Job hunting is hard work. It requires patience, organization and communication skills. The opportunity to interview with an employer is your goal, but what is the employer really interested in? The answer should be your skills, so why do recruiters always ask salary expectations? What does that have to do with the job at hand?
As employers we should be looking at our job opening and understanding the key attributes and abilities that a person requires to be successful. Of course the next step is to prepare a job ad and start the interview process. At this point you should already have established your job requirements, qualifications and salary to have a productive search.
Candidates should have read and understood the job description, including salary
(If posted) before applying. Most people look at salary before even submitting an application, as let’s face it, money is the reason we work. Yet we are constantly asking candidates “What’s your salary expectation?” The real question should be “Does the salary we offer for this role meet your expectation?”
Why should we stop asking this question?
It’s irrelevant information that has nothing to do with the candidate's ability to perform and can create poor morale amongst the team if someone undervalues themselves. What someone is making, was making or wants to make is a personal question that should remain confidential as much as age, sex or race. A business sets a pay scale and controls all the variables when it comes to compensation so why are they asking what a candidate would expect when they already have a budget in mind?
Now I understand that some employers want their offer to be competitive and feel knowing a person's expectation is the best way to do this. This is a very invasive method for the candidate and feels a business can determine a fair compensation by following these simple steps:
Take part in salary surveys
Surveys are conducted and information is shared for this exact reason. You don’t need to ask someone what the wage or salary is if the information is already public knowledge. There are many variables in determining wage such as size of business and scope of responsibility, however it’s important to continue adding to surveys, as it will help future business streamline wages and become a more accurate resource for businesses.
In a world where we have access to information at our fingertips, you should not have a problem simply searching the Internet for salary even in competing job ads. You can source information through multiple sites that have already done comparisons or go live and search current job ads. You can even conduct your own market research and compare multiple people in your business doing similar roles to determine a wage that will be in line with your organization.
Employees will talk no matter what your policy is about salary. Great workplace culture, support, equality and most of that is measured in monetary value. Keeping a closed mouth policy makes it seem that wages and salary are more of a negotiation then compensation based on merit. Salary should be equal among staff doing relatively the same role so that its clear for future hires and creates a non-biased atmosphere for current staff.
Set a policy on increases and performance
It's easy for employees to follow the process once it's been established. Setting a policy for pay increases for all staff whether it’s annually or performance based allows you to reward staff without discrimination. Salary expectations formed by other organizations should not impact your company so establish your pay scale to benefit your business and reap the rewards from employees who don’t question a pay gap amongst each other.
Informing interviewees that you do not need their previous salary or require a salary expectation will reflect confidence in your business and put candidates more at ease. Informing salary to a candidate during the interview will also allow you to identify their level of interest and commitment. Candidates that are looking to be hired for no other reason than the almighty dollar may not be there for you long term and can sabotage a good work environment and make all other employees question their worth.
Looking at the big picture, if you need to fill a position be prepared with a salary, job description and list of attributes you're looking for and a good candidate is bound to accept your offer.