I found a job as developer, which I really like for the atmosphere/life and working condition which are quite good given the industry. I'm currently only dissatisfied with my salary, which slightly below junior compensation, and while I'm not particularly short of money, a better salary would be good. A few other things are a little annoying (the stack and the technical debt namely) but they don't matter to me a lot.

A headhunter sent me a potential job opportunity on my LinkedIn profile. The opportunity doesn't look very attractive - the industry field does not look very appealing to me - and I was given very few details.

Given that I like my current job and my colleagues, one of the few reason I would consider it is if it represented a substantial increase in my salary and that a few criteria are met such as benefits.

I guess directly saying "what would be the hourly compensation" wouldn't be a great idea, but I don't want to bother with an interview only to ask at the end this - furthermore according to some sources you shouldn't even be mentioning it at all.

Of course the salary isn't the only criteria but it is still a requirement for me - then benefits, working conditions and stack and atmosphere

  • I think it would help to confirm what country you are based in.
    – Time4Tea
    Oct 2, 2019 at 14:50
  • @Time4Tea I'm in France Oct 2, 2019 at 14:51
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    I have deleted my answer, in light of the edit to the question and because I don't have experience of the job market in France. However, in the US, it is absolutely the norm to discuss salary expectations up-front - I have often done this during an initial 30-minute phone interview.
    – Time4Tea
    Oct 2, 2019 at 15:12
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    I get headhunters all the time on LinkedIn. Honestly, most of the time, they're contracting jobs. I would ask the headhunter what type of job it is (contracting, full-time, etc.) and the salary. If it's a contracting position, ask them how much of the salary is yours and not the contracting company's. For instance, if they offer you something really high like 50 euros an hour, sure that may be really high but how much of that will actually be yours?
    – user82352
    Oct 2, 2019 at 15:27
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    Be careful. Many, many people get stuck in jobs they hate but can't leave because their salary is good and they are financially commited at that level and know they will struggle to match it in the open market. Having a job you enjoy, with people you get on with is a big thing to give up, just for a higher salary. Oct 2, 2019 at 15:50

2 Answers 2


You could be honest, there is nothing wrong with asking how much you will be paid, though maybe an headhunter doesn't even know this kind of information, but you could try with something like this:

"Thank you for contacting me, I appreciate the offer. I would like to know more about it. What is the annual salary? The technologies I will use? etc..."

You already have a job, so you have nothing to lose being more direct and say explicitly what you want


I'm in Belgium myself, working for the past 19 years. I was an employee and turned to contractor 2 years ago. It is true that in our regions talking money isn't as natural as in the US for example, but to be honest I don't care. Money is an important part in the reasons I consider or not a job. If it wasn't for the money I would certainly not do what I do at all. Therefore, I never hesitate to ask about the compensation. That said I try each time to ask more about the position if it doesn't seem complete or simply acknowledge that it seems in line with my skills, then I go on the compensation matter.

I never had any bad experience asking about compensation upfront, or simply mentioning my expectations (usually a range) and asking whether the compensation was in line with it. Although people don't usually discuss money too much, I guess most people, especially when recruiting, know and understand money isn't "just a detail". And those who don't understand that, well, I wouldn't want to work for them.

Having said that, and as much as I understand your point of "money being tight any better-paying job will do", I would also advise not to take a job ONLY for the money. It applies also to not refusing a job only because of the money. It is for sure an important part, but being in the early stage of your career you may need to "invest" in it. My first job switch was from a bank to a web agency. (a lot) Less holidays, more pressure, similar if not slightly lower salary. It did seem like a stupid move to my family or even friends, but with the years this probably became my best career move overall. I learned so much, I built a better network and working for this agency even opened me some doors as their name is/was quite famous. Being in a job you hate only for the money is a good way to make you miserable, so please think about that TOGETHER with the compensation and other criteria...

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    Just adding to this: Money is by far the easiest thing about a job to change in the future. Other issues (culture, coworkers, bosses, industry, stack etc.) are virtually impossible to change by yourself. So given the choice between a job you love that doesn't pay as well, and a job you won't enjoy nearly as much that pays more, I recommend sticking with the former and working on getting a raise (which can involve getting competing job offers elsewhere as evidence that you're underpaid).
    – Kaz
    Oct 2, 2019 at 15:50
  • @Kaz > This is a complex decision and everyone is different but I agree with your remark. However, the best raises I got were always upon switching jobs, with one notable exception at a VERY fair-play (as I call it) employer.
    – Laurent S.
    Oct 2, 2019 at 15:57
  • I may have just pulled off something similar at my current employer ^^ Took me 3 years, but absolutely worth it for where I now am.
    – Kaz
    Oct 2, 2019 at 16:00

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