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Salary Expectations

Salary negotiations can be hard. It can be intimidating to try to find a number that works for the company and the candidate, but it is vital in keeping the candidate aboard for the long haul if you hire them, and it plays a big role in creating a company culture where employees feel valued and important. You always want to make your employees feel valuable to your company, and that all starts in the hiring process. Read on to learn how to navigate your candidate’s salary expectations to ensure success.

What Are Salary Expectations?

Salary expectations are the pay expectations you set for a position while discussing a position opportunity with an employee or candidate. It is very important to discuss and be clear with your employees and job candidates about salary expectations. You don’t want to waste people’s time by not being upfront about the salary expectations for a job.

It can be awkward at times discussing how much someone wants to get paid, asking them how valuable they think they are, but if you don’t make salary expectations clear, it will only drive candidates further away from the job.

Why You Should Ask Candidates About Their Salary Expectations

You want to give the candidate a chance to provide what their salary expectations are for the job. They are more willing to share what their expectations are if you ask them before you say what the salary expectations for the job are. You don’t want to make them feel like they are settling or just telling you what you want to hear.

Another important reason why to ask the candidate their salary expectations is that it gives you a chance to understand how the candidate values themselves, in comparison to how you value the job itself. There is more that goes into how you value a candidate and how they value themselves than money, but this is part of the equation and is important to understand.

Asking a candidate about their salary expectations gives you the opportunity to see what motivates the employee. Some employees might share that they are more interested about the experience, responsibilities, company culture, benefits etc. It helps prevent confirmation bias, where you provide the salary expectations and then they just go along with it. Giving them a chance to truly express themselves will give you a chance to see the kind of person they are, and what makes them tick besides money.

How To Ask a Candidate About Their Salary Expectations

So how do you ask a candidate about their salary expectations? It can be hard to bring this up, as discussing money, while a vital part of the job, can be a bit awkward. Candidates don’t want to sound greedy, but they also want to be paid what they are worth.

If you don’t ask candidates the right questions about their salary expectations, they might end up settling and be unhappy at their job a few months later. If you ask the right questions while discussing salary expectations, it can save you and your company time and money in finding the right candidates for the job. Here are some steps you should take or consider when asking candidates their salary expectations.

Step 1: Job Description

Make it clear what is expected out of the job. Give a thorough description of the job and all the responsibilities it entails. This will give the candidate/employee a chance to put a value on the job. They can then decide what the job is worth and how it compares to their own personal value.

Again, this will save you and your company time and money. By having a clear and concise job description, it will attract the right candidates, as well as deter the candidates that might not be as interested in the job.

Step 2: Candidate/employee’s background

Learn more about the candidate’s background and see how it relates to the job description. If the candidate/employee can see the value they can bring to the job, based on their previous experience, and can see how they are potentially a fit for the position, they are more likely to be open with their salary expectations for the job.

Step 3: Salary range

Give the candidate/employee a chance to provide the salary range they are looking for. This allows for some wiggle room in the event that you are looking for someone on the lower or higher side of what they are wanting. A salary range will make it easier to come to a common ground for salary expectations. If the candidate gives a salary range, and it is a little higher or lower than yours, it will be easier to come together and decide on a salary that works for both parties.

What to Do With Information About a Candidate’s Expectations

A candidate’s expectations can be hard to manage. Understanding how they might be approaching their salary expectations will help you know how to respond to them. It will also help you think outside the box and provide you an opportunity to approach it in a way you might not have before.

Make sure you take the time to set the right salary expectations, and that you give the candidate an opportunity to convey their own salary expectations. If you do that, you will have more success in finding the right candidates and keeping those candidates aboard long-term.

If a Candidate Asks for More Than You Can Offer

Provide them with incentives on why the job is worth it, even if it is below their salary range. This could be anything from health insurance, bonus and commission opportunities, job advancement opportunities, culture or other additional benefits. Make sure the candidate understands everything the company has to offer.

Sometimes candidates have a finite number regarding pay and don’t take into consideration the benefits package, company culture, growth opportunities, etc. If they still balk at the pay being too low, ask them what it would take to close the gap on pay. If it is only a little off in pay, you might be able to pay a little more for the position than originally intended.

If a Candidate Asks for Less Than You Plan to Offer

Still offer the candidate what you were planning to offer. This is a great opportunity for goodwill. Right away, the candidate will see that you are a company that takes care of an employee and isn’t trying to save a buck simply because an employee asks for less money than you were going to offer. It also shows the candidate that you are taking a chance on them, and gives the candidate support immediately.

If a Candidate Asks for a Number in Your Salary Range

Tell the candidate that is right in line with what you are looking for to pay for the position. Also continue to sell them on all the company has to offer in perks and benefits. You want to continue to make the candidate excited about working for your company, even if they already align with what you think they should get paid.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Salary Expectations

Should I tell candidates what our salary budget is?
No, because if you decide to pay them less than the budget, then they will feel like you are undervaluing them or are trying to be cheap. A salary budget is also something that can fluctuate, so you don’t want to give a number to a candidate that might seem finite, when in reality it might not be.
What if a candidate doesn’t tell us their expectations?
If a candidate doesn’t give you their expectations, you can proceed to tell them what your company’s salary expectations are for the job. You don’t want to be pushy about finding out what they think they should be paid. Some candidates truly don’t know and will rely on the company to set the value for the position. If the candidate is comfortable or not with the salary expectations, they will let you know.

Tanner Pierce

Tanner has over 4 years of HR professional experience in various fields of HR. He has experience in hiring, recruiting, employment law, unemployment, onboarding, outboarding, and training to name a few. Most of his experience comes from working in the Professional Employer and Staffing Industries. He has a passion for putting people in the best position to succeed and really tries to understand the different backgrounds people come from.

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