Firstly, its not a trick question! As a headhunter Im not just being nosy in wanting to know how much you earn! I understand its a private question and sometimes not easy to answer. The reason for asking is, I need to establish where you are in relation to the market rates for someone with your skills and experience. Are you above, below or right on it?
It is possible you are above, and that could be for many reasons. You work for a company that pays above market rates to fend off poachers. You didn’t receive a market correction during the crisis and it kept growing due to annual appraisals. You could have negotiated a cracking deal upon joining!
It is possible you are below, for all the reasons opposite for the ones mentioned above!
You could be right on the level.
Whatever the case I will be honest and tell you what I think based on my experience of working with people in your area.
If you are above, you might be stuck in what we call a `salary trap`, put quite simply, you’re overpaid for what you do and may need to consider a cut for a move. Or, may need to consider taking a more senior role for the same money you are on currently. Doesn’t really sound fair eh? Well, thems the breaks, back to reality Im afraid.
If you are below then its my job to get you the role you want at the right level of salary. You might be nervous about asking for a 50% increase but look at it this way, thats what they have budgeted for this role, so why not give it to you?
If you are on the level, well its a bit more tricky. Maybe the environment you’re in is not to your liking? Maybe you have limited growth options? If your desire to move is entirely financially motivated then Im afraid you are probably out of luck.
So next time a Headhunter asks, what’s your current salary? Help him / her help you!