How Do I Get Around an ATS When it Comes to the Salary Question?

Ann, really enjoyed reading this recent article and couldn’t agree more on answering “open” in this field. What I have encountered recently is some employers have made this field mandatory to be a number and it will give an error message if you place any text in the field. What is your suggestion in this situation? Thanks!

Ann-Z-newThat is a great question, thanks for asking!

Regardless of whether the question of salary is posed with a numerical or verbal required response , the strategy should always be to defer talk of specific numbers until you have had a chance to explore the opportunity in-depth. Since there are many factors that go into causing a top-performer to make a change in career, it is not logical to place a price tag on the position prior to fully evaluating the opportunity, career path, career culture, commute time, travel requirements, etc. etc.

Answer OPEN when queried on job application forms what your required compensation is.

When the application requires a numerical figure in order to move on through the process, consider adding something that is clearly illogical…ie 1111111, etc.

When asked during a live interview what your salary requirements are, defer the question to say that you want to learn as much as you can about the opportunity, career path, etc., before making that decision.

Research consistently shows that the longer a candidate can delay putting a dollar figure to procure his acceptance, the higher the compensation will be.

And finally, think long and hard before countering an offer. Determine the difference in money broken down by bi-monthly paychecks and net money as opposed to gross, and decide if it is worth risking the offer to go for more money. If you are working with a good recruiter, chances are she will be able to coach you if negotiating will be dicey, or safe. There are some companies that almost expect candidates to negotiate, and others that put their very best offer on the table and it is more of a “take it or leave it” situation.

If you are not working with a recruiter and are on your own, you can always ask after an offer is presented if there is any room for negotiation or if the offer is firm, and then proceed accordingly.


Ask Ann,

Have a question you’d like a recruiter to answer? Write to me at AskAnn@execunet.com



Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

A recruiter since 1996, Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is the president of International Search Consultants, a global executive recruiting firm launched in 1999.

ISC has become one of the country’s most reputable search firms, earning more recommendations on Linked In than any other 3rd party recruiting agency in the entire country. With a team of 15 talented recruiters, utilizing the very best high- tech tools available, ISC can produce highly qualified candidates for companies with hi-volume recruiting needs.

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