What is your salary?
A 'simple' question - but one that evokes terror and concern whenever it is heard. Only four words - yet they have incredible power.
- Terror - why do they need to know? How do I approach it?
- Concern - what if I make too much? What if I make too little?
Why do we need to know?To the simple question (what is your salary?) comes a simple answer. When we are conducting a search, we are given a salary range with an upper limit. Our goal - find the best candidates (best has multiple definitions - to be covered at another time) that fit the parameters of the job - INCLUDING the salary range. While we sometimes have flexibility, it is limited. As of this writing, we are about to take on a search that is, in part, the result of not having this discussion early in the process. Our prospective client made an offer to a great candidate they had sourced only to find out they were $100,000 apart. They had just gone through a long process that did not end well. Those four words could have been very helpful.
It's not polite to discuss salary. (AND I was given advice not to answer the question!)At least in Minnesota (where 'Minnesota-nice' is commonly referenced), I was once told (during my Pillsbury employment days) that salary is not discussed until late in the hiring process because both parties are trying to be polite.
- The candidate does not want to be the first person to bring it up.
- The employer wants to keep the conversation positive; talking about salary can cause tension.