Severely underpaid currently - What to say if recruiter asks about previous salary in Bay area?

May 4, 2019 34 Comments

Hello folks,

I started preparing and trying to move out of Cisco now . Seriously seeking advice on a couple of questions -

1) I am in the bay area. If during interview process if the recruiter or anyone else asks me my current salary (though illegal ) directly/indirectly - how do I answer or dodge the question.

2) what should have been my salary in Cisco? - I Have 13yrs of experience with a master's in CS. Been with Cisco close to 7yrs . Got hired at 112k , got few RSUs few yrs back ... Same salary, no raise , no exciting work now or in forseeable future , rotting here but 1-2 days WFH flexibility.

3) when is the pay hike this year ? Is it too late to talk now ? Planning to talk to my manager soon .. I am very frustrated! Any tips on how to approach the talk and what to say ? Feel like resigning but don't have the luxury to stay home without a job for 2-3 months before I get another one. I have rotted and rusted here !


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TOP 34 Comments
  • Google RPM
    This happens. I was in a similar company for 8 years with top tier Masters, and also severely underpaid. Just hitting 5 years at Google and my TC had more than tripled. Just need to be disciplined about interview preparation every week for a couple months, then jump. Believe in yourself
    May 4, 2019 6
    • Google RPM
      Eh, you may have to interview at a few places and get rejected a few times. All good things come to those who shamelessly apply.
      May 4, 2019
    • Amazon chipndl
      How hard or easy is it to work at Googleplex your opinion?
      May 4, 2019
  • Google / Other

    Google Other

    Flagged by the community
    I've had a recruiter say, "as you may know we can no longer ask for your current comp. Would you like to share that voluntarily?". Uhh No thank you.
    May 4, 2019 0
  • Heal SOxq62
    Recruiter will say, since I can't ask you for your salary being in California do you have a number in mind? Than you will say no I was expecting to hear from your team first. And than negotiation clock starts after they come out with initial numbers!!!

    That's how it works in almost all good companies.
    May 4, 2019 1
    • Bloomberg / Eng iVX372
      ^ This. @OP remember that it's ILLEGAL in CA for the recruiter to ask your current TC
      May 4, 2019
  • Cisco target
    Thanks a ton for all the replies ! I was and am still in grade 8. Yeah , no movement there also. Pretty stagnant work , so not many promotions in the team . Should I go any talk to my manager ? I know he is going to say a no ... How should I approach this ? I am hoping to get a job in 2-3 months and have just started preparing ... But don't know how dumb I am interviewing wise yet ...what if I am stuck here for more time want to talk about a raise !
    May 4, 2019 8
    • Bloomberg / Eng Eukw16
      Op, As someone suggested in other posts don’t talk to your manager now. Even after asking, I’m pretty sure you will not get expected hike and you might self sabotage your jump. Because in companies like Cisco they don’t have budget for this. I tried to do this myself in my current company and nothing changed. Now I’m waiting for visa transfer to jump. You are way underpaid and I would suggest just grind and look outside.
      May 4, 2019
    • New / Design Red Delta
      Agreed. Don’t talk to your manager. He isn’t really working hard for you.
      May 4, 2019
  • Leave, you should be making 300-400k.
    May 4, 2019 2
    • New / Design Red Delta
      May 4, 2019
    • Cisco target
      You made my day ! Hope that is true in my next offer 🙂👍
      May 4, 2019
  • Microchip nqqh55
    Dude. Seriously. Multiple folks have weighed in. Just. Find another job. No asking for a raise, no discussions with managers or anyone. Leetcode the fuck out evenings and weekends. If things don't go well, and you have to stay here, THEN discuss with your manager. I suppose since you have a cycle coming up it's fine to indicate to your manager that you're looking for a raise etc. etc. but no threats, no indications that you're looking to leave.

    When it comes to salary negotiations, don't overthink it. Follow this (thanks someone else at blind for pointing it out elsewhere) but DON'T even think about offers, salary, etc. until you have at least a few onsites schedules. Until then GTFO blind and get leeting. I'm outta here for tonight, on to leet!
    May 4, 2019 1
    • New / Design Xfinity
      You’re my fave 🙏🏼
      May 5, 2019
  • Never tell them what you expect. I told a recruiter what I expected and they turned me down immediately and didn’t continue the interview process.

    It was Accenture though before I realized they’re just harvesting the heat energy from the bodies.
    May 4, 2019 0
  • Arista Networks unVS80
    Calm down.
    Nobody will ask your current salary. The most anyone will ask is your expected salary but even that is rare. Prepare well and go from there. This is the last thing to worry about.

    Use the free time at hand to study well. Not everyone has that luxury also.
    May 4, 2019 0
  • Cisco tMKG54
    They could ask for your current grade level instead.
    May 4, 2019 1
    • New / Design Red Delta
      Just say we don’t have those here.
      May 4, 2019
  • VMware ItsAlrite
    The most important thing you need to do now is prepare. Coz interview process has changed by miles in these 7 years. Now is the time to give yourself a lot of time to prep, just don't worry about the manager he will fend for himself. If he shows displeasure that's just normal, he will understand afterward.

    That said, interview after 3 or 4 months of solid prep. Schedule some startups/sf-companies who are good practice. Try to get some interview experience. Then start interviewing biggies after a couple of weeks. Interview G and interview the rest. G has a long drawn process.

    Spend ample time preparing system design. This should come after you prep coding algorithms and DS.
    May 4, 2019 0


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