It used to be the job hunter’s unofficial rule: never be the first to initiate salary discussions during the job search. However, a transformed job market and the arrival of the age of digital access and instant gratification has resulted in a departure from the ways of the past. While hiring managers used to conduct interviews with some certainty that salary discussions wouldn’t be brought to the table, today’s HR professionals must be prepared to talk money from the get-go in order to ensure optimal outcomes.
Do Your Prep Work
Being caught off guard about salary questions early in the interview process can lead to disastrous results. Rather than take that risk, plan out and write down what you will say ahead of time, including any particularly relevant points. Frame each point within the context of the company you’re representing. While talking about money is never easy, doing so from a corporate perspective can make the task easier.
It can also be helpful to consider beforehand how the candidate may respond to the salary range; for example, if a candidate expresses disappointment over the numbers, you can position yourself to counter appropriately.
Ultimately, the ability to have a frank discussion early in the process offers a unique opportunity to get on the same page with a job seeker and move forward in the most efficient way.
Not to mention: today’s hiring decisions are made much more quickly than 50, 20 or even 10 years ago, so it makes equal sense that this discussion might come up sooner.
The most effective way to align your expectations with those of your prospective employees when it comes to compensation is to provide essential information about the company and its operations. By sharing a big picture view of your organization, job seekers can more easily understand the position — and salary — within this broader context.
The more the conversation is grounded in facts, the more likely a candidate is to respond positively. Do your research so you can explain how other people with the same title and skill set are paid in the current job market in order to present the offer as a fair one.
This is also an ideal time to point out that compensation is much more than a salary. Use this as an opportunity to explain other employee benefits — both monetary and in terms of opportunities for career growth.
A handshake AND a salary discussion? It’s happening.
According to a survey by leading IT staffing company Robert Half, 31 percent of human resources managers believe it’s acceptable to bring up compensation as early as the first interview; less than eight percent, meanwhile, indicated that they’d discount a job applicant because he/she initiated a discussion about compensation.
As the world keeps spinning faster, it’s likely the trend will continue. Ultimately, the modern-day business landscape is one in which there’s little downside to asking about salary in the initial stats of the interview process and much to gain in terms of making the most effective and efficient use of the time of both employer and prospective employee.
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