[Baypiggies] Question about employment application forms

Roderick Llewellyn roderick at sanfransystems.com
Sat Oct 24 20:52:35 CEST 2009

Hello All,
I have a question about how you all out there handle modern employment 
forms, which ask for salary requirements. Many of these online applications 
demand a numeric entry before you can even proceed with the application, so 
you can't enter things of the form of "negotiable" or "decline to state" or 
"make me an offer" lol.
Prior to about 10 years ago, companies never discussed salary until they 
were ready to make an offer, at which time they made the first move, usually 
issuing an offer letter. These days companies have decided to steal even 
that small negotiating advantage by making the candidate state his/her price 
before candidate even knows if the company has the slightest interest in 
them. I find this offensive, but that's how it's done now.
My question is: how do you handle this kind of thing? I'm not looking for 
people to tell me their salaries or the like. I'm interested mainly in the 
logical process by which you come up with a number to fill in these forms 
which demand one. I have been searching for work for a couple years now, and 
it's possible that the numbers I've entered in these forms have caused me to 
be eliminated without the firm even bothering to read my resume or the rest 
of my application (e.g., their application process has code of the form "IF 
salary_requirement [candidate] > our_incredibly_low_amount THEN reject 
(candidate)" )
For example, do people (who ideally have actually gotten jobs through this 
kind of process) have heuristics such as:
1. I enter in the last salary I made. At least we know I must have been 
worth that to somebody.
2. Same as 1., but I increase it by X %. After all I deserve a raise.
3. I always tell the truth, and enter in the minimum I would accept, since 
that maximizes my chance of getting a job I would actually take.
4. I enter in a large number, knowing that the firm will always cut it down, 
never increase it.
5. I roll the dice. One number is as good as another.
6. I do careful research to determine what similar positions pay to the one 
that I'm going for, and state a number similar to that. (Problem with that 
is that in my personal case, I have been unable to find useful salary 
information - my belief is that developer salaries have plummeted in the 
last few years, and can find no comparables to my 35 years of experience - 
which is valued at zero by the marketplace anyway).
Anyway those are just a few ideas. Please again don't get offended, I'm not 
trying to penetrate people's privacy, just trying to get a handle on how 
people have (ideally successfully!) deal with this very difficult (and in my 
opinion, totally unfair) question that now occurs on most firms' application 
Thanks very much,
Rod Llewellyn

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