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Recruiter asking for current salary

Recruiter salary
New answer on Mar 31, 2023
8 Answers
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C asked on Mar 24, 2023
Hi, let’s practice

Hi, so I’m applying for a position at Mckinsey in Operations after a bit of industry experience. During a call with my recruiter he asked my out of the blue what my current salary is. I wasn’t expecting this as I know that the salary steps are quite standardised. Was he just asking to see if my current salary is above a junior salary? and.. was it stupid to plainly answer him ?

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Hagen
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updated an answer on Mar 26, 2023
#1 recommended coach | >95% success rate | most experience in consulting, interviewing, and coaching

Hi C,

First of all, congratulations on the invitation from McKinsey!

I think this is an interesting question that may be relevant for many people. I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • First of all, I think you are overthinking the situation since it is absolutely fine to disclose your current salary if inquired about. While, depending on the country, you are not obliged to provide this information, I do not see any downside risks to it.
  • Chances are very high that the recruiter simply wanted to find out whether the role at McKinsey you applied for provides a higher, same or lower total compensation, and, in case there would be major differences, what to do about it.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

(edited)

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Cristian
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replied on Mar 24, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi C, 

No, it wasn't stupid to be transparent about it. 

They just want to understand whether the salary is close within range of what they are willing to offer. If you're way off, then it makes little sense to continue the discussion. 

Yes, the salary bands are standardised for almost all roles, you're right. 

Best of luck with the rest of the recruitment process!
Cristian

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C on Mar 24, 2023

Thanks Cristian!!

Francesco
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replied on Mar 26, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) Was he just asking to see if my current salary is above a junior salary? 

Most likely this was to see if the position they were considering for you could be fine money-wise.

2) And.. was it stupid to plainly answer him?

No, because they can ask to verify it anyway requesting a pay slip.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Ian
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replied on Mar 26, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Always be prepared for this question!

You've learned a lesson here :)
 

Now, in interviews, it's really up to your discretion. You can choose tell them or not. Remember, these recruiter calls are absolutely being used to figure out what role to put you in and what compensation to offer you (e.g. signing bonus).

Always make sure you're making yourself look as strong as possible.

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Moritz
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replied on Mar 31, 2023
ex-McKinsey EM & Interviewer | 7/8 offer rate for 4+ sessions | 90min sessions with FREE exercises & videos

Hi there,

This is not unusual and you haven't necessarily anchored the recruiter if that's your fear.

Rest assured that you will receive a (significantly) higher overall compensation compared to what you did before. On the flip-side, you'll also work significantly more but that's a different story…

Best of luck!

Moritz

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Emily
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replied on Mar 27, 2023
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 300 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

Not silly to answer at all - McKinsey has very firm salary levels and you can't (normally) negotiate a different salary or comp. He was probably just wanting to make sure that the role is one that you would be interested in

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Dennis
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replied on Mar 25, 2023
Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi,

it’s fine that you answered. Because of the standardization of salary bands that most consulting firms have, there are limited levers they can use to adjust salary. It’s either hiring someone into a more senior role to access the corresponding higher salary or offering a one-off signing bonus.

If you just have “a bit” of industry experience and no consulting experience, you might still fall into a junior role category based on track record. If a company is really interested in a candidate, they usually try to not offer them something that is lower than their current job.

Or they are just collecting data points for some industry salary benchmarking they can sell to their clients 😉

Good luck

 

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Pedro
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replied on Mar 28, 2023
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Private Equity | Market Estimates | Fit Interview

As the salaries are clearly defined for each rank, I don't see much of a downside in this situation.

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Hagen gave the best answer

Hagen

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