Fill In Job Application Salary Requests With $1

Filling out an online application is never an enjoyable experience, but one of the trickiest questions you run into is when it asks for your current or requested salary. Instead of entering in a number and hoping it works, career coach Robert Hellmann tells Forbes it's best to write in $1.

The reason is that online job applications automatically weed out candidates based on responses. You don't want to answer questions where a wrong answer would immediately disqualify you and you want to give the interviewer a reason to call you. The solution is to just enter in a small number:

Many forms won't let you complete them if you leave spaces blank. Hellmann advises putting in $1, $10 or $100, "anything to show you're not listing your real salary". Hellmann insists it's not fair to discuss compensation before you've had a real job interview.

The same goes for questions about your current boss and requests for references. For both you can write in "to be discussed" or "available upon strong mutual interest". This helps ensure you and the employer aren't wasting time. Check out the full article in Forbes for a few more tips and tricks to getting a better response after submitting online applications.

How to Make Them Respond When You Apply for A Job Online [Forbes]


    You say that you want to make sure you're not wasting time by listing references, but you seem quite happy to waste time by not putting a realistic salary on there, thereby not giving the employer a chance to see if your wages are a realistic fit.

      The employer should already have a reasonable expectation of what they are wanting to pay for the position - I don't see that your current wages are any of their business. If you would be taking a pay downgrade by taking this position, you, as the applicant, should already realise that.

      It's quite possible that you won't get an idea of what an appropriate salary is for the position until you sit down and discuss the exact requirements with the employer. Very few job ads will go into detail about exactly what they'll be expecting you to do, or when, or where, or with what equipment and resources.

    I would happily give references out on resumes if I was comfortable that that information wasn't being harvested by recruiters to target potential clients. I know that after I moved into jobs where people used me as a referee, I started getting a ton of cold calls from recruiters, trying to pitch their services to my company. I've had recruiters in the past admit to me that that's where they gather data.

    In terms of salary - The reason the recruiter or the business wants you to list your salary expectations is so that you anchor the negotiation. You want the job, clearly, you're applying for it, not being head hunted - so you are naturally inclined to anchor low, and the recruiter wins! If you're aware that it's an anchoring tactic - you anchor high so you seem like a bargain when you lower your price - but you might also exclude yourself from the the role by anchoring high - so you have to be conservative.

    If you don't anchor your application by giving a garbage number you rely on the employer or recruiter actually reading your resume, you in essence bet that your resume reads well enough to get a look anyway. If it does? You're in much better starting position to negotiate. With a bit of luck the recruiter or the business will anchor by giving you a dollar figure or a range. Then you can negotiate. If they do back you into the position of having to name the first number - you know more about the job, you know more about the situation and you can anchor accordingly. Even if they won't give you a single detail about the job or the situation before forcing you to anchor the negotiation, that tells you a lot about the people who want to employ you. And for me, that would probably make me want a lot more money to work with someone that eager to keep you in the dark until they push a number out of you.

    The risk to this strategy is that they'll just move on without looking at you. How many people with your skills do you figure are going to apply for the job? How badly do you want it. Etc. It's a risk calculation.

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