Encountering slightly odd resume requirement, please help!
March 11, 2014 7:56 PM   Subscribe

I'm currently applying for a job that specifically requires applicants to include salary history and requirements within their resume. While I'm more-or-less fine with disclosing this information, I haven't seen any company make this specification before, and I don't see a lot of consistent advice on how to best go about including this info. Does anyone here have experience with something like this, and can you recommend best practices and recommended formatting?
posted by Dante Riordan to Work & Money (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is not all that uncommon. Usually I've had this come up in conversation AFTER an interview, not beforehand, but some HR depts do ask for salary requirements upfront. They're just trying to establish a base for when/if they make you an offer, or to see if you are ridiculously overpaid, in which case it wouldn't be worth trying to make you an offer to lure you away from your current gig. You have nothing to fear unless you know you are near the max pay in your field and expect to somehow make more. Just be straightforward.
posted by deathpanels at 8:22 PM on March 11, 2014

I'll contradict deathpanels.

You're in a negotiation, and price anchoring isn't just a catchy phrase. They want to know what you make so that, if you're underpaid now, they can continue to underpay you.

If you're in anything but a completely powerless negotiating position, I encourage you to either be vague ("in line with the market") or completely silent ("confidential"). Applying for jobs is asymmetrical enough; there's no need to hamstring yourself.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 8:27 PM on March 11, 2014 [7 favorites]

If you must submit something, come up with a reasonable range that includes total compensation, including health, dental, vision, paid time off, and other fringe benefits - whether you took advantage of any of them or not.

"My total compensation package was in the range of XX to YY."

If they request more specific detail, use one of the many, many suggestions from previous Asks on this issue:
-"I can't reveal anything more specific"
-"My prior salary has nothing to do with my ability to do this new job for you"
-"I evaluate a lot more than just a number before I take a job, so let's leave numbers out of it until we mutually determine this is a good fit"
posted by trivia genius at 8:45 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: To clarify: I don't intend on leaving this info out (as much as I may be tempted to), but I would like more recommendations on how to include both my salary history and current requirements within the body of the resume itself.
posted by Dante Riordan at 8:47 PM on March 11, 2014

What does "requires" mean?

Every job I have ever had with two exceptions had this "mandatory" form that had to be submitted with a resume which had this information.

Every job I have ever had with the exceptions of the two that did not do this I did not provide the information, just the role and company names.

Every job I have ever had where I did this had the nosey HR troll ask about it to which I said "I am not disclosing that information." Every time they said "but it's a required field" and so I told them that they could put "1" if they so desired to satisfy their computers.

Of course, that it was required was probably a straight up lie, but standing by your guns is actually not a bad thing to do if you have any leverage at all. Or just can convince yourself that you do.
posted by rr at 9:03 PM on March 11, 2014

Response by poster: To clarify, the position description requests that applicants submit a "complete resume, including salary history and salary requirements."
posted by Dante Riordan at 9:37 PM on March 11, 2014

That's unusual, but not completely unheard of from hiring companies.

Here's what I would do.
- Research the salary range for that job in my location.
- I'd include my total cash potential from my current employer as long as it put me at 90% of the salary range for that job in that marketing. If your salary is 100K with a 50% potential bonus, I'd list total salary potential as 150K.
- I would not include salaries from prior positions.
posted by 26.2 at 11:07 PM on March 11, 2014

If you chose to provide the information, you can just make it a line item for each position on the resume.

Such and such company, Some location, 2010-present, $40,000/annually plus benefits valued at $10,000/annually

Though if you are in an industry where there's enough demand for your skills that you can afford to walk away from the prospect of this job, I would suggest providing the salary requirements and no salary history (or at most, just your current/most recent salary). In technology positions in private industry, demanding a complete salary history is a pretty big warning flag, both in terms of how the company will treat you and the potential quality of your coworkers. Government jobs may be different, in that there may be a mandate to ask for employment history with salary that can't just be handwaved away.
posted by Candleman at 11:18 PM on March 11, 2014

Best answer: No one seems to be addressing your formatting question. I think the very fact that this is an unusual request means that they just want the information, and that formatting won't make an impression either way. Candidates who provide this will just have a separate page/document that has this, or even just put it in the email with minimal formatting. Alternately, you could integrate that information in your résumé with the listings of positions.

Note that you can still use some of the other techniques that these people are suggesting: it's probably not necessary to say "$67,353" when you could give vaguer ranges:

1995-1996: Starbucks, appro. $15,000-30,000, annually
1997-1998: Stargate, $50,000-70,000
1998-2008: Starfleet, confidential
2009-2014: Spaceballs, approx. $150k
Salary Requirements: Reasonable market salary/negotiable/20%-more-than-whatever-your-first-offer-is
posted by xueexueg at 11:20 PM on March 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Not exactly answerting your formatting question, but let me give you another perspective as a hiring manager about why a company might ask for this. First of all, unless you are in the public sector (government service) or are an internal candidate, there is no way to verify your salary history. All a previous employer is going to tell me is whether they employed you or not. So, n'thing the advice to be vague there.

The less nefarious reason to ask for salary history and requirements is so the HR people can screen out ahead of time someone who is way out of range on the high side. Any reasonably sized company is going to be hiring against a specific salary range (which you can't really know ahead of time). This problem comes up for a couple of reasons: if you are in a field or role that has a huge variance in salaries, if you are relocating from another part of the country, or if you are stepping into a less senior role. The relocation thing can manifest in two ways: you are moving from somewhere with a much higher cost of living, or it will be expensive to interview you in person because the company is picking up your travel expenses. Note that they can just as easily do this screening informally, over the phone, later in the hiring process if you make the short list; doing it up front in the application is a little lazy, in my opinion.

I have been involved in a couple of hiring situations where this (pre-screening for a salary fit) was not done for whatever reason, the candidate went through a lengthy interviewing process and got to the offer portion with the executive doing the hiring, and we all discovered that the candidate's idea of a starting salary was $30K to $50K higher than the top end of our range - too big of a gap to be negotiated and the we all mutually walked away. As you can imagine, egg on face for the HR people involved for not catching this in advance. So going back to your formatting question, what they want to hear is that you are going to be inside a reasonable market range and if they make you an offer, the negotiation won't derail because you are too far apart.

Good luck with your application!
posted by kovacs at 2:39 AM on March 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Using xueexueg's format, I'd use Total Compensation as the basis for the money part. This would include the cost of benefits and salary.

When saying what your salary requirements are, aim higher than what you'll settle for. "My expectation for salary is in the range of X to Y, depending on scope of the position and benefits package.

You never went wrong aiming high. If you aim low, you have no where to go but lower.

Don't out price yourself. If the position is typically X, you can ask for X + 10%, but don't ask for Y.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:58 AM on March 12, 2014

I also would be inclined to include salary history separately from the resume. You never know where a digital resume would go and that seems like a lot of information to have tied up and bundled together.

I'd include it in the body of an email. And include total compensation and bonuses. Be somewhat vague. Use zeroes. If your salary was $46,750 - round up to $47k. Only include the two most recent or most relevant jobs.
posted by amanda at 7:20 AM on March 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

It is unfortunately becoming more common, but I find it odd that they ask you to put it on the resume. My rule of thumb when I'm casually looking (like, not desperate to plug a job loss) is to not apply anywhere that doesn't offer a two way street. In other words, I'm happy to say how much money I've made if the employer is happy telling me how much they expect to pay for the position.
posted by dgran at 8:09 AM on March 12, 2014

To expand on what kovacs said...

I went through the hiring process with an organization located approximately 1,800 miles away. After several phone calls and a final interview with five different people on the phone, they said "So... How much are you expecting to get paid?" My anticipated pay rate was about $30,000 more than they could afford, and was about $12,000 less than my current pay. So even though they offered me the position, I had to turn it down.

What a waste of time for everyone involved!
posted by tacodave at 1:37 PM on March 12, 2014

It's really none of their business. I try not to answer those questions. If pressed HARD, I give a large range (with current salary on the low end of the range).

Once an offer is on the table, then you can discuss the numbers.
posted by tckma at 4:18 PM on March 12, 2014

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