Let's Stop Shying Away from Discussing Pay in Recruiting

Let's Stop Shying Away from Discussing Pay in Recruiting

It Seems Like a Good Idea

In 2016, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent ( source ). 

In 2016, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent (source). 

A little while back, I was listening to a podcast that was focused on pay transparency and how some companies are posting the salaries of all employees in the company for everyone to see. While many companies are not at that point, or don’t have the current culture to dictate that level of transparency the podcast brought up a good point.

The employer is holding all the cards when it comes to discussing salary. If an applicant states they are expecting something that would be too high for the company, they lose. If they expect something lower than the wage range, the company wins, but they lose. If they magically hit the number the company is thinking about, everyone is happy. I wish I remember the name of the talk or which podcast this was because it really made me look inward. Why do we do this, if we want to build trust and rapport with the applicant?


Why Do We Hold Salary Information Close to the Chest?


If I were to think about starting a new position, as I was going through the interview process, I would hate to go through the entire process and not know if my expectations aligned with the companies. I think that most people feel this way. There are a few reasons (by no means an exhaustive list) of why I can think it’s hard for a recruiter to talk about pay.

  1. There’s no compensation structure in place that formally dictates the pay range for the position.
  2. The company is looking to get an applicant at the low-end of the spectrum and doesn’t want to divulge the range.
  3. The employer wants to learn what the market dictates without going through salary surveys and gain that information as they go.

Here is my argument for why we should start sharing pay early on.


Stop Wasting Everyone’s time (Including Yours).


When we don’t post salary or wage ranges for positions, or at least discuss them during an initial conversation with an applicant you can spend hours working with candidates, only to find out that their expectations don’t align with yours. Applicants and you have taken time out of the day to speak to each other about the role, on probably more than one occasion. You start working through and funneling candidates through our out of the process, then you get to the end only to find out that your preferred applicant and you are in line with expectations and can’t be.

If you can post the wage range for the position in the requisition, most of the time you will only be getting those applicants that are interested in the position for the range you are able to pay. If you can’t post the range, for whatever reason, the least we should be able to do is speak about compensation during the first conversations. This will show that you want to be open and transparent and can set a positive tone for the conversations moving forward.


Let’s Trust Each Other.


If this person comes to work with you and your company, you are going to trust them with the roles and responsibilities that you laid out for the position, but so far this has been a one-way relationship, how can that employee trust you? Turning the interviewing process in to a two-way conversation and information flow is crucial for the applicant to feel they can trust you too. Not only will they trust that you are paying them fairly, but it sets up trust in the entirety of the relationship and engrains it to your culture.

It also starts with you showing that you are an ethical and respectable company. Obviously, you can be an ethical and respectful company without discussing pay during the first conversations, but it’s much easier to start with the right foot forward in a new employee relationship. It adds one more brick to the pile for building a good relationship.


Equal Pay for Equal Work.


You knew I was going to get there at some point. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “Women are almost half of the workforce. They are the sole or co-breadwinner in half of American families with children. They receive more college and graduate degrees than men. Yet, on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men. In 2016, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent.” To see the full article, with a lot of great links to more information click this link.

By posting the salary ranges that we are looking to pay for the positions we are recruiting for, we aren’t considering gender. This is one way that we are combating gender inequality in pay. Another way we can do this is to not ask what an applicant is currently making, frankly, it’s none of our business and in some states you either can’t ask what their salary history is or use it in a decision.


Again, What is Your Rambling About Erin?


The world is changing, and we need to change with it. More and more employees are looking for collaboration and meaningful work, and as companies we need to work with people to make these environments happen. An easy way to do this, and a great start to bringing someone on the team…. openness.


Photos by Brooke Cagle and rawpixel on Unsplash

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