How to Talk Salary With Candidates

Home | How to Talk Salary With Candidates

How to Talk Salary With Candidates

When you first see the candidate’s resume, in passing, you think, ‘I wonder how much they make now?’

A similar question weighs on each applicant after they’ve submitted their resume, ‘I wonder how much they’d be paying?’  

And, whether you call it pay, salary, compensation or money – the topic is omnipresent in the pursuit of all qualified applicants.

So, if the topic is important enough to weigh on both hiring manager and candidate, why isn’t salary the first topic of conversations between the company and prospective employee?

There are many answers to that question: the unknown, the taboo nature of the topic in general or the thought that a number presented at an early stage might prematurely disqualify their candidacy.

A candidate might not be confident in their market value while hiring managers might have reservations about losing a good candidate’s full attention if an average salary wage is initially talked about.

It is time to get through the fear.

In fact, we encourage all hiring managers to address salary early with their candidates.

Here’s how:

Salary Tip #1: In the beginning, talk about salary in ranges (and expect a range in return).

Most companies have a range for salaries for the posted job based on a variety of factors – training required to do the job, certifications, experience, etc.  It is okay to provide that range, even if the top and bottom are divergent, during initial conversations about the job.

In fact, presenting salary ranges can be an easy way of getting into details about the candidate’s current compensation – a powerful tidbit when accessing “the number” that would be attractive enough for them to leave their present job in a tight market.

The initial ranges you provide should have merit and be supported by resources that any savvy candidate could find with a simple internet search – GlassdoorMonster, etc. – further validating your initial bargaining position.

Tip #2: Put your best offer forward with solid supporting data.

After a candidate has risen to the top of the list and an offer is imminent, hiring managers should make sure to provide a strong offer right away.  Anything less than your best will have a qualified candidate running – likely to more competitive offers that they already have in hand.

As a hiring manager, the compensation level MUST (again) be supported by market data.  A candidate will have a number in their head and, if the initial offer falls short, help them understand the salary shortfall explicitly, asking yourself:

Are they short on experiences that make them 100% day-one ready?

Do you envision a longer learning curve for them to get up to full speed?

Is the market here different than the market they live in today?

Are there other benefits that would far exceed expectations – pushing total compensation to above-market levels despite an average salary?

If the hiring manager has laid a solid foundation of trust throughout the interview process, the job offer should not catch a good candidate off guard.  The times of low-balled offers to initiate negotiations are gone – be fair and factual right away when an offer goes out.

Tip #3: The salary was right – but the candidate is still waffling, why?

We hear from hiring managers all the time, “We offered the salary they talked about, but they are not getting back to us about the offer.  Why?”

The answer brings us full-circle in the process – away from the dollars and cents of an offer and toward the “sense” the offer makes to the candidate at this point in their career, life and against all other decisions they might be weighing.

A recruiter could have done everything properly – set the stage for a strong compensation offer, talked with the candidate about their market value and established a relationship of trust during the interview process, but, for some reason the applicant does not jump at the offer.

If you find yourself here – it’s probably a “fit” issue.  Resist the urge to be impatient.  Instead, try to understand if the candidate believes the business fits their career goals, asking –

Did we miss any aspect of the job that is keeping you from accepting?

Are there any (non-technical or non-financial) issues we could address to help?

If you’d like to talk to anyone here about the opportunity again, please let us know.

Yes, salary is important – you cannot ignore that compensation is in the minds of each participant in a hiring process.  Talking about salary early and often with facts is helpful, but hardly provides a guarantee of hiring your #1 choice.

It should, though, increase your chances.  And, although we can never guarantee any placement, we can help any hiring manager lay a foundation of trust – even with topics as heavy as salary.    

Need help with market-based salary information?  Contact Goliath today.

By | 2018-10-24T13:45:08+00:00 September 4th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments