What To Do When Salary Range Is A Topic In An Interview

Picture this scenario:

You’re ready to give an interview to a promising candidate. They’re well spoken, offer a ton of experience, and are a great fit for your company’s culture. Their resume speaks for themselves and they’re eager to get to work. All is well until you mention this.

A salary range.

Normally, a salary range is expected in an interview. It gives the employer a mental picture of how much resources a company needs to use and it gives the candidate an idea of what to expect working for the company.

However, this can often lead to unrealistic or high expectations on behalf of both parties that could derail a potential job hire or demotivated work.

How Does This Happen?

Talking about money can become an uncomfortable situation, but it has to be done. You need to entice your new talent and be considerate of a job applicant's time. You need to give them a reason to want to join your team and money is a major motivator.

However, mentioning a salary range poses this problem: expectations.

Let’s say you’re hiring for an entry level position. Your company can afford up to $40,000 as salary but the national average for this position is $30,000. You want to do what’s best for your company but also get the right people on board.

So while in the interview, you say that you can offer between $30,000 to $40,000. What’s the problem here? The candidate is going to go look at $40,000 while you’re hoping you can get them at $30,000. The job hasn’t even started but there’s already a riff in the negotiation and potential work-relationship

Why Does This Happen?

With the salary range discussion, a job candidate is going to want the most money, it’s only natural. So when offering a range, you’re already on the defensive since you want to also do what’s in the best interest of the company.

That being said, a job candidate may have a feeling of resentment or loss due to the fact that they didn’t get what they expected. They wanted to highest number possible, and anything lower than that looks like to them, a loss or you got them on a bargain.

Feelings of entitlement or unmotivated work could arise simply by propositioning the salary range in an interview.

What To Do Instead

When interviewing a candidate, instead of posing a salary range and inflate expectations, it’s best to offer a “base” or a “minimum” salary to a candidate, while giving a much higher number to the company’s hiring manager.

This controls expectations and lends itself to open interpretation in which both parties will be happy.

Instead of offering X amount up to Y amount, a better strategy would be to state what the starting salary is for that particular job. In fact, depending on skillset and experience, you can also mention that the candidate has a strong chance to make more than the initial base salary.

Now that you’ve established a baseline, you can work with the hiring manager to find a reasonable salary that won’t hurt the company’s finances while still providing value to the job candidate.

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