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I am a software developer in a senior role and my company pays a good salary, but there still room for improvement. Recently I started more seriously to respond to recruiters on Linkedin. My problem is that I have a lot of recruiters being saying they are interested in my profile, but most of them either want to hire me for a lower position than I currently hold, or are offering me less money without any other real incentive to switch companies.

How can I effectively filter out companies that don't that are below my current salary expectations?

So I have been thinking about the following approaches:

  • Tell them my expected salary upfront. While I think this would work to filter out cheaper offers early on, it would also put me in a bad position for negotiations later on.
  • Just directly ask about what they are intending to pay. While I like the straight forward approach, I don't think companies would give away their upper limit of the budgeted salary. Also it might appear that I am only interested in money and therefore not the right fit
  • Another way would be to assume that any company that doesn't directly advertise their high salary or is a known player just won't pay me enough. This is the easiest approach, but I might lose out on a lot of opportunities because I don't know the company.
  • I also could be looking for job roles that are more senior to my current level, assuming that more responsibility is more pay in any company. But this could easily be wrong in both directions.

Of course, salary isn't the only criteria for me, but it appears to be the easiest way to filter out a lot jobs early on, as most companies seem to be offering less then my current employee and salary is a very easy number to compare (opposed to "fun work environment" or "growth opportunities").

How can I effectively filter out job, that I know I wouldn't take anyways, without closing the door to serious offers.

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  • @Mars most unsolicited emails I've been getting have an automated look to them. My guess is adding your salary expectations on your profile page would hurt more than help. The recruiters manually reading your profile are the ones you're most interested in.
    – Chad
    Feb 12 '20 at 21:27
  • @Chad Not exactly. The recruiters manually reading your profile are the better recruiters, but even if they're better, OP still isn't interested if they don't meet a certain salary. But you're right, you're probably only removing good recruiters who don't meet your expectations
    – Mars
    Feb 13 '20 at 1:53
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+50

2 options:


1) State your minimum salary upfront.

This is my standard message to recruiters:

Hi [Recruiter],

I'm always open to considering new opportunities. My minimum compensation to consider taking a new position these days is £xxx,xxx. If that's compatible with your job spec, then please send it over and we can arrange a time to discuss further.


2) If you decide that stating a minimum salary will compromise your negotiating position, then you could instead go with:

Hi [Recruiter],

Thank you for reaching out. Could you please send me the job spec and the salary/compensation range for this position. If it looks interesting then we can arrange a time to discuss further.


And then if they push back just stick to your position: You won't progress until they give you the information you need to decide if it's worth pursuing further.

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Tell them my expected salary upfront.

Do almost exactly that, but instead state your minimum salary. If you are not interested in accepting offers below that amount then that's the right way to go. And when some recruiter contacts you, one of the first things to confirm (within the first 5 minutes of conversation) is that they are aware of your minimum salary and that it's not really negotiable down. I've done that before, cuts away a lot of time wasters, and saves my own time when only down the line we find out to be on entirely different magnitudes of salary expectations. Ones that just cannot work.

This sum shouldn't be your dream salary either, you can and should negotiate up from that point. The minimum salary is just a sum under which you are not accepting offers and merely a filter for you, and the employers so everyone can make better decisions before committing any serious time.

Also it might appear that I am only interested in money and therefore not the right fit

Not at all!

People work for money. They have bills, expenses, and lifestyles to sustain, and companies that you want to work to understand it. While passion, environment and all that is great, in the end, if the job doesn't pay enough to keep you happy, you won't stay there long. I don't have scientific studies to back it up, not to any worthwhile credibility at least, but that has been my experience from the last 20 years in the IT industry.

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    @KillianDS Your other offers at a much higher salary. If the minimum is the best you can negotiate for, then that's what you are worth, more or less. Whether you state minimum or not, makes no difference in that. Feb 7 '20 at 20:48
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    +1 unless its contract work, in which case stating a minimum is what you'll be getting, absent large travel etc expenses. (for contracts, state a range)
    – Justin
    Feb 8 '20 at 17:53
  • I agree with everything that the answerer here says, except that even good companies care about whether you're in it for the money or not. I hear it all of the time from other hiring managers. It's always "we don't want them to be here just for the money".
    – Malisbad
    Feb 10 '20 at 8:34
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    @Malisbad > The "just" is important here. Of course companies don't want people to be there only for the money. But they certainly can understand that this is an important topic. I hardly meet anybody nowadays that would do exactly the same job for free if they could afford it.
    – Laurent S.
    Feb 10 '20 at 15:59
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How can I effectively filter out companies that don't that are below my current salary expectations?

As mentioned in the other answers, by being straightforward about your requirements, including the remuneration.

So I have been thinking about the following approaches:

- Tell them my expected salary upfront. While I think this would work to filter out cheaper offers early on, it would also put me in a bad position for negotiations later on.

Alternatively, ask for their standard payout for that particular role. That way, you don't need to give out a number first.

-Just directly ask about what they are intending to pay. While I like the straight forward approach, I don't think companies would give away their upper limit of the budgeted salary. Also it might appear that I am only interested in money and therefore not the right fit

No company / recruiter will start the discussion with the upper limit for the pay, they'll always start with the lower limit. It can only only go up then, based on the negotiation. There is no denying that after all, the pay is one of the key aspects for accepting a job and if an applicant is not satisfied with the payscale, there's really not much point in taking the discussion forward.

-Another way would be to assume that any company that doesn't directly advertise their high salary or is a known player just won't pay me enough. This is the easiest approach, but I might lose out on a lot of opportunities because I don't know the company.

I don't see how this helps.

I also could be looking for job roles that are more senior to my current level, assuming that more responsibility is more pay in any company. But this could easily be wrong in both directions.

Yes, as you correctly thought, the roles and responsibilities are not very standard, and most of the times, they do not directly indicate a link to pay scale. This varies widely depending on the organization - so it's not a reliable way either.

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Coming late to the party...however I would stress it out an interview is just a business negotiation.

I once gave attention (and time) to virtually anyone that wanted to talk with me in linked.in, and was already stressed out. I got fed up of having regularly interviews that frequently led nowhere, and disrupted my day. I decided my time is valuable, and that I prefer to prioritize my work/family time over random people who wants to "talk" with me.

If the interviewer does not do his leg of work, sending a job description upfront, only wants "to talk", or worse to "evaluate my career goals", or asks for me emailing my CV point blank when I have it on my linked.in profile, no dice. Depending on the investment on time, the firm (I have a "blacklist" over the years), and the tune of the message, an answer might no be even worth my time. Some of those messages are automated, anyway.

Otherwise, depending on the context, being a senior and being employed:

I ask for the position requirements/advert and salary range (up to them to answer or not), for having a common ground for a conversation. If I see:

  • I am not a technical fit;
  • they do not know what they want;
  • they try to fit in too many responsibilities/technologies;
  • there is a hint of help desk rotation or picking up work for other technologies which I really do not want to work with (and I already pick up too many);
  • it is a fishing expedition for cheaper resources;
  • they are being inflexible, unreasonable, bossy or rude;

I tell them straight ahead I am not interested, and that is the end of the negotiation.

Otherwise, the next step might be either telling them it is not worth pursuing the matter if pay is less than x or having a screening call.

The approach has been working pretty well for filtering out jobs for which I am not the right candidate, unwanted or automated contacts and/or people I would no want to talk with in the first place.

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You should definitely ask these recruiters what is the compensation package of the role they are offering you. If the salary doesn't match your expectations, tell the recruiter straight away, so nobody wastes anybody's time. If asked, you may provide a lower bound for your salary expectations, which may be adjusted depending on the company and on the project. Recruiters are paid on commission, so they won't have an incentive to try to sell you a role which clearly doesn't match your criteria (you can still block those who keep sending random job specs).

The only downside of stating your salary expectations is not that you may look as somebody who is only interested in money, but that the recruiter may use it as an upper bound during negotiations.

When you talk to a professional, let it be a doctor or an accountant, among the first things that are discussed, there is their compensation. It should not be different for you.

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