I hope the title is self-explanatory but I would like to shed a few more details so that this is not closed as a duplicate.

I've recently received an email from a recruiter about a potential job opportunity close to home and the advertised range is of course higher than my current salary. The employer's information is not currently disclosed other than the job description, desired skills, city+state, and salary range.

For simplicity let's say I make $30K and the advertised position says $45K-60K

I sign up for their website http://www.cybercoders.com/ and they have me go through a multi-step form.

The first occurrence happens on Step/page 2:

Asking for current salary once

The second occurrence happens on Step/page 4:

Asking for current salary twice

It is obvious that even at the low end of the offering it would be a substantial improvement but would knowing my salary ahead of time give them a reason to simply lowball me for the sake of lowballing? Would they simply end up offering $40K and then expect me to claw my way to $45K so that I can feel like I've "earned" it?

I would like to hear about your experiences and ultimately the issues which you have experienced upon either disclosing or withholding your salary info.

For what it's worth I am a PHP Web Developer.

I have not personally emailed or spoken with the recruiter and I do not currently have an interview. However, I am confident that my skills are definitely worth somewhere in the middle of the advertised range.

  • 4
    Watch out for cybercoders...they are basically the low end spammy recruiters...I would advise you to never use them and remove/don't finish your current profile. glassdoor.com/Reviews/…
    – daaxix
    Jan 31, 2015 at 23:30
  • @daaxix thank you for the input. Could you explain the relation of that bad review to my question? This is not my first experience through a recruiter but it is the first time I've been asked such a question so early in the process. I am basically looking to put myself in a position to get the best pay-raise if I find the new company to be a stable and suitable work environment.
    – anon
    Feb 1, 2015 at 0:03
  • 1
    I'm not answering the broader question, but you specifically state that you are using cybercoders. Their job postings are almost always spam, to obtain your resume. They are really a bad deal for you...I would stay away from them.
    – daaxix
    Feb 1, 2015 at 0:28
  • 1
    I have the same opinion of CyberCoders as @daaxix and I personally would never let them have any information that they couldn't get from my public resume. Recruiters should be making their money by finding the right candidate for the opening that will accept a salary offer that is in the company's range. They only need to know if you're open to that salary range, not your current salary details.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 1, 2015 at 1:45
  • 2
    @daaxix you are 100% correct. I've looked up the job posting and it is plastered in other cities not even in my state. After looking into them further, they are in fact a terrible recruiting agency. The posted job doesn't exist but they will gladly spam the resume to as many people as possibly. This could hurt a person's reputation, especially if they boneheadedly send it to your current company.
    – anon
    Feb 1, 2015 at 14:50

1 Answer 1


Your instincts are correct. This is part of a negotiating technique to gauge your current seniority as reflected by your salary. Also, if your current salary is low, they may offer you a lower salary for the position. If your current salary is high, they may ask why you are going for a lower paid position or whether you will be overqualified.

This is not malicious - companies are designed to make money and salaries are an expense. Many technical people are poor negotiators, too, believing in a meritocracy or their hard work alone will get them the pay they deserve.

Beyond that, your current salary has little to no bearing on the new salary for the role. This is particularly true if you are moving to a different kind of role (e.g. individual contributor to management) or to new locations (e.g. moving to a different state or country).

Politely decline to answer any request for your current salary. This is easiest in person or over the phone. The recruiter/HR will usually insist saying "We need this value for the form" or similar. Stay polite and respectful even if the other person gets agitated.

Some people get scared by this approach. They feel any form of noncompliance counts against them when applying for a job. This is not the case. If the hiring organization is interested in your, you can discuss this all later in person.

Do not inflate (lie about) your current compensation. If they do find out your salary (unlikely) it can be considering misrepresenting your qualifications or experience, which will get you excluded from the process or fired if they hired you.

Online forms can be harder. The text (second) example you gave above is easy - just do not mention your current salary. Focus on your desired salary instead. Drop downs or integer fields like your first example are harder. Personally, I like to put $1 in there. It is outrageous enough to be clearly incorrect and, if queried, will usually mean you talk to a human where you can explain your reasoning.

Remember other desired benefits, too. Things like working from home, flexible working hours, health insurance, gym membership, child care, training/study allowance, leave, superannuation (401K in the US), subsidized or free food and drink, bonuses and/or share options can all add up so include them in your compensation.

  • I agree, it takes skill to not give your salary info out. When you give a company your current/previous salary info, you are giving them an advantage in the negotiation. Really, you should be negotiating the salary based on fit and experience/qualifications and market rate, not your current salary.
    – daaxix
    Feb 1, 2015 at 0:33
  • While this is not related to CyberCoders, I've noticed application forms (Full-Stack Labs) that make it a required option to state what your annual compensation is/was. Any suggestions on that for those who really want to avoid disclosing such information? (Yes, I'm already aware of "Don't apply there", but sooner or later, you won't be able to apply anywhere if that keeps being done.)
    – code_dredd
    Sep 30, 2017 at 21:07
  • @ray Just leave the fields blank or use $1. Focus more on the salary you want in any text fields.
    – akton
    Oct 1, 2017 at 0:02
  • @akton I'd do that, but it's not a text entry field. They just offer a set of radio boxes with pre-determined amounts, which means I'd have to pick a false alternative if I wanted to avoid disclosing. In the one about desired salary, I entered To be discussed.
    – code_dredd
    Oct 1, 2017 at 0:04

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