Why it’s important to be consistent with your salary expectations
Thankfully, the job market is really picking up so if you are looking for a new role currently, you will hopefully be called upon to manage a job offer in the near future.
Offer Management, as we call it in the wonderful world of recruitment, is possibly the most important part of the recruitment process. Too many people make the mistake of thinking that once they’ve nailed the interview process then that’s it, however years of experience has shown me that sometimes the offer stage is where the problems can start.
A lot of this comes down to little or no management of this in the early stages of a process. As a recruiter, you are always taught that Offer Management begins in the first conversation with a candidate and should continue in every subsequent conversation. Indeed, if you have worked with a Recruitment Consultant, you may have wondered why they ask you so regularly what your salary expectations are or whether any of your circumstances have changed? If they do this, you can be reassured that, rather than losing their marbles, they are actually doing their job properly which will hopefully serve you well in the long run!
The reason a good consultant will ask you this in every conversation is two-fold:
Firstly, to check that something actually hasn’t changed – that you haven’t had a pay increase or promotion at work which may then affect your expectations for instance.
Secondly, to get you thinking about it! With the stress and excitement of getting through the interview process, you may not have given much thought to what getting the job will actually mean. For instance, you may have said at the beginning that you were open on location however when it comes down to it, you really don’t want to move.
There are so many factors which should be considered when managing an offer however the single biggest factor is salary. Get this wrong and you can lose the opportunity.
I recently experienced this with a candidate who, at final stages in a process, drastically changed their salary expectations mid way through the process. Despite having covered this in detail with them since our first conversation, the candidate hadn’t discussed it in depth with their partner and so, when they finally got round to doing so, their partner had very different ideas about what they could afford. Note to self – ALWAYS check that the partner has been consulted and is in agreement!
Having already communicated detailed salary expectations to the client, I had to go back and say that the candidate now wanted more. Despite explaining the situation, the client couldn’t help but feel that the candidate was ‘land-grabbing’ now that they were in a favoured position. Let’s be clear – this is not clever negotiation but rather smacks of greed, not the best way to start a relationship with a potential employer.
So how can you make sure that you don’t find yourself in this position?
- When you enter into a process for a job you are serious about, ensure that you have visibility of what the salary, package and location are likely to be.
- Ensure that you have a detailed breakdown of your current salary and package – only then can you compare like for like. Click here for guidance
- As the process develops, keep track of any changes which may affect your decision. For instance, if the location changes, check that this is still feasible and if not, communicate this ASAP.
- Crucially, if you have a partner and dependents, talk to them. Discuss implications of any offer on salary and benefits. Can you afford to make the move and what is the minimum salary you would accept? If taking the role would require a house move, check that the whole family are in agreement. I once had a senior candidate who nearly rejected a role which required relocation because his wife didn’t want to change gyms…
- Keep your partner updated throughout the process. Offer Management isn’t just about managing yourself but managing those around you too.
If you do have a genuine change in circumstances which cause your expectations to increase, communicate this as early as possible in the process and explain the reason why. If it is a genuine reason, for instance because you have had a pay increase or your costs have increased significantly, being open and demonstrating flexibility will hopefully lead to a more beneficial and positive negotiation.