The decision to include a salary figure in a job ad has always been a contentious issue for both recruiters and job seekers alike. Will it polarise applicants? Will it increase my candidate pool? Will this job pay me what I am worth? Am I worthy of this salary range?

Posting a salary figure or range in a job advert can have applicants focusing on remuneration. Though an applicant still needs to upsell their ability to perform to a high standard and prove their worth, both financially and competence wise, often in an applicant’s mind they are already worthy of the top dollar figure touted. They do not want to hear that their potential employer is pitching them at mid-range. In this situation it can be disappointing and tough for a candidate to absorb this assessment of themselves. And this can be problematic for the recruiter. Their desired candidate may turn down the role or hold out for a higher salary offer. This is where the communication talents of the recruiter come to the fore….Sally I think you’re amazing and a perfect fit for our team here. We would love to have you on board. Where you are presently at in your career right now you are worth $70,000 to us. We see great potential in you and believe you can really grow your talents and your career with us. Typically we hire people with similar backgrounds to yours with a starting salary of $70K and are offering you the role for this salary. Will that work for you? Despite a salary range of $60-$80K publicised, you are demonstrating that you are realistic about Sally’s current level of knowledge and expertise, but are additionally offering her the capacity to grow and reach her full potential, and logically, a higher income. You have now caused the candidate to focus on their long term future rather than solely on their pending financial status.

Some will argue that the purpose of advertising a salary range is ascertain if they can hire someone at the rock bottom price advertised. Is this a blinkered view or is this common practice? Will this mean that those who are less qualified and more willing to settle for a lower income have a far greater chance at being hired? Or are employers simply banking on finding a great candidate who has no idea what they are worth in the marketplace? It’s food for thought. Most job seekers are very aware of their worth to an organisation. And if they are somewhat unclear on that matter, Google will rapidly put them in the know.

Some recruiters will ask a candidate what their current income is. Does this influence the final remuneration offer should the candidate be offered the role? I have a friend who was earning a salary that reflected poorly on her abilities and achievements. She had no qualms about answering such a question when asked in an interview. It gave a clear indication that she did not feel valued by her employer thus it validated her decision to seek employment elsewhere. The jaws of the recruiters that dropped with a loud thud clearly indicated that they too thought she was undervalued. They also knew that they needed to raise the bar substantially if they were to snag her. And they did.

A smart hiring manager can figure for themselves what a candidate is worth by reviewing their resume, interviewing them and checking their references. But what if you want to be certain that the candidate pool reflects the level of the role you are fulfilling? If you don’t trust that the job title and the task and responsibilities outlined in the job advertisement can attract the right pedigree, by all means be transparent about the remuneration package. Alternatively you can offer candidates to download a position description or seek further information by contacting your organisation. A phone call from them is after all the first step in the interview process, right?

Some companies refuse to advertise the value they place on their employees skill sets. They operate in a very competitive market where top talent is highly valued. They do not want their competitors knowing what carrot they dangle to lure talent. Advertising a position’s salary can also cause some internal ripples of negativity. If you do not pay equally across management levels, and this is known to employees, it could result in a few lower paid individuals exiting the building. Alternatively, they may opt to request a pay rise. Are you prepared for such scenarios? Some organisations offer incentives and perks to nullify the salary debate.

Regardless of whether or not a job’s remuneration is outlined in a job posting, it is imperative to have this conversation well before the positioned is offered. To wait until a contract is drawn can result in a less than impressive offer for the candidate and a need to retrace the recruitment steps for the hiring company who have had their offer rejected. Some industry positions may traditionally offer a wide salary range across the market, so it may be pertinent to ask any necessary questions before you embark on the application process. Having this conversation as early as possible will ensure that both the employer and the candidate are not wasting their time. Yet while an employer has had time to contemplate their preferred salary range for the role, as the candidate, will you be prepared to answer the question when asked what your salary expectations are of the role? In this situation, who is really setting the income tone?

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