Candidates often make the mistake of expecting and asking for salaries which are far too high as a next step in their careers. Unless you are being overpaid (which is sometimes the case), we do not suggest that you should make a lateral move but rather ask for an increase when you make the move from one company/role to another. It is always encouraged to rise up the ranks both in title and salary as you make transitions in your career. However, candidates sometimes get too big for their britches and ask for way too high of an increase when negotiating their terms with agencies. Perhaps you did not get the raise you were expecting during your last review—this isn’t the fault of your next employer. Perhaps you took a year off to travel and this has affected salary increases—this isn’t the fault of your next employer. Maybe you’ve even been performing at a level above for the past year and feel extremely disgruntled in your current role—this isn’t the fault of your next employer either!
I realize that many times you feel overworked and underpaid, but part of our job as recruiters is to guide you regarding salary and keep you grounded and objective. As recruiters, we not only know the “going rate” for particular levels of experience, types of experience, and industries/roles in general, but we also know our clients’ budget ranges and what they are able and willing to pay for particular positions. We obviously want to negotiate the best and highest salary for you, but we will always be honest in terms of what we feel you should and can realistically ask for during offer stage.
I’ve been faced with the difficult task of bringing candidates back to reality when it comes to salaries, in hopes that they will agree with me and not box themselves out of a great opportunity because they want to negotiate a higher salary or strongly feel they deserve more. There is usually someone with a similar skillset and comparable years of experience who is asking for less, so it is in your best interest to listen to your recruiter when it comes to salary negotiations and follow his/her advice so as not to appear too expensive, unrealistic, or money hungry.
Being a dreamer in life isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you really need to come back to reality when discussing and finalizing salary expectations with a potential employer. While salary is important, the most crucial thing at the end of the day is to secure the position that is truly the next best step in your career. All the money in the world can’t buy the happiness you feel when going to a job you love every day, and monetary success will most likely follow this feeling of personal and professional contentment.