Posted: 28th June 2013

Money appears to be a very important factor in the decision making process when considering a new role. If it’s not the number one stated priority, it often won’t be far off for most of my candidates. Although uncommon, we have seen people move for the same or less money for the right opportunity. Whether for personal, professional or a mixture of reasons, these are the candidates that I don’t hear from for a long time while they happily advance their careers.

What’s your goal?

Decide early on whether your move is money motivated or driven by other factors: career advancement, company culture, project exposure or personal reasons. If you’re leaving your job to look for new challenges and opportunities, not just based on a salary increase, approach this differently. Decide what you are willing to sacrifice on current (or lack of increased) earnings in order to land a more exciting opportunity. Put the opportunity first and be confident that the money will follow further down the line.

If it is just about the money, be honest with yourself and your recruiter from the start. It helps us to manage your expectations and saves a lot of time for everyone involved should you get an offer.

Money please

Given you’re still reading, I take it money will be a contributing factor for you. So, to help, here are some tips and common turn-offs when candidates talk to me and, more importantly, potential employers about higher salary requirements. Caveat: of course, the fact remains the person doing the numbers cannot offer you more money than you are worth to them.

Here are some pitfalls to avoid if you’re going for the money.

Lying about your salary

Good old fibbing. The key thing to remember here is that as either an internal or external recruiter it is part of our job to update hiring managers about industry average salaries. We base our information on the companies we speak to every day, salary surveys and industry benchmarks. Salaries are our business so, when a junior analyst declares a current salary of £80,000, this is an instant red light. Because we all know better.

Secret salary

If you’re going for the money and you’re sitting in one of your early interviews with a director, you might have to reconsider your tactics. Telling the interviewer that you don’t want to disclose your salary because you want to be benchmarked on your skills won’t fly. In fact, they might wonder if you are as good as they thought you were, or whether you are open and honest enough to fit in.

Looming promotion

Attempting to increase the size of an offer by talking about something that hasn’t yet happened is another way to put off future employers: “I want a £10k uplift in salary because I am going to get promoted in September”. This leaves interviewers and recruiters confused. Why are you trying to leave a company that is going to promote you in six months’ time? Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and stick around to bank the promotion? Are you sure that you are going to get promoted or is my company a contingency in case you don’t? You just told me that you wanted to leave your current company to progress your career and get different exposure to what you get now. Will money change that?

The market

Above all, when going through an interview process, you are going to be benchmarked against your current and future peers; this is especially the case in a consulting firm. What does this mean? In most cases: psychometric tests, competency or peer interviews and numerous meetings with the senior leadership team. It’s all about if and where you are going to fit in. If that means at a higher level with more money, that’s fantastic! But, if you have to make a sideways move on the same money to get exposure, then my view is: so be it.

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