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Beware of recruiters.

Louie Bacaj
Louie Bacaj
3 min read

The tech industry is so hot right now; anyone with a decent LinkedIn profile is going to get a few requests a week from recruiters about possible opportunities. Most InMail’s will go ignored, as developers are usually busy working and writing code. Occasionally though, one or two great opportunities may land in your mail box and you may get the urge to respond. If this isn’t happening for you then you need to work on your profile, in the very least so you can see what’s out there.

I would like to point out that I have worked with many fantastic recruiters, whom have given me great advice and career tips. With that being said, I may continue.

Alternatively, If you have tried something gutsy, like putting your profile on Dice, you are basically, as a developer in 2014, guaranteed to get about 10 calls a week, sometimes as many as 30+. I know this because I have the voicemails to prove it.

Most of that of course will be noise and it could be just recruiters matching words on your resume to those on the job description. It is up to you to examine each opportunity and decide which is right for you.

Recruiters will more than likely bait you by talking about how a move to company X will be

“phenomenal for your career”

and how the salary and bonus will be

"significantly better".

They will latch onto what you don’t like about your current role and push that this new place is different. Fair enough it is their job to entice you to move, they make commission if you do take the job.

The issues arise when they tell you things like:

“The more money you get, the more money I get.”
“I will negotiate vigorously on your behalf.”

These things seem like good deals for you both. Most of the time though, they do not negotiate vigorously. Instead, recruiters try to land on a salary that will not scare the potential employer. Aside from having close relationships with these employers, recruiters would rather take a lower offer for you than no offer at all.

It is also very important that they appear to be, both, making you more money and saving that employer money. This is a classic conflict of interest. How can they maximize your salary, while saving money for the employer?

When a potential employer views your current salary, they are usually not going to want to give you more than a 20% increase, almost ever. This is the market norm, unless of course that particular employer is really generous, which is not how companies work. In fact, as you can imagine, the less money they offer you and get you to take the role, the better it is for them.

A lot of time’s though, recruiters tend to make empty promises by saying things like:

“Don’t worry we can easily get you 25% raise, maybe more”,

Things like that would make anyone consider changing jobs. But in the end, the conversation changes to:

“Look a 10% raise is normal in this market”.

Don’t believe any of that.

I have worked with recruiters that changed the conversation from “a 25% raise is very possible with this employer” to a “lateral move” being a great move for me and my career because of “X and Y”. They say things like that because they want to manage expectations and some will simply do so they can get a commission.

Clearly that is not in your best interests. Set a realistic target by doing research of how much you should get paid. From there, push the recruiter to get you to where you want to be.

A few great places to research where you should be are:

PayScale - Find general information early on in your search.

Glassdoor - Use this to find out how much that company pays others in a similar role.

Of course there are many other places as well, but I have found those two places to be particularly useful. In this hot market, unless your salary is way above market value or you really hate your current job, you shouldn’t consider any job below a 20% increase.

A few key points:

Salaries are a personal thing that people don’t like to usually talk about, so it’s important that you take the initiative to do your own research, and find out what your value really is. Don’t rely on recruiters, or anyone source for that matter, not that recruiters aren’t nice people but reality is that they will have their own interests first.

Additionally whatever you decide to do in a job search, don’t let a recruiter bully you into taking a job you don’t really want to take especially if your gut is saying you should get more.

Recruiters will be pushy. Use the recruiter to your advantage and make clear what you’re looking for, so they can work for you and not against you.

P.S. Despite all I have said it is important to keep in mind that money isn’t everything. If you stumble upon a role that excites your or would allow you to further your career and expand your knowledge, rather than just your bank account, you should use your good judgment when considering it.

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