During a phone screen with a recruiter, you’ll often get asked this question or similar:
“Do you know what you would be targeting from a compensation standpoint?”
What would be the best response to that question?
OPTION #1: “What is the range for your position?” or,
OPTION #2: “I am making X. Money’s not the most important thing to me; what’s most important is finding a good fit. I’m negotiable”
Most people suggest to go with #1. Based on my experience, this is one of the worst and riskiest responses. There’s some theories as to why you shouldn’t disclose but the truth is doing that creates more scenarios that is a waste of time for you and the employer.
Here’s what often happens next from phone screen after asking that.
Recruiter: “….Why won’t you give me a number?”
You end up in an awkward position trying to come up with another answer. Some recruiters get really weird on the phone after that response. If your recruiter does give a range, there is a chance that the range can be lower than the true midpoint for the role.
Your main priority should be to find out more about the job, not how much it pays.
You have very little knowledge about the job during a phone screen. By going with #2, not only you screen out employers whose ranges are out of reach with what you are currently earning, you have now prevented yourself getting offers below or near your current pay. You also are likely to move to the next stage of the hiring process.
I really like #2 and have used it myself. I either state total comp if I think the range is higher or state my base if I think the range is lower. Here’s a response I’ve gotten from recruiter:
“Great. I want to assure you that our company when they find the right candidate they will come back with a package that the candidate will be happy with”
I have never gotten an offer I was not happy with, always gotten at least 30% to previous base each switch. #2 works very well & encourage everyone to do that, especially if #1 hasn’t gotten you anywhere.