked for 4 years and couldn't find a good job" as that might be a red flag to a potential employer.

I recently was offered a similar position with a different company in the salary range I'm wanting, but declined it due to the whole package of the job. Is that worth bringing up when we talk expected salary?

You could attempt to bring it up, but I suspect most hiring managers wouldn't care much about potential offers you got that you didn't accept. They would likely feel that their "whole package" was better.

Offers that you may have been able to get but turned down don't really compare with offers that you would actually like to accept. It's comparing apples to oranges.

Stick with what you feel you are worth and the value you can bring to the company. Avoid discussing jobs that you didn't accept as evidence of what you feel you are worth.

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