Let’s investigate the pros and cons of each option available to you
- Don’t answer
- Be honest
Sure you get the employer interested in your application if they can see value for money.
But you’ve just devalued yourself, and the employer will want to know why. The first thing that comes to their mind is that you’re either desperate to work, you don’t know your worth or that you’re over-exaggerating your skill set.
Experienced recruiters will ask you. It may work in your favour if you say that you’re keen to work there and happy to take an initial pay cut so that you can get in the door.
Experienced recruiters will have been burnt by job seekers initially understating what they are really after, then after interviewing and trying to renegotiate. “Oh, now I know more what the job is about so…”, “I have another offer at a higher rate so…”
This is a very dangerous gambit.
Government contracts require an agency to submit you at defined rate at the tender submission date. Once submitted there are no changes allowed.
Usually the recruiter has gone in hard to bat for you using your lower rate as a carrot. There may be a budget that is needed to be capped at. In this case you’ve wasted the employers and the recruiter’s time. The employer may start to mistrust you. Other applicants asking less than what you now want suddenly become more attractive.
“Ideally I am seeking…”
The danger here of course is overshooting the client’s budget. As long as you’re not too far of the mark, the recruiter or employer may test you by stating their budget. At this point you need to validate why you think your rate is fair in today’s market – or state that you’re prepared to drop for the right role. Save face by letting them explain the role to you before committing to dropping your rate. What you don’t want is to and froing on salary negotiations. This will make you look greedy.
“I need to understand the job more first, what you’ve advertised is in the ball park”
This might work for a high end permanent role. It won’t work well for a contract vacancy. It certainly won’t work for contracting the Government.
Don’t counter with a rate that is way out of the ball park.
“Currently I am on XXX and won’t accept less”.
This requires you to be firm and have done your homework as to what you think is fair. Fair means that you’re not ribbing the employer and the employer is not robbing you.
It means that when you do start you can look each other in the eye.
The recruitment cycle will be faster. You just need to hold your mettle if they try to lower the rate.
Contract hourly rates are generally 20% higher than permanent hourly rates. This is because permanent staff get sick leave and paid holidays.
Finally, if you don’t get the rate that you want, build in a “6 month wage review” into the agreement.