For Employers

Why you should always talk about salary

Captivate Talent
September 8, 2018
5 min read
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or candidates, not asking about salary is the best way to ensure you don’t move forward in your career. For hiring managers, not discussing the compensation of the job for which you’re hiring for will inevitably land you with the wrong candidates.

Salary is a topic that the whole of the hiring world is unanimously afraid to address. I noticed an old article that said salary is a taboo topic that, when brought up, makes it seem like candidates are only in it for the money.

But, in reality, this is not the case. Good hiring managers realize that salary is an important part of any job, especially in a candidate driven market. Managers can use salary as a motivating feature of their culture when recruiting and retaining candidates.

Furthermore, good candidates show their confidence by asking about compensation, ensuring they’ll be paid for the value of their skills. In fact, top talent will almost always talk about salary in the interview, because they know that they deserve the best compensation for their superior skills.

Salary is one of the most important parts of any job. Nowadays, it’s not always the most important, as flexible work arrangements are edging their way in as a key factor in job decisions. Still, salary comes in first on whether or not someone will accept a job offer.

Compensation is a person’s livelihood. It says whether or not they can pay their rent or mortgage each month. It says whether or not they will help their kids go to college or take that vacation.

Salary is such a crucial part of employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity. Thus, it needs to be a driving factor in hiring as well.

Transparent Salary Conversations

Talking about salary among coworkers and friends isn’t a taboo subject anymore. A recent study found that 50% of millennials talk about compensation with their friends, compared to the 36% of the overall American working population. Younger generations are 4x more likely to talk about their pay than baby boomers. This demonstrates a shift in how our workplace culture is approaching the idea of transparent compensation.

Transparency Is Key When Discussing Salary In The Interview Process.

If you were buying a house, you’d ask the price. You want to make sure that the square footage and the features of the house are worth the asking price. In fact, you often narrow your house search based first on price, then on location and features.

Hiring managers should do the same by asking candidates what they expect to be paid for their work. Will the company be able to afford and compensate this candidate appropriately? Salary can and should be a way to narrow down the applicant search during the screening process.

If managers avoid talking about salary during the interview process, they waste everyone’s time and energy. I’ve seen it a million times: managers will get through the whole hiring process without discussing the “touchy” subject of salary…only to find that when they make the offer, the candidate was expecting a completely different number.

If the two can’t negotiate to an even-ground, the hiring manager has to start the hiring process all over again. (And if the manager is smart and learns from that mistake, he or she will ask about expected compensation in the early stages of the screening process.)

Aligning salary between the company and the candidate ensures that the right people come through the hiring funnel.

The same is true for candidates. Each worker should have an estimated idea of what their skills are worth, based on their previous salary, industry salary averages, and their own unique considerations. Candidates should be confident in telling their employer the price tag of their own value.

Transparently discussing salary puts the control of the salary in the candidate’s hands. The applicant can begin the negotiations based on their ideal compensation, rather than on what the company decides to price them.

Intro 1253: Salary History Ban

However, Intro 1253, a new law in NYC, is changing this transparency of salary talk—likely for the better. In May, Mayor de Blasio signed a bill that prohibits all NYC employers from inquiring about salary history. Notice the word history. It does not prohibit employers or candidates from talking about salary in general; it prohibits them from talking about salary history.

The goal of this law is to level the playing field, especially for women and people of color who are often paid less for the same work. This ensures that when someone is looking for a new job, they aren’t stuck in the same pattern of salary inequality that they may have had in previous jobs. It can often feel like the same salary follows “from job to job” without the ability to make greater leaps or compensation promotions.

For example, you were making $70,000 at your last job. You know that most people in your position—even in the same company—are making $85,000. When you apply to a new job, you don’t have to tell that new employer that you were previously making $70,000 at your last job. You can start negotiations at $85,000. Your employer doesn’t have to know that you’ve just given yourself a $15,000 raise (that you deserve).

With this law, does that mean you should stop being transparent about salary? Hell no. In fact, it calls for even more transparency.

You can walk into that job interview and demand $85,000 just like everyone else is receiving. You don’t have to rely on your job history to build the salary you want. You can discuss what you expect to be paid and why.

You create your own salary negotiations… which means you need to be negotiating and talking about salary openly.

The Transparency of Salary With Recruiters

If you’re a candidate looking to work with a recruiter, like our team at Captivate Talent, transparency is even more critical. The role of a recruiter is to find you the perfect job with your ideal compensation packages.

Although the new NYC law bans asking about salary history, we recommend that candidates tell us their salary of their own accord.

Why? Because we want you to make more. We want to know how much you were making versus how much you should or could be making.

If you’re a hiring manager working with a recruiter to find candidates, we insist that you tell us how much you expect to offer your candidates. We don’t want to pull in candidates that you can’t afford. Worse yet, we don’t want to pull in candidates that are below your desired skill or value level.

Talking about compensation puts everyone on the same page.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a candidate, you deserve to earn an appropriate salary. You have the right to request the compensation that you’re worth and that will help you live the lifestyle you want.

If you’re an employer, you can still ask what your candidate expects to be paid (without asking about their salary history). You have the right to ensure that the person you hire is worth their salary.

Contact Captivate Talent now to start finding an ideal match between job, skillset, and compensation package. Fill roles and find jobs quickly, efficiently, and at the price you deserve.


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