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5 Tips for Discussing Salary during the Hiring Process

August 18, 2017 By: Dave Rietsema
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Salary is obviously one of the biggest factors in an applicant accepting a job, but it can be uncomfortable to address. Recruiters and employers may fear negotiations and therefore put off the conversation until later on in the interview process. Salary can have bearing on whether a candidate refuses the job offer and how long an employee stays, however, so it’s important to get the conversation right.

The following are a few tips that can help to discuss salary at the right time and in the right way.

1. Use Previous Salaries As a Guideline, If Possible

If previous salaries are listed on the job application, use this as a guideline to figure out whether your offer will be in line with the candidate’s expectations. This isn’t an invitation to pay less than usual, but rather to ensure that the candidate won’t be expecting more than what your company generally pays. If it’s possible to raise the pay offer to meet a previous salary for a top prospect, it may be well worth it.

2. Make an Offer As Early As Possible

Waiting until a final interview to make a salary offer can be a mistake if the candidate refuses the offer. Labor time will have been wasted and the candidate may feel unhappy that they invested so much time in the company before receiving an unacceptable salary offer. While it may feel uncomfortable to discuss salary in early stages of the interview process, it can save time and money.

3. Be Prepared to Answer Salary Questions

Bringing up salary opens up the floor for the candidate to ask questions and negotiate, so be prepared for these discussions. It may be helpful to have a little wiggle room in the salary, just in case a candidate makes a counter offer. Knowing about benefit offerings and other perks may be the difference between job offer acceptance and rejection.

4. Be Transparent About Job Responsibilities

While a salary may seem to be in line with a candidate’s expectations and previous salaries, there may still be a disparity if a position requires much more work or different hours than what the candidate is accustomed to. Discussing job responsibilities and details with a high degree of transparency may shed some light onto these disparities before the employee begins working and potentially becomes disgruntled.

5. Discuss the Potential for Raises

If raises are given regularly or if a standard raise is given quickly after an initial probationary period, it may help to persuade a candidate to take a job even if the salary is slightly lower than his or her expectations. Talking about raises and honestly discussing their frequency and typical amounts can help to set the stage for a good employer/employee relationship.

Talking about salary is something that will need to be done at some point during the hiring process no matter what, so following best practices just makes sense. Employees may stay on longer and be more satisfied if they receive the salary that they expected for the work that was detailed in the ad and during the hiring process.


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