So I'm putting together some common objections/responses that candidates give when asked what salary range they are targeting.  We don't advertise our range per position on our job postings nor do we just want to volunteer that info to candidates. 

 

What have you all heard in terms of rebuttals when you ask a candidate about salary expectations and they don't want to give it to you?  Back in the contract game I would always use the "well most candidates are coming in at ______ range....does that range seem feasible to you?  What exact number are you looking for?"

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I don't experience resistance very often to this discussion. But from past experiences, I also know from the other side when a recruiter or company is discussing a position with me, a big part of my decision would be compensation. When do you normally let the candidate in on the compensation piece? And is your question only in reference to a discussion about one specific position with the candidate? (If I am talking with a candidate that may be a fit for more then one position, they will have to let me know their compensation needs and wants so I can determine what positions to look at with them.)

Generally I simply avoid that question by asking, "What is your current annual salary?" While some candidates push back, most are willing to give me an answer. If I do get push back, I reply that I'm screening candidates for the hiring manager/customer and before I forward a resume, I need to ensure the salary expectations are within the position range.

 

If they still refuse to answer, I thank them for their time and hang up. If a candidate is willing to play such hard-ball, I figure they are not the kind of individual I want to represent.

 

I'm just sayin'!

Generally on the corporate side (hiring for one employer and the individual typically only fits one type of job...marketing, sales, database design, ect.) I get the question pushed back at me by most sales candidates.  I usually ask what their compensation package was made up of - salary + commission, 100% commission, and what the actual numbers are - then I ask what they are targeting.  At that point I usually get, "I'm fairly open.  What salary range are you looking at given my level of experience?"  The point here is that I want to hear it from them what they think is expected within the role...I don't want to assume they are targeted the same amount.  To me their number shows the level of expectation and motivation.  This hasn't happened yet, but I don't want to get to a point with a candidate where they are excited about us and we are excited about them yet can't get them in the door due to difference in salary expectations.  However, if they give me a number, I absolutely give them a general idea of where we stand, "That is right around the range we are looking at" or "You will have a hard time reaching that dollar amount in this role".
If someone won't give me their current salary, I let them know they need to find a recruiter they feel more comfortable with. If I can't get their salary what else are they not disclosing to me? The relationship needs to be based on trust. I put it to them like working with an attorney and if you cannot get enough information to properly represent them, you're wasting your time.
It's important to know Candidate's current salary with all the pluses. I never talk about other candidates and their ranges..most people are forthcoming.

I just tell the candidate that knowing their range helps me protect their interests going forward...never fails. I tell them, "if this gets to the point where you are talking money and they lowball you, we walk and find a serious company, so there's no need to fear sharing the salary range with me". 

 

Once the candidate figures out I'm an advocate of theirs, they play ball.

 

Keith,

 

Normally I would go through the salary history of the last 3 or 4 positions by asking what the starting salary was and what the ending salary was when they left. (Same can be done for Total Income of sales people). This allows you to see if any raises were given and can also offer another talking point with the candidate. Once you have this information you can discuss thier expectations based on historical data. If they are seeking a big raise then ask them why they feel they deserve such a large raise based on the history.

 

Also if you explain that you need three points of data in order to make sure the internal range, external market value and the candidates expectations are in line. Think of the salary discussion as a triangle with all three of these points and if you explain that the internal salary range and external market value are the two points you have a strong understanding of but you need to hear what the candidates expectation is so you can create the right number based on all three points of the triangle. Let them know that you are not asking this to disqualify them but rather to understand them and they will be more receptive to answering.

 

Finally if they are really pushing not to tell you, which normally they don't after explainig the above, I normally just tell the candidate not to take offense but "I really don't care what you are looking for" and it has no bearing on me representing them or not. The number they are expecting just creates what kind of conversation I will have with the hiring manager. IE if they are seeking lower than the salary range I will be able to negotiate a raise for them or if they are seeking more than the range that is a different conversation with the hiring manager either prior to the interview or post interview but it needs to be done as quickly as possible as to not waste anyone's time.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Cheers,

Stuart Musson

Career Transition Specialist @ TalentLab Inc.

LinkedIN: www.linkedin.com/in/stuartmusson

Facebook: Stu Musson

Twitter: www.twitter.com/PreciseRecruit

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