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A Recruiter's Take on Salary

A Recruiter's Take on Salary

On whose behalf do recruiters work?

This is a common question Monster members post to the Salary & Negotiation Tips message board. And according to Sara Zimmerman, technical recruiter for Adecco Technical, this is how it all plays out: "There has to be a position to fill first, so I'm hired by the employer to find a candidate. But I want the candidate and job to be a good fit, because if the fit isn't good, the client won't use me again. The challenge for me is to understand the position and company culture so I know what to look for in a candidate."

Once a recruiter identifies you as a possible good fit, how can you make sure you get the best compensation possible? If recruiters are working for employers, won't they try to save the employers money? Zimmerman explains that and more here.

Monster: What's the best way to negotiate a top salary through a recruiter?

Sara Zimmerman: First off, not all candidates will be at the top of the pay range, nor should they expect to be. There's a whole host of variables that impact pay ranges. The most important thing a good recruiter can provide is objectivity. I try to get a realistic picture of the candidate's salary expectations. On the other side of the equation, I talk to clients about the level of compensation they expect to pay for the position. It's a two-way street.

Getting past the salary piece is also one of the first things job seekers should do when working with recruiters. There's no point in either party negotiating a deal that simply isn't going to work, because neither party is in the same salary ballpark. That just wastes everybody's time.

M: Should a candidate even bother making a counteroffer?

SZ: Honestly, I know very early in the process if an offer is negotiable. Otherwise, it's my job to settle the salary issue with both parties early on in the process -- that includes asking candidates if they're willing to walk away if a salary expectation can't be met.

M: What shouldn't job seekers do when working with recruiters?

SZ: Job seekers shouldn't be dishonest. Seekers shouldn't exaggerate their accomplishments or responsibilities. And of course, don't undermine the recruiter, and don't go to the client behind the recruiter's back. Doing something like that shows lack of integrity, honesty and ethics, and it jeopardizes the relationship.

M: What kind of trends are you seeing in the job market?

SZ: It's no surprise that some industries are paying less, because we're in an employer's market. The trends I see are really a combination of things. One, clients don't have to pay as much for talent, because so many people are looking, and two, they simply don't have as much money to offer, because profitability is down. And many employers can save by hiring less-experienced candidates, because they can invest in their training, which is a one-time expense, rather than paying more for someone with lots of experience.

Despite talk of jobs being offshored, I think you're going to see high-level and more technically based jobs continue to remain in the US, but low-level positions, such as production jobs, are in jeopardy. Those types of jobs have been and will most likely continue to leave the country. Candidates need to continue their post-high school education and training to keep themselves marketable in the new economy.


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