I have no doubt that by now you’ve heard about the family from Tennessee who won the Powerball and took home over $500 million. They’ve been on a bit of a whirlwind tour, starting the day they won the world’s largest jackpot. While we were all dreaming of what we’d do with our share of the winnings and mourning our loss, this family hit the big time. Their first call? The Today show’s main line. Seriously. In front of millions of viewers, they proudly held up their winning ticket as they announced, “we’re common people, just like y’all.” In that moment, you can tell these people had no idea what wass about to happen to them after going from owning a farm to owning a percentage of the world’s wealth overnight.
Hitting It Big: What’s Next?
I can’t imagine what that feels like – winning the lottery. I imagine there’s a lot of adrenaline, a rush of thankfulness realizing you’ve gone from budgets to the big time. There are instantly a lot of choices on the table from where you want to live to the car you want to drive and the experiences you want to have, considering your budget was just busted wide open. But in that rush, I can tell you one thing that I most certainly would not feel or do and that’s call the Today Show. See, if I won the jackpot – I wouldn’t tell anyone until I had a lawyer and a financial advisor on retainer. Why? Money, especially at the volume they just acquired it, breeds contempt, jealousy and greed. I’d want to have a plan before I told anyone on the chance that my life would play out like a cartoon and people from my past would randomly start showing up to ask for cash.
This perception of the consequences of having money – the greed and jealousy – have helped give money their faux pas tag, right next to religion and politics. And there’s no area where this plays out more than talking about salaries. We’ve all been there before – stuck in that awkward moment when you’ve figured out how much (or how little) someone makes. There are consequences to this knowledge.
Inevitably, the first consequence is comparison. We value our work and sometimes even our own personal value in comparison to others. We learned that in school, ya know. We’ve been educated in a system that breeds competition. We learned that being the best – top of our class, the fastest, the funniest – all had a special value that would make us more important later in life. Then we enter the real world where our fight to be the best is sometimes stunted by the reality that we are now at the bottom and unlike school, not everyone is going to get a toy and a participation medal. We’re left on our own, to negotiate and persuade people to hire us at a rate we feel we are worth.
If You Don’t Know, Now Ya Know
We, the collective youth, go into this with very little idea of what our actual value is, considering our knowledge is based on awkward conversations with friends that have similar jobs to us where we meander around the details, playing a game of “who goes first” and rejiggering the real answer about how much we make 10% +/- to control the power play between the two of you and assure that you won’t be stuck with the bill every time you go out to happy hour just because you make more.
We take all of this social data about salary and translate it into a stack ranking that represents us. See, society has coached us into thinking that salary is a secret and then we’re approached by this stranger, trying to decipher what we want and need to be “happy,” even if deep down we know money has very little to do with the answer to that question. Your value is put into question every time they ask “What are you making now?” You don’t know the right answer, who to ask and who is on your side.
This story is all too common and represents most candidates who have no idea what a recruiter’s role is when it comes to salary negotiation or how their answers to salary questions might impact their earning potential for years to come. So, like any of us in a predicament, they turn to Google. Unfortunately, some of that advice is bullshit, like this headline: Sorry, Recruiters! My Salary History Is None of Your Business.
In this podcast, featuring hosts Amy Ala Miller and Katrina Kibben, we break down the real question and why recruiters do, in fact, need to know you salary history.
Why Candidates And Recruiters Should Listen:
- Understand recruiter motivations to have better conversations from Day 1 about salary
- Advice for recruiters on making sure to lead with value, not negotiation
- Learn about tools you can use to do salary negotiation research
Heard in this podcast:
Amy has 15+ years of recruiting experience, starting her career in agency recruiting running a desk for companies like Spherion & Lucas Group before making the move in-house, where she has held strategic roles for the State of Washington and Zones.
Katrina Kibben, Director of Marketing, RecruitingDaily
Katrina Kibben is the Director of Marketing for Recruiting Daily, and has served in marketing leadership roles at companies such as Monster Worldwide and Care.com.