While it is never a good idea to be completely motivated by money when pursuing new opportunities or deciding whether or not to accept an offer, money is clearly a factor and a motivation for candidates as they search for and evaluate the best next step in their career. As a recruiter, part of my job is to guide candidates regarding their salary requirements so that they present a number that is optimal for them (based on current salary and level of experience) and realistic for the client (based on budget and scope of the role). Candidates often come to us with rather unrealistic expectations regarding salary and we try our best to ground them before we present them for roles. Sometimes we opt to not represent them if they are not flexible or realistic regarding salary.
That being said, a situation that I often run into is the following—a candidate has just received an internal raise and still wants a significant increase on the base salary in order to make a move. In my opinion, this is greedy and it also looks greedy to a potential employer. This type of candidate never looks good in the eyes of a potential employer. We often level with this candidate and advise them to either make a lateral move or ask for a slight and fair increase.
Someone who was just increased from $55k to $65k internally should not be targeting $75k to make a jump shortly after this increase—it just isn’t fair.
There are a few lessons here: 1) a good recruiter will accurately guide candidates when it comes to salary negotiations, 2) candidates should focus more on the actual role (is it a good long-term move with great opportunity for growth) and less on the immediate salary increase, and 3) candidates should leave greed at the door when negotiating salaries.