Recruiter won't give comp range; wants me to throw out first number

Twitch yikesman
Oct 21 403 Comments

I'm heading to an on-site. The recruiter really wants me to name my target comp. I told her "market rates" and asked for the position's range, but she wouldn't get specific (just "high hundreds" plus bonus and equity). She said they don't pay like Facebook or Netflix, which I know are top of market, but it sounded like she was setting me up to expect a low figure.

How would you handle this? I don't see a point in doing an on-site if they don't know what market rates are. But I don't want to throw out the first number. She said she wasn't familiar with Amazon/Twitch comp ranges, so she's really putting it on me to anchor the convo.

Should I name a range, or move on?

This is in the SF Bay Area.

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TOP 403 Comments
  • eBay abababbb
    Take what you want and increase by 50%. That’s your number
    Oct 21 1
    • Flagged by the community.

  • Google ×|×
    Myself being in HR, definitely don't name an expectation unless you know you're going somewhat over the range.

    But if they're not giving you the comp band and you're in CA, they sound shady and I wouldn't trust them.
    Oct 21 9
    • Facebook / Data
      newguy2687

      Facebook Data

      PRE
      Mercer, Comscore, State Farm
      newguy2687more
      @Amazon, you never HAVE to give a number. I've just said I'm not going to answer that when continually pushed to give a number and while it's awkward, it's usually fine.
      Oct 22
    • Facebook neco
      @Amazon I was asked that question and my response to ask the recruiter what the pay range is. And then you can say yes/no to that
      Oct 22
    • Twilio zombidance
      Wonder when employers will just start doing standard ranges with no negotiation abilities? Take it or leave it.
      Oct 22
    • Intel aFsc05
      @×|×, then what to do with internal jobs? I am trying to GTFO but I do have an internal offer the hiring manager wants me to accepts without disclosing any comp details to me lol. He would like to not give me promo and only pay geo differential lol. I asked him to put together an official job offer but the guy came back to me asking for my current salary (I am employed under a different job code, so my salary is not comparable to the range in his team). I guess he wants to throw as few peanuts as possible at me. My estimate is with geo differential only my top Q4 salary will plummet bellow the range in his group. Is Intel that weird with internal jobs or are other companies similar? Is there a good way to deal with internal low-balling? I want to practice my skills :-)
      Oct 25
    • Intel
      GROV3R

      Intel

      BIO
      Elmo is my roll dawg
      GROV3Rmore
      Intel is that weird (dumb). They dont care. They run it all off spreadsheets. I was in that position before. Boss couldn't get me a better deal because beancounter hr person was in costa Rica and ran numbers thru excel. Wouldn't budge. Only way he made it up to me was with a big focal. I suggest you either fight hard for what you believe you're owed, or dont take the new role, or simply gtfo. Intel truly doesn't care which one you choose.
      Oct 27
  • Facebook Johny Cage
    Typical low balling tactics. Stick to your stand
    Oct 21 8
    • OceanX / Eng openureyes
      Ya, what do you mean, low-balled while interviewing
      Oct 22
    • Netflix vsudgd
      I got low-balled by apple. After on-site they offered half of what I was making.
      Oct 22
    • Roku nʞoɹ
      You were working at Netflix and interviewed at apple. This was bound to happen
      Oct 22
    • Netflix vsudgd
      Good point
      Oct 22
    • Airbnb jair
      Why was it bound to happen?
      Oct 24
  • Flagged by the community.

    • BCG Digital Ventures laws1066
      Just to add a point of clarity, the legal requirement to share a comp range for a role is not defined as an invite to an on-site by a hiring manager in CA.
      Oct 23
    • As a hring manager for a fortune 500 firm, i can tell you your wrong, dead fucking wrong. As a recruiter you know we tell you the range and if you're playing games with your candidate, not being transparent, you're just a bad recruiter and a shitty person.
      Oct 23
    • Microsoft Specific
      Henry365 is the reason nobody likes recruiters.
      Oct 23
    • Cray Moosejaw
      Basic negotiation tactics are at play here. If you are forced into a first move, understand that this provides a window into decision making at the company. This pattern is likely repeated throughout their structure.

      Part of the information bolus when considering whether or not you want to work for the company. See how they respond to uncertainty.

      If the hr people are like this recruiter, this should tell you enough to wave off. You dont want to work for a company with a toxic culture. You'll see that reflected in hr and their interview process.
      Oct 23
    • PagerDuty QhwD03
      Toxic recruiter confirmed :)
      Oct 23
  • Samsung tipsycode
    If you already have a job, shoot a high number out there. Once they say it's too high, raise it by 10k. You have nothing to lose if you already have a job
    Oct 21 1
    • Twitch yikesman
      OP
      Yes I'm currently employed. That's a good strategy, thanks.
      Oct 21
  • Coupang / Eng
    dbxer

    Coupang Eng

    PRE
    Facebook
    BIO
    Bottles!
    dbxermore
    Pretty sure there’s a law in California that requires an employer to disclose pay ranges for a role.
    Oct 21 14
    • Microsoft poeticcode
      I think this a good way to delay the discussion. Once you are hired you have a strong negotiation hold. Even in the other case where you mention your numbers during interview you can still change your numbers post getting hired but that needs lots of good negotiation skills
      Oct 23
    • Airbnb HakeHaIe
      ^ Wow no. Bad advice. Once you’re hired, you’re on board and numbers will not change except through performance reviews. If by “once hired” you actually meant, “once you have an offer,” (this isn’t “once hired,” so I can’t imagine you meant this) yes you can negotiate, and it doesn’t take good negotiation skills. You just have to push the recruiter for numbers first.

      Once you’re hired it is done. That’s it. You’re an employee.

      Never provide your numbers until you have an offer. Laws now say you don’t have to. You have nothing to lose by waiting for an offer first.
      Oct 23
    • Symantec XlKF54
      https://www.laborandemploymentlawcounsel.com/2018/07/california-attempts-to-clarify-salary-history-ban-legislation/.

      Yes, there is a law in CA that requires potential employers to disclose pay scale range upon “reasonable request” of the applicant. Read the attached link to understand what pay scale actually means; and at what stage of applicant process reasonable request becomes law.
      Oct 24
    • Microsoft poeticcode
      @hakehale I meant once you have an offer. In other words once the recruiters gets back saying they are willing to extend an offer. Thanks for correcting
      Oct 25
    • Airbnb HakeHaIe
      That makes much more sense. Thanks for clarifying.
      Oct 25
  • Cruise Automation hqudy651
    "While compensation is definitely a factor I take into consideration when reviewing an offer, it is not the only one. I think market rate is a good place to start the discussion, and I'd be happy to circle back to comp with you later on in the process, when I have a better understanding of the different factors that are important to me when considering a role at a new company."

    Roughly verbatim what I say when financial compensation is being asked before I've even been onsite (which is rarely the final step for me, I like to talk with the HM, team leads, and executive branch too). It's honest, pleasant, and firmly closes the door on the conversation until later on. YMMV based on how pleasant you are to converse with.
    Oct 21 6
    • Twitch yikesman
      OP
      This is insanely helpful! Thanks!
      Oct 21
    • Cruise Automation hqudy651
      @x|x: thanks for the enthusiasm :) now help push my packet along!

      @yikesman: not a problem - we all start somewhere. Remember that negotiating a successful offer begins from the moment you begin talking with the recruiter -- every interaction counts :)
      Oct 21
    • Google ×|×
      @hqudy651 Haha! Yes, because you know it's like a 5 person HR AND Recruiting team over here ;-D
      Oct 22
    • Cruise Automation hqudy651
      Haha exactly! You all know each other and all the HMs, right? I heard back today...

      Unfortunately the HC didn't want to move forward right now. I'll be back next year :D
      Oct 22
    • Google ×|×
      @hqudy651 haha exactly. Best buds, really.

      And I'm glad you heard back. Sorry to not make it through HC, but good attitude :)

      I also say sorry quite lightly because Google is not the only employer out there (nor the be all, end all) - I hope you find your awesome fit soon!
      Oct 22
  • Apple / Mgmt ocke20
    CA law requires them to disclose the range when asked.
    Oct 21 2
    • Amazon
      347874223t

      Amazon

      BIO
      0
      347874223tmore
      Let s sue his future employer.
      Oct 22
    • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative qymI15
      She has to actually tell you. It's the law
      Oct 22
  • Apple hsagh
    Don't fall for it. Just stand for your number. I fell for it once and learned my lesson.
    Oct 21 3
    • Amazon jupe
      what's your story? what did you do?
      Oct 22
    • Spotify dogfoodr
      Seems like lots of ppl in appl got low balled
      Oct 22
    • Amazon jupe
      thankfully, sites like levels.fyi can inform us and give us datapoints to throw at these recruiters
      Oct 22
  • Square YungStamos
    She has to give you a comp range for a specific role by CA A.B. 2282.
    Oct 22 10
    • DataStax pYCS61
      @Henry365, the exact formulation is "has completed an initial interview with the employer" which implies completing a preliminary round, not the whole interview process. Otherwise "an initial interview" would have been phrased as e.g. "the interview [process]". Only a very determined to attack this reading of the text company will contest this by throwing legal at you if you ask for that right of yours after being selected for an onsite.
      Oct 22
    • Nope. You’re wrong. Initial stages are screenings. An interview is with the hiring manager. I’m an executive search consultant. In house recruiters come to us for advice since most processes are broken. You’re asking a pro and here’s your answer..... you may not like it, but the fact is that you need to be an adult and have a range ready.
      Oct 22
    • I don’t think you guys realize that for non executive positions, the recruiters and hiring managers have a lot of people to chose from. I also don’t think you realize that negotiations aren’t the complex behavioral analyses you’re making them out to be. Either the hiring manager has the desire to pay more , or she/he doesn’t. If she/doesn’t, either they have the political capital to expand their budget or they don’t. This hyper speculative negotiation fundamentals is comical. None of us are really that important. Calm down. This isn’t a movie.
      Oct 22
    • DataStax pYCS61
      @Henry365, fair enough, you have your view, others (me included) have another view. Keep applying your policy, but don't be surprised if you get worse results than your colleagues that are aligning better with this regulation and the prospective employees' preference.

      No matter what you're trying to say, it's an employee's market. Capital has been cheaper than talent for a bunch of years running now, so "a lot of people to choose from" doesn't represent the status quo correctly, even if generally true (why do you think everyone has a competitive offer now). Of course individuals are not important (with the very rare exception), but this truism (as far as big business processes go) doesn't capture the detail that 2282 changes the employee's leverage.

      You are free to do your hiring by setting things in stone and trying to wring hands. If I can cite 2282 before Google's onsite, and get an accurate response (the offer I eventually was given was within that range), then companies that don't have droves of candidates coming to them should think about doing the same (or hire outside of CA).
      Oct 22
    • Go ahead and cite 2283 and please report back how it goes. Lmao. You don’t get far by trying to tell people how to run processes. Some may have comp on the front end, but a lowly in-house recruiter isn’t trying to fuck you if they don’t have the comp range yet... or if their process dictates that they only share once candidates are viable subsequent to screening or on-campus interview.

      Lastly it’s far from an employee’s market. Labor is expendable. It’s why it’s labor. It will get even worse soon.

      So just a word of advice on your attitude.....learn a bit more and have some deference to not assume it’s self-interested negotiation and not simply just process. A lowly recruiter isn’t trying to fuck you and you will jot open doors by citing technicalities. See how quickly that raises red flags . Lol
      Oct 22
  • Google topCon
    Ask for: 696k.
    Oct 21 3
  • Facebook Ppp45
    In California, they HAVE to give you the range by law and they CAN'T ask for your current comp only what you ate looking for
    Oct 22 8
    • Google / Eng cloudy sky
      I’m aware that they can’t ask your current comp, but they have to give the range as well?
      Oct 22
    • Exponent Epidemiolo
      Unethical hiring practices. Avoid the group and give poor review on glassdoor. This happened to me recently. Had an onsite and even after the onsite a salary range was not provide. It is sad to see people choosing to lie in their line of work.
      Oct 22
    • SAP hxamp
      what law says they need to give the range?
      Oct 22
    • SAP / IT JohnBlack
      There is no such law. Don’t pull shitake out your ask with these type of comments.
      Oct 22
    • SAP poohSAP
      Dear colleagues, don’t get BS’d by your manager/HRBP: there is a new California law that requires the recruiter to give you the range upon request: AB168
      Oct 23
  • Oath / Other
    iori

    Oath Other

    PRE
    Google, Microsoft
    iorimore
    Your next salary should be 30% + more of your current salary, otherwise it’s not worth it, take your salary, double it or add 40% on it and name this to the rec
    Oct 22 2
  • BCG Digital Ventures laws1066
    Not sure if this has already been stated but in the state of California employers are required to provide a pay range for a role to candidates upon request.

    The new California law, AB168, bars employers from inquiring about a job candidate's salary history. ... The law also requires employers to provide candidates a pay range for a prospective job, upon request. The only question interviewers can ask about compensation is the candidate's pay expectations for the role.
    Oct 22 4
    • Mutual of Omaha / Eng
      gywisyw

      Mutual of Omaha Eng

      PRE
      PayPal
      BIO
      I use blockchains to tie up Machine Learning AI’s. But only if I can 10x the synergy that I leverage via the Cloud. *First person to finish Leetcode*
      gywisywmore
      Curious, how does this work for positions that are posted at multiple levels, I.e. my company posts software engineer positions as ‘either SWE or Sr SWE, depending on experience’. That’s a pretty wide range ($85-$155k base).
      Oct 23
    • BCG Digital Ventures laws1066
      For roles in California, to external candidates, when requested, the company would be required to provide a hiring range for the role best aligned to the candidate. This may mean picking a level and up or down leveling after coding assessments or interviews when extending an offer. A company can choose to share the whole range across the two levels but I would interpret the legal requirement to be selecting the level best aligned to how the candidate presents eg yrs of experience and sharing the hiring range (which can be defined differently than the pay range internally) for that level. The hiring range could be defined as the start of the comp band to the midpoint if that is the range used for hiring new employees. It does not have to exactly match the range of current employees at the level/role.
      Oct 23
    • Mutual of Omaha / Eng
      gywisyw

      Mutual of Omaha Eng

      PRE
      PayPal
      BIO
      I use blockchains to tie up Machine Learning AI’s. But only if I can 10x the synergy that I leverage via the Cloud. *First person to finish Leetcode*
      gywisywmore
      Makes sense, thanks!
      Oct 23
    • Amazon Ah Dang
      I believe this is true, although only for base salary. I don’t think this is required for bonus or stock programs. In other words, you might not get total comp range.
      Oct 23
  • LinkedIn transitnoo
    In any monetary negotiation the guy who puts out the first number loses
    Oct 22 13
    • Uber / Eng rqDs70
      Giving the first number and anchoring is best, but you need to know your worth for that
      Oct 22
    • Amazon camp4r
      Not accurate. although it may feel like a bad situation to be in, it only is if you are unprepared... for example, if you know you want to make 175k and that is what you throw out... you don’t know any of the variables behind the desk, you don’t know how bad they want you or how many other candidates there are or even the comp range. I just took a position with amazon and I was asked for a comp range, I tossed it out and they met it, mostly through bonus but that is ok as the RSU was very generous as well, it I stay it will all work out... but what I found was I have counterparts that I met in training who were offered a lot less and they were happy to take it. I believe I only got what I got because I studied the market and knew Peak season was coming. They paid more for me than others but I think it was only because I knew what I would be happy with and threw that out. —- now that they have me, we will see how it goes come promotion! Lol
      Oct 22
    • Cvent aKgb10
      @camp4r what is the peak season?
      Oct 22
    • OceanX / Eng openureyes
      @camp4r what is the peak season??
      Oct 22
    • Broadcom Ltd. / Eng
      headbanger

      Broadcom Ltd. Eng

      PRE
      Intel, Broadcom Ltd.
      headbangermore
      That didn’t work for me. I refused to tell Qualcomm what number I want and they offered me $30K less than what I was making at Intel at the time. And Intel is not a high paying employer either. This method is old school and doesn’t work all the time. Each company had a different pay range for each level.
      Oct 23
  • SHIFT 7NRS777
    Recruiter in CA here. Remind her that per CA law, she has to provide you the set range of the position. You do not have to disclose your current salary or what you expect to be paid. The position at this company has a budget and they must tell you when asked. If they can’t, respond with is the position approved? If so, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t other than they’re shopping for lowest price themselves.
    Oct 22 0
  • Roku eh ugh GC
    You haven’t even done the on-site yet. Why are you even taking comp?
    Oct 22 14
    • Microsoft Swamp Toad
      Depends on what’s more important, the TC or the job? Many companies simply can’t match the higher tier pay, but will do their best to accommodate.
      Oct 22
    • Lenovo dFJs87
      I have wasted my time too many times in interviews where the budget was no where near what I was at and I'm not leaving for less than what I'm at. I'd start with a range of what you feel is on the high end of reasonable, with stating that your final numbers will depend on details about the position you get in the interview (more specific job duties etc). If they say your range is way out then don't interview. Also feel free to ask what their budget range is for the position, if they say they don't know then they are liars, or Ill prepared to hire.
      Oct 22
    • Lenovo dFJs87
      PS budget range is obviously not necessarily your hiring range, but it tells you what your cap might be in that position on to of what the minimum offer might be which is always nice to know.
      Oct 22
    • BNP Paribas / Strategy crunchyka0
      Good advice. When a recruiter gives a range, how true is it usually? How likely they can go above the upper band they claims? I personally had experience getting 10% above upper band ..but dunno if 15% or 20% is likely.
      Oct 22
    • BNP Paribas / Strategy crunchyka0
      Are you saying the budget range cap usually = min offer? Aka I can try to squeeze more than the budget cap? Lol
      Oct 22
  • NetApp cdRH03
    Over 1,500 people hired and not 1 went to onsite before knowing exactly what they want and having candidate disclose number first. This is Recruiting 101 and what prevents overspending, inflating markets, hitting ceilings, attrition and ultimately layoffs. You have to develop trust and in fact, when people are way under, I tell them they are undervaluing themselves and help them reset their value/expectation. Problem is you deal with too many jr Recruiters that just dont get that it's an art, a compromise and they should represent both their company and the people they hire. If not, 1 leaves (hire) and other fails (company).
    Oct 22 1
    • EC1 Partners / Consultant emanon
      This
      Oct 22
  • Amazon / Mgmt
    vWnY56

    Amazon Mgmt

    PRE
    US Navy
    vWnY56more
    A person who doesn’t know their own worth is worth nothing. What are you afraid of in being the first to quote a number?
    Oct 22 1
    • Nordstrom / Eng tikimon
      Typical Amazon middle management.
      Oct 22
  • Little Caesars / HR
    pizza2

    Little Caesars HR

    PRE
    Allegis, Moody's Investors Service, American Express
    pizza2more
    Repeat their range they gave you of "high hundreds". Let them know you're looking for "mid thousands". If it's a waste of time, might as well have fun with it.
    Oct 23 18
    • Yikesman, I would never present you based on what I have seen you write today. You aren’t executive material. Our paths will never cross. It’s all about relationships and realizing the dynamics that govern and drive them. If you’re cynical and skeptical, you’ll be met with it in kind
      Oct 23
    • You cant have it both ways. If you're a retained executive search firm then you're hiring VPs and up. Those people aren't going to be giving you problems over this topic. Since you've already expressed that you're dealing with this issue we can rule out that you're working with high level executives. So you're now going to convince me that companies will pay 50 to 100% more to have your firm hire entry level and middle management roles, instead of using the types of firms im talking about? Sure. Sure, they will.
      Oct 23
    • Blindren, point taken. I have no idea about contingency based third party recruiters and I would imagine they aren’t too good if they work on contingency. Their clients may not even be real yet. In house recruiters have a lot of ambiguity to manage and often times aren’t equipped to deal with it.... especially regarding comp concerns. If a candidate is genuinely interested in moving to another firm, I would work with the recruiter just to “get in” and then have negotiations with the hiring manager.

      Providing a range doesn’t necessarily mean you have to settle for a lower number. Imagine you said 125k- 175k. If an offer is made at 125k but you’re not happy , be direct. Candid feedback like- “I need to be at 150k to feel excited and take on this role and as I look at the entire package”. Most of the managers I have seen just want the role filled and move on.
      Oct 23
    • Henry365, here's where you're wrong, there is a psychological effect to giving number. Once you provide your range you're saying my mimimum is x. If they offer you x you're going to feel under appreciated. But you may convince yourself its your fault for giving a low minimum number. Plus the recruiter and hiring manager will be there to remind you, you said you would accept this number. And of course they'll tout the benefits of saying yes and then you just might start your job resentful that they "took advantage" of you. You made a great point about the risk of being the highest paid, it comes with a lot of added pressure. Coming in at the bottom is no better. And all of this can be avoided, if as a recruiter, you get the scale from you client and tell you candidate the role pays x to y. So much more efficient.
      Oct 23
    • Twitch yikesman
      OP
      Henry: you don't work on searches below $200k (meaning you ask the company for their range first to make sure it's worth your time).

      So why are your balls in a twist about a candidate doing the same? Truly amazing.
      Oct 23

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