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Conversations on Compensation: A Guide to Talking Salaries

Posted by Kelly Robinson

25-Feb-2015 13:00:00


Being transparent about the salary of your job postings and in person can be a rough game, but companies and employees alike have to play it. Though Millennials are beginning to value the work itself over the money they make working, 66% of respondents to a recent CareerBuilder survey cited salary concerns as the biggest reasons they're quitting their jobs. Workers leave for all kinds of reasons, but chances are, if they believe they're making enough money and feel like they wouldn't be able to get similar compensation somewhere else, they're less likely to leave. This makes nailing the initial salary posting and negotiating changes that much more important, not playing coy with what you’re willing to pay for good work will save both you and your potential hires a headache down the road.


broadbeantwitter-01 66% of millennials cited salary as the biggest reason they quit their jobs. 


You could always offer a raise later if you didn't get it right the first time, but this is an even trickier game. Like going on a date, raises can involve a lot of waiting to see who will go first, and 55% of employees don't ask for a raise on a yearly basis. As an employer, you can't avoid the raising game sometimes, but playing the initial salary game a bit better when sourcing your candidates can help you avoid feeling like raises are a do or die situation. So what's the best way to ensure your new hire is satisfied with what you're paying them? We've got answers. 


Make Sure it's a Negotiation

Employees -- and especially women -- are uncomfortable negotiating the salaries you post on job board sites. While it's helpful for candidates to know how much you're going to pay your new employee, posting a definite number can give the impression that the salary is a done deal, with no wiggle room. Make sure you make it clear in your job postings that the salary is negotiable by either saying as much on the ad (it's better to list "Salary: Negotiable" than not posting anything at all). You might not be in charge of what you can pay your candidates, but you can offer a range so they know whether the position is in their range.

Making sure candidates know salaries aren't definite will help the 57% of workers who did not negotiate their salary. While not negotiating may seem like a boon for you from the outset, it could mean creating a worker with low job satisfaction, 54% of which end up asking for a raise, whereas workers with high satisfaction only ask for a raise 41% of the time. Making it clear you’re willing to negotiate now will end up saving you a lot of trouble in the future, so make sure the new hire goes into the process knowing they'll have to ask for something. If your salary isn’t negotiable, well, say as much in the ad! 


Make the First Move

When you're talking salaries, it's important to know what the employee will be expecting from the conversation. That said, there are a number of resources and guides out there for candidates to help them negotiate a salary, and many of your candidates are going to take that advice in with them. For example, one method relies on never telling you how much they're willing to take, regardless of you knowing that if they're applying for the job posting you made (with the suggested salary range!), they're most likely going for something in the range of the salary.

This method is interesting not because of how it works, but what it says. Candidates want you to make the first move so they can work around your initial offer, accepting it if it's high enough or upping it if it's too low. This could lead to you overpaying some for your new hire, but it should never be too much. Besides, if replacing a salaried employee costs 6-9 months of their salary, it might be worth it to spend a little more at the outset.

There are of course a few other things you should consider when negotiating a salary: is the candidate worth it? Can I offer any non-monetary benefits to help coax them into the job? These are more case-by-case considerations, however, and you should use your best judgment when deciding. However, a healthy knowledge of how the salary game is played, the benefits of making your negotiation practices more clear, and knowing the job described on the job board site should help you nail a great new worker at fair price.


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Topics: Job Posting , Job Advertisements , Compensation