I love all of you who read this blog - Thank you!
I'm posting about this based on the reaction to my post on the Massachusetts law that outlaws asking a candidate what they currently make. See the post and some comments (received many more via email) here.
Some of this comes down to whether you view the world as an HR person or a recruiter. I've always had to be both.
If you're a recruiter serving a client, you get paid for a higher level of service. The expectations aren't the same as your internal recruiting group, who are more conservative and risk adverse as a rule.
Say you have 3 candidates with different sets of experience and different abilities to impact the business. Assume for now - and I know it's hard for a lot of you - that protected class has nothing to do with it.
Knowing the salary that it's going to take to land each of those candidates means opportunity for a candidate. Let's say you're an up-and-comer and there are some things we like, but you don't have all the things we need. You needing 70K in salary instead of 95K can make a difference in you getting the job. And no, you won't add the same value that the more experienced candidate will provide in most circumstances. You're not as deep.
But if my client likes the potential and can save money to deploy elsewhere on their staff, that's a viable option.
For a recruiter worth their salt who has to plow through the market, having salary info specific to the candidate isn't about screwing someone. It's about making the best match possible.
The workaround is obvious. I'm going to tell them what my client can pay for their experience. Then I'm going to ask them if they'll accept the offer at that level if we get to the end of the process and they're my candidate.
And yes, males get the same treatment. Every time.
Great recruiters are like stock traders - we help clients understand whether someone's a buy or a sell based on their price.