Salary Info double standard?

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investingdad
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Salary Info double standard?

Post by investingdad » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:47 am

I've been casually perusing job openings in my area, nothing too serious but keeping an eye out. I found something that looked interesting and decided to at least toss out my resume to see if the company wanted to chat. For reference, this is a mid-career engineering role with a division of a very well known, large coporation.

The submittal process was entirely online and the form would not advance to the next step until all required information was filled out.

I was annoyed to find that Salary requirement was one such item. It's generally accepted that the applicant doesn't inquire about salary until further into the process. But the hiring companies apparantly want to screen applicants for their income expectation before even talking with them.

Based on the requirements, my background is a dead on match. But I do expect to be paid and I certainly wouldn't take a paycut. I have to wonder, if a company is so focused on saving, say, 15K on a person's salary that they'd screen them out even though the person could come in and hit the ground running, is that really the best move? They'd rather have somebody come up the curve over a year or so to realize that small savings? At what productivity losses?

Somebody educate me please.

:confused

dickenjb
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by dickenjb » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:05 am

It is pretty simple really, let's say the company is trying to fill a certain position at a Hay Grade of XYZ and the range for that position is $80K to $120K with a midpoint of $100K.

Let's say you personally are looking to start with them at $110K.

It is pretty clear that if they hired you, they would have to either convince you to come in below what you want, or bring you in above the midpoint which would mean inflationary pay increases at best until you could be promoted. Neither makes for a happy employee.

Presumably the position already has a pay grade assigned to it so that is not going to change.

They are trying not to waste your time and theirs.

When I was a hiring manager I had the headhunter take care of this prescreening item, it is part of what you are paying the recruiter for. I told him what we were willing to pay and he did not bring me candidates who were looking for more than the position paid.

Now if the company would use that info to lowball you and bring you in at a low salary just because you are not making a competitive salary now - that is despicable behavior in my opinion. When I found someone who was for whatever reason undercompensated and they were a great candidate, I used that as an opportunity to give them a nice increase to join us.

Bottom line, just like when you are selling your house, there is a market price for talent. Price your house too high and it will languish on the multilist. Would you go looking at houses if there was no asking price? Would you go to see a 3000 SF house listed at $1MM when every similar 3000 SF house in the neighborhood sold for $600K? I don't think so.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:11 am

Nothing new about this. Way back in BI (Before Internet) days it wasn't unusual for employment ads in the newspapers to request resumes and cover letters specifying salary requirements.
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SimonJester
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by SimonJester » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:20 am

Good insight Dickenjb, I wonder what they do if you put 0.00 in that spot? Does it automatically send your application into the proverbial electronic trash can?
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by fposte » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:21 am

They've also likely factored those stretch candidates into the range they've budgeted for, so if you're outside of their planned range, you're too much of a stretch. (And it may be cheaper to accept low performance for a few learning curve months than to add the long-term heightened expenses of a higher starting salary.)

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hornet96
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by hornet96 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:27 am

In the past, I would enter "negotiable" in this section of the application. If you can enter a non-numeric value in the form, this might be an option for you.

Basically, in my view this box is an opportunity for HR departments to gather market intelligence about salaries for various jobs. Unfortunately, disclosing a number "first" is sometimes part of the dog and pony show you have to go through if you really want the job (especially in a weak job market), since the potential employer holds all the cards.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:28 am

dickenjb wrote:Bottom line, just like when you are selling your house, there is a market price for talent. Price your house too high and it will languish on the multilist. Would you go looking at houses if there was no asking price? Would you go to see a 3000 SF house listed at $1MM when every similar 3000 SF house in the neighborhood sold for $600K? I don't think so.
The difference between paying for a house and for an employee in a major corporation is the economic concept of agency. When paying for a house, you are the principal, it's your money. When paying for an employee, you are an agent of a large corporation; you are paying corporation's money but getting an employee who will affect your own productivity.

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XtremeSki2001
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by XtremeSki2001 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:38 am

investingdad wrote:Based on the requirements, my background is a dead on match. But I do expect to be paid and I certainly wouldn't take a paycut. I have to wonder, if a company is so focused on saving, say, 15K on a person's salary that they'd screen them out even though the person could come in and hit the ground running, is that really the best move? They'd rather have somebody come up the curve over a year or so to realize that small savings? At what productivity losses?
I very much dislike these types of requirements when applying. I've typically always input the highest salary amount commensurate with my experience, within some degree of reasonableness. I've only encountered this twice. One company reject my resume almost immediately based on my requirements (6 months later they were calling me - apparently their budget was too tight to attract the right people) the other company saw my requirements and felt it was a bit high and this started a process of understanding my real range and theirs.

This application process, in my opinion, is evidence the employer may not pay competitively.
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leonard
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by leonard » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:31 am

A salary for a position can't be provided in advance - because there are too many unknown variables: Bonus eligibility, signing bonus, stock compensation, 401k, medical benefits, etc etc. What the applicant also doesn't know - really until the interview - whether the opportunity is really a "great" one.

So, the value to the potential employee of a position is really:

1. Salary
2. Value of the collection of other benefits
3. The "greatness" of the actual opportunity itself.

So, with variables 2 and 3 undefined at the beginning of the recruiting process - it's impossible and ridiculous to establish salary at the beginning.

If I was faced with this required salary field - I'd put $1. Then, indicate during the screening interview the logic outlined above - can't define salary without seeing the total compensation picture.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:35 am

XtremeSki2001 wrote:This application process, in my opinion, is evidence the employer may not pay competitively
[attribution fixed by admin LadyGeek]

I don't agree - it is evidence that the company is fiscally responsible and doesn't want to waste your time or theirs unnecessarily.
I've used this question myself in hiring. If the most I can pay is X for certain position why waste my time and yours talking to you if you require 2X. If someone requires X+0.2X I'd have the conversation. If they put "negotiate" I'd have the conversation. As a Director with several hiring managers I know what salaries are reasonable for each position and which aren't. I also know what range I can get approval for from my CFO/HR-SVP when making a hire. If you are outside this range - and I know I can find excellent talent inside my range - I don't want to waste your time.

I'd recommend entering a range if you can.
Last edited by DaftInvestor on Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:37 am

DaftInvestor wrote:
XtremeSki2001 wrote:This application process, in my opinion, is evidence the employer may not pay competitively
[attribution fixed by admin LadyGeek]

I don't agree - it is evidence that the company is fiscally responsible and doesn't want to waste your time or theirs unnecessarily.
I've used this question myself in hiring. If the most I can pay is X for certain position why waste my time and yours talking to you if you require 2X. If someone requires X+0.2X I'd have the conversation. If they put "negotiate" I'd have the conversation. As a Director with several hiring managers I know what salaries are reasonable for each position and which aren't. I also know what range I can get approval for from my CFO/HR-SVP when making a hire. If you are outside this range - and I know I can find excellent talent inside my range - I don't want to waste your time.

I'd recommend entering a range if you can.
I did not write that, XtremeSki2001 did. [I fixed it. --admin LadyGeek]

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:38 am

Sorry Victoria - don't know that happened - I always just highlight and hit "Quote". Edited your name out of my post... [I fixed it. --admin LadyGeek]

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hornet96
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by hornet96 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:40 am

DaftInvestor wrote:If the most I can pay is X for certain position why waste my time and yours talking to you if you require 2X.
.....
If you are outside this range - and I know I can find excellent talent inside my range - I don't want to waste your time.
Well then, if you're serious about not wanting to waste anyone's time, then why don't you just state your approved salary range upfront, rather than making the applicant enter a number? That way, the applicant's time wouldn't be wasted at all if he logs on and sees that your number is too low, and then abandons the application.

investingdad
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by investingdad » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:48 am

hornet96 wrote:
DaftInvestor wrote:If the most I can pay is X for certain position why waste my time and yours talking to you if you require 2X.
.....
If you are outside this range - and I know I can find excellent talent inside my range - I don't want to waste your time.
Well then, if you're serious about not wanting to waste anyone's time, then why don't you just state your approved salary range upfront, rather than making the applicant enter a number? That way, the applicant's time wouldn't be wasted at all if he logs on and sees that your number is too low, and then abandons the application.
A fair point.

This position had not listed salary. But they wanted me to tell them my expectation with a number (only one number, not a range).

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:53 am

We post ranges with most of our positions. Some companies may not as their application process may be applicable to a variety of changing positions.

If you are looking at larger companies you can check the ranges of the salaries for the position and company you are looking for on www.glassdoor.com - their sample sizes are small (but getting better) and some positions have a huge range but at least it will give you an idea. There is also good data about job satisfaction, etc here if you aren't familiar with it.

investingdad
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by investingdad » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:54 am

Maybe I should list 'Boglehead' on my resume... :D

One would think that a fellow Boglehead would recognize the value of hiring a person for whom typical financial strains may not apply.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:58 am

I guess it really doesn't matter whether anyone likes it or not. It is what it is as long as there are more qualified applicants available than employers have open slots needing to be filled.
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VictoriaF
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:06 pm

investingdad wrote:Maybe I should list 'Boglehead' on my resume... :D

One would think that a fellow Boglehead would recognize the value of hiring a person for whom typical financial strains may not apply.
For people unfamiliar with Jack Bogle and the Bogleheads it could be a turn-off, an affiliation with some strange sect. I recommend writing "Member of the BH Forum." The Bogleheads will recognize it, others will ask you what it means.

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FelixTheCat
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by FelixTheCat » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:10 pm

I'm thankful employers use salary as a possible screening tool. I wouldn't want to work at a place where personnel are under compensated for their skill set.
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by jstrazzere » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:15 pm

Based on the requirements, my background is a dead on match. But I do expect to be paid and I certainly wouldn't take a paycut. I have to wonder, if a company is so focused on saving, say, 15K on a person's salary that they'd screen them out even though the person could come in and hit the ground running, is that really the best move? They'd rather have somebody come up the curve over a year or so to realize that small savings? At what productivity losses?
You are making an incorrect assumption about the company's focus and motives. You don't know that they are trying to save say 15k, you are just taking a guess.

The company is asking for your salary expectations. Usually, that is done so that neither you nor they waste any of your time on a position that won't meet your (salary) needs, or their (budget) needs. If you expect to earn $200k, but their job is budgeted at $100k, it would be a waste of time to go any further. But if you expect to earn $115k and the job is budgeted for $100k, you quite likely would still be invited to an interview (assuming your qualifications are as dead on as you state).

And if you progress through the interviews, you might very well successfully negotiate your expected $115k.

Is it a double-standard? Hard to say.

If you could require the company to disclose their desired pay-level for an open position, wouldn't you do so? I know I would.

But they are the one offering the position, so they get to make the rules. You are free to enter the required salary expectations, or not (in which case you have chosen not to apply for their job).

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by fizxman » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:27 pm

I know the OP said the potential job is in his/her area but what about for a job on the other side of the county? What am I supposed to put in?

I live in a kind of low cost of living area and I wanted to see what I'd be paid if I lived in San Jose, CA. So I put my salary into 8 different cost of living comparison calculator I found online. The lowest salary was about 95k and highest was about 160k with an average of about 111k. The only thing I've learned is that I'd be making more but I don't really know what salary I would request. Glassdoor could help but only if you can find enough data regarding your specific job title and location.

If an employer doesn't want to waste anybody's time, just put the salary range in the job description. That way everyone is on the same page from the start.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by Rodc » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:27 pm

jstrazzere wrote:
Based on the requirements, my background is a dead on match. But I do expect to be paid and I certainly wouldn't take a paycut. I have to wonder, if a company is so focused on saving, say, 15K on a person's salary that they'd screen them out even though the person could come in and hit the ground running, is that really the best move? They'd rather have somebody come up the curve over a year or so to realize that small savings? At what productivity losses?
You are making an incorrect assumption about the company's focus and motives. You don't know that they are trying to save say 15k, you are just taking a guess.

The company is asking for your salary expectations. Usually, that is done so that neither you nor they waste any of your time on a position that won't meet your (salary) needs, or their (budget) needs. If you expect to earn $200k, but their job is budgeted at $100k, it would be a waste of time to go any further. But if you expect to earn $115k and the job is budgeted for $100k, you quite likely would still be invited to an interview (assuming your qualifications are as dead on as you state).

And if you progress through the interviews, you might very well successfully negotiate your expected $115k.

Is it a double-standard? Hard to say.

If you could require the company to disclose their desired pay-level for an open position, wouldn't you do so? I know I would.

But they are the one offering the position, so they get to make the rules. You are free to enter the required salary expectations, or not (in which case you have chosen not to apply for their job).
Exactly
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by Gropes & Ray » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:30 pm

I get approx. a 5% raise every year, so I can reasonably expect to be making that much more in 6 months. Knowing this, I would happily put in my salary requirement, because it's not as if I'm desperate. I already have a job, so there is no motivation for me to switch for less than a 5-10% increase. There is a risk that I put in lower than I could get, but I doubt that is a significant risk.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by XtremeSki2001 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:32 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
This application process, in my opinion, is evidence the employer may not pay competitively
I don't agree - it is evidence that the company is fiscally responsible and doesn't want to waste your time or theirs unnecessarily.
I've used this question myself in hiring. If the most I can pay is X for certain position why waste my time and yours talking to you if you require 2X. If someone requires X+0.2X I'd have the conversation. If they put "negotiate" I'd have the conversation. As a Director with several hiring managers I know what salaries are reasonable for each position and which aren't. I also know what range I can get approval for from my CFO/HR-SVP when making a hire. If you are outside this range - and I know I can find excellent talent inside my range - I don't want to waste your time.

I'd recommend entering a range if you can.
I partially agree with your comment. I don't mind an application process where the applicant specifies their requirement/range. My experience was with two potential employers which required the applicant select a pre-determined range, which was a range in $5,000 (employer 1) and then $10,000 (employer 2) increments. Since the position was middle management, I felt these ranges were pre-determined to give the employer a leg up on negotiating salaries and pigeonholing the applicant into a corner. Both attributes are, in my experience, commensurate with an employer that doesn't pay competitively. I eventually received an offer from employer 2, but was ~20% lower than that of the employer that only discussed ranges over the phone (we started with a range of $50,000).
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by leonard » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:33 pm

Rodc wrote:
jstrazzere wrote:
Based on the requirements, my background is a dead on match. But I do expect to be paid and I certainly wouldn't take a paycut. I have to wonder, if a company is so focused on saving, say, 15K on a person's salary that they'd screen them out even though the person could come in and hit the ground running, is that really the best move? They'd rather have somebody come up the curve over a year or so to realize that small savings? At what productivity losses?
You are making an incorrect assumption about the company's focus and motives. You don't know that they are trying to save say 15k, you are just taking a guess.

The company is asking for your salary expectations. Usually, that is done so that neither you nor they waste any of your time on a position that won't meet your (salary) needs, or their (budget) needs. If you expect to earn $200k, but their job is budgeted at $100k, it would be a waste of time to go any further. But if you expect to earn $115k and the job is budgeted for $100k, you quite likely would still be invited to an interview (assuming your qualifications are as dead on as you state).

And if you progress through the interviews, you might very well successfully negotiate your expected $115k.

Is it a double-standard? Hard to say.

If you could require the company to disclose their desired pay-level for an open position, wouldn't you do so? I know I would.

But they are the one offering the position, so they get to make the rules. You are free to enter the required salary expectations, or not (in which case you have chosen not to apply for their job).
Exactly
Really? This is the point we have reached as recruits.

So, you guys want the same salary whether the benefits or plentiful or there are no benefits to speak of? If the opportunity ends up being great or very bad - same salary? And, we some how know this before ever discussing the other details of the offer? How is this realistic?
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by denovo » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:36 pm

Once you accept the fact that the application process is for the benefit of the employer, not the employee, and that the HR Department is for the benefit of the employer, and not the employee, everything makes sense.
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by leonard » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:39 pm

denovo wrote:Once you accept the fact that the application process is for the benefit of the employer, not the employee, and that the HR Department is for the benefit of the employer, and not the employee, everything makes sense.
From a logic stand point - we have 3 variables to define the value of an offer. We don't know the value of all 3 variables until the end of the inteview process when receiving an offer. Purely from a logic stand point - how can one set their salary up front when they don't have all the information until the end of the process?
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by jstrazzere » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:42 pm

leonard wrote:Really? This is the point we have reached as recruits.

So, you guys want the same salary whether the benefits or plentiful or there are no benefits to speak of? If the opportunity ends up being great or very bad - same salary? And, we some how know this before ever discussing the other details of the offer? How is this realistic?
Once again, we are jumping to unfounded conclusions here.

You are assuming you have only one chance (this data entry field) to declare a salary, and you will somehow be held to this number.

I can tell you from person experience (on both sides of the data entry form), that your assumptions are incorrect.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by investingdad » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:43 pm

Obviously there are a lot of strong feelings here. And I understand the position of the employer.

I'm simply relaying my annoyance. I went through a fair bit of effort filling out the information they requested (multiple screens), answered the questions about experience matching, and the last thing they asked for online was salary expectations. It simply didn't feel right...as if the effort that went into the application ultimately boiled down to whether or not the number I entered was above or below the cut off.

If they had given a range up front, I could have decided if I wanted to spend the effort or not.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by leonard » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:53 pm

jstrazzere wrote:
leonard wrote:Really? This is the point we have reached as recruits.

So, you guys want the same salary whether the benefits or plentiful or there are no benefits to speak of? If the opportunity ends up being great or very bad - same salary? And, we some how know this before ever discussing the other details of the offer? How is this realistic?
Once again, we are jumping to unfounded conclusions here.

You are assuming you have only one chance (this data entry field) to declare a salary, and you will somehow be held to this number.

I can tell you from person experience (on both sides of the data entry form), that your assumptions are incorrect.
Not a form - but one time I had an informational interview on the phone. A screening by a recruiter. At the end of the interview, I was asked my salary requirement. I - at the time young and naive - gave it. The recruiter immediately said I was not qualified for the position, but they would "keep my application on file". The phone screening had gone extremely well. So, I frankly asked "What just happened here?" after a bunch of back and forth and cryptic answers from the recruiter - I had given a salary that was literally $1K or $2K over their limit - a small percentage over their (unstated!) limit. The company was willing to let a qualified recruit walk because of this AND NOT DISCLOSE WHY.

So - I simply lowered my required salary by the $2k - and magically I was back on track to be scheduled for interviews with the hiring manager. This is how dysfunctional it can be to specify such numbers up front.

So, FROM MY EXPERIENCE - the number you provide up front will be a number you will be held to through out and to the end of the process.

Now with more experience - I would never put out a salary number first AND I would never put out a salary number without knowing the entire compensation package. It simply doesn't make sense to do so. It's an arbitrary exercise of power designed to put the recruit at a disadvantage - I simply no longer play that game.
Last edited by leonard on Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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denovo
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by denovo » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:54 pm

leonard wrote:
denovo wrote:Once you accept the fact that the application process is for the benefit of the employer, not the employee, and that the HR Department is for the benefit of the employer, and not the employee, everything makes sense.
From a logic stand point - we have 3 variables to define the value of an offer. We don't know the value of all 3 variables until the end of the inteview process when receiving an offer. Purely from a logic stand point - how can one set their salary up front when they don't have all the information until the end of the process?
A salary range would suffice.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

leonard
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by leonard » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:57 pm

denovo wrote:
leonard wrote:
denovo wrote:Once you accept the fact that the application process is for the benefit of the employer, not the employee, and that the HR Department is for the benefit of the employer, and not the employee, everything makes sense.
From a logic stand point - we have 3 variables to define the value of an offer. We don't know the value of all 3 variables until the end of the inteview process when receiving an offer. Purely from a logic stand point - how can one set their salary up front when they don't have all the information until the end of the process?
A salary range would suffice.
But - the problem as posed by the OP - was a salary number in the form. The form wouldn't accept a range.
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denovo
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by denovo » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:59 pm

leonard wrote:
denovo wrote:
leonard wrote:
denovo wrote:Once you accept the fact that the application process is for the benefit of the employer, not the employee, and that the HR Department is for the benefit of the employer, and not the employee, everything makes sense.
From a logic stand point - we have 3 variables to define the value of an offer. We don't know the value of all 3 variables until the end of the inteview process when receiving an offer. Purely from a logic stand point - how can one set their salary up front when they don't have all the information until the end of the process?
A salary range would suffice.
But - the problem as posed by the OP - was a salary number in the form. The form wouldn't accept a range.
I am talking about the employer posting a salary range on the job listing.
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:59 pm

investingdad wrote:Obviously there are a lot of strong feelings here. And I understand the position of the employer.

I'm simply relaying my annoyance. I went through a fair bit of effort filling out the information they requested (multiple screens), answered the questions about experience matching, and the last thing they asked for online was salary expectations. It simply didn't feel right...as if the effort that went into the application ultimately boiled down to whether or not the number I entered was above or below the cut off.

If they had given a range up front, I could have decided if I wanted to spend the effort or not.
I think I understand your feelings (and those of everyone else here) but I think you are reading a bit too much into this standard application question. In your own statement you mentioned that you wouldn't leave to take a job that is a cut in pay so you already have a salary requirement in mind - why not share that with the employer? When you interview and then enter salary negotiation you can then work out what it would take you to leave your current position and accept theirs (and it could be higher than what you put on the original application when you factor in other items such as the responsibilities/benefits/stock-plan/etc. - no reasonable company is going to hold you to a number you gave up front).

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by AddingUp » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:01 pm

What a timely topic as I'm in the throes of this now.

I've been filling out a lot of online applications, and most request salary history and expectations. For history, I usually put in "000000," and for expectations, I put "TBD" if possible. On those occasions where I've been this vague, I've received calls for an interview (first level: HR phone screening). When I'm speaking to the HR rep, that's when I provide a range (so I don't waste the company's time). The online programs most often do not offer a range choice, so I refuse to tie myself down to a figure before I even know what the job entails, including benefits.

If the online application refuses to move me forward without a real number (anything but 000000), then I have to make a choice. Do I want to work at the company enough to provide this info at this point? If so, I do provide real history and expectations. If not, I close down the program.

I can understand the case about having the company provide a range in the job ad, but I honestly do not want my fellow coworkers to know my salary, so I often do not apply to those kinds of positions. If HR is serious about my resume, they'll spend 15 minutes on the phone with me to ascertain my range in a private conversation.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by jstrazzere » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:16 pm

investingdad wrote:Obviously there are a lot of strong feelings here. And I understand the position of the employer.

I'm simply relaying my annoyance. I went through a fair bit of effort filling out the information they requested (multiple screens), answered the questions about experience matching, and the last thing they asked for online was salary expectations. It simply didn't feel right...as if the effort that went into the application ultimately boiled down to whether or not the number I entered was above or below the cut off.

If they had given a range up front, I could have decided if I wanted to spend the effort or not.
I share your annoyance - I too think this is a foolish way to gather data pre-interview on a data entry form.

When I'm king of the world, I'll abolish this practice.

Meanwhile, if I want the particular job, I play by the employer's rules. Otherwise, I just apply elsewhere.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by KyleAAA » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:38 pm

I just put down a reasonable number on the upper end of my range. You certainly aren't committing to anything when you do this and HR reps don't expect you to be. They just want to know if you're in the same ballpark. If you come in above their range, most of the time they'll still interview you if they like you. More often, though, the range is variable based on the candidate.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by Rodc » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:53 pm

leonard wrote:
denovo wrote:Once you accept the fact that the application process is for the benefit of the employer, not the employee, and that the HR Department is for the benefit of the employer, and not the employee, everything makes sense.
From a logic stand point - we have 3 variables to define the value of an offer. We don't know the value of all 3 variables until the end of the interview process when receiving an offer. Purely from a logic stand point - how can one set their salary up front when they don't have all the information until the end of the process?
Yes and no. I am making the assumption that this is not a senior management type position with a lot of expensive perks to negotiate. You don't general apply for those through a web interface.

So sure, there will be some variance on health care costs, vacation, maybe a few percent on 401K. I guess I would be surprised if these add to more than a rather modest difference one job to another.

The OP in particular has a job is not in any specific need or even desire to move. Just stick in a number that would realistically cause one to seriously consider an offer and be done with it. In the end of course one would consider the entire package along with a host of other things in making a decision. Frankly past a certain point salary is actually not one of the main drivers in my opinion, but the quality of the position, the quality of the work you will be doing, the folks with whom you work, etc.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by jackholloway » Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:47 am

I have worked at places with open salaries and closed. Both were fine, but had different issues. Neither was particularly better for me, but I was a white male near the median employee age. There are studies suggesting that closed salaries may disadvantage already disadvantaged groups, and our hiring managers are strongly discouraged from discussing salary as a result. Instead, we assess the candidate for a job level, and ask the recruiter to make sure the salary needs match the level, more or less.

Each year during salary planning, I am asked to read the studies again, to look at how our own organization seems to be doing on matching salary to level, and to focus on level performance, not what they make today. Negotiate poorly and do well at your job, and you get high raises. Negotiate well, but do meh at the job, and you get meh bumps.

For what it is worth, we have considered candidates without a salary number, but we assume they are going to ask for double digit percentages above glassdoor with the most generous interetation of their experience.

So, fill out the form honestly, but including your real desires, based on realistic expectations. If less than 75k would result in not accepting the offer, put more than that. Accept that if you say 75k, but the level they think you are going to hire at tops out at 73k, then yes, you will probably not get considered. Or, they may compare, say, a fresh grad, against a PhD with five years of experience, and say no because for the same cost, they get someone with better credentials.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by hmw » Sun Sep 07, 2014 2:24 pm

When is the appropriate time to discuss compensation during the job search process? I have heard from some recruiters that one shouldn't discuss it until after the first interview and only if the potential employer expresses interest.

I am a physician and I was looking for a new position a couple of years ago. I found that that advice didn't work well for me. I was looking for a position in a certain geographic area. But I wanted to know the potential compensation for the position before I was willing to commit to an on-site interview which is a pretty involved process. It usually involved flying in with my family including a small baby. It helped to eliminate some positions right off the bat and avoided wasting my time and theirs.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Sep 07, 2014 2:35 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (employment).

I put "negotiable" in the salary field. Interesting, as the field always takes a text input. If they really wanted a number, they would have rejected it.

The appropriate point to bring this up in the discussion is when the interviewer asks. Otherwise, bring it up at the end, i.e. to as a final detail to conclude the interview.
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amp
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by amp » Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:37 pm

investingdad wrote: The submittal process was entirely online and the form would not advance to the next step until all required information was filled out.

I was annoyed to find that Salary requirement was one such item. It's generally accepted that the applicant doesn't inquire about salary until further into the process. But the hiring companies apparantly want to screen applicants for their income expectation before even talking with them.
It's a mistake to assume that the way an online form is set up represents some kind of over-arching hiring philosophy. There could be many reasons why the form is set up that way.
  • The person who wrote the form's specifications didn't understand the implications of making the salary field be required
  • The code that was written didn't match the specifications
  • It's third-party software, and that's just how it works out of the box
It's possible that HR has no idea about the salary field. In general, if a mistake like that gets past testing, it will eventually get discovered and fixed after it goes live. However, this isn't like most business software. It's users are neither customers nor employees. A prospect isn't going to complain to HR that the field was required. And, even if they do get a job, I doubt any new employee would remember or care to mention it after they are hired.

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greg24
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by greg24 » Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:41 pm

Companies want asymmetric salary information, which isn't new.

I would enter either a zero or $999,9999,999. If their screening process kicks you out, its a place you shouldn't want to work for.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by hiddensee » Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:51 pm

I would agree this is an attempt to underpay employees. The employer buys a lot more employees than an employee buys employers. At a given career point, the employee in fact has precisely one solid data point, and it's already obsolete. So, the employer has a much better understanding of what is the market rate than the employee. The hope here is that the employee will ask for something considerably below the market rate.

Louis Winthorpe III
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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by Louis Winthorpe III » Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:43 pm

amp wrote: It's a mistake to assume that the way an online form is set up represents some kind of over-arching hiring philosophy. There could be many reasons why the form is set up that way.
I agree. It's a pretty standard question, probably more the norm than the exception. I wouldn't read too much into it being there.
hiddensee wrote:I would agree this is an attempt to underpay employees.
I disagree. Few employers are as short-sighted as some of you imagine them to be. Most employers have a pay range for every position. If someone's salary demands are above that band, it would be a waste of the job-seeker's time and theirs to bring that person in. But if the person's salary demands are below the band, few companies would dip below the band to save a few bucks. If the person ends up being a good hire, eventually they're going to find out they're underpaid relative to their peers, and that will kill morale and probably cost the employer a good employee.

Here's a recent real-life data point (admittedly anecdotal). I'm involved in the hiring process at my company. Our form asks what the employee makes now, what the minimum is that the employee would take to accept the job and what the employee hopes to make. We had a good candidate come through who made substantially less than our range. We offered a salary approximately 43% above his current salary, 29% above his minimum required salary and 13% above his hoped-for salary. We based our offer on our assessment of his qualifications, not on his answer to the questions on the form.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by Traveler » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:29 pm

In these situations, the employer has near-perfect information and the applicant has very little information. So the rational solution to save everyone's time would be for the employer to provide a range in the job description. But very few do that. There must be a reason (many alluded to in this post).

If I were applying for a job and I had to state one specific number for compensation, at a minimum I would add my current base plus bonus and add a percentage increase on top and give that number. However, that wouldn't be what I expect for a base salary, and it may result in my resume being ignored because they may think I'm too expensive. But if I just use my current base plus a percentage increase, that leaves off a big chunk of bonus compensation. It seems to be a no-win situation for the applicant.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by 4th and Inches » Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:42 pm

All of the responses here seem to implicitly reflect either applying to a job in the same city where you work or perhaps moving to another city with about the same cost of living. I'm in a situation where in the next 6 months my wife will be seeking employment starting in the late summer/fall 2015. We live in Columbus OH, but If we don't stay here our top three choices for various reasons are Portland, Seattle and Denver. Theses cities are all substantially more expensive than Columbus. I am satisfied with my pay here in Columbus because things are in Columbus dollars, but that exact salary in those three cities would not cut it because I cannot stomach what could effectively be something like a 1/3 pay cut.

If feel like I will get really screwed being forced to put a number in the application since it is so off the mark in the local area. Also, HR people going through applications to determine who to interview are not usually key decision makers and are not likely to take a deeper look at resumes like mine who have an honest number so far below the hiring range. Finally, because the number I give up front in Columbus dollars will be so low I'm worried the hiring company will anchor on it and continue to low ball me in local dollars. It may be I fathomable to them to pay someone 40% more than they get now even if that really means it is just treading water in terms of local purchasing power.

Thoughts?

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by KlangFool » Sun Sep 07, 2014 10:46 pm

investingdad wrote:I've been casually perusing job openings in my area, nothing too serious but keeping an eye out. I found something that looked interesting and decided to at least toss out my resume to see if the company wanted to chat. For reference, this is a mid-career engineering role with a division of a very well known, large coporation.
investingdad,

I do not apply online period. I use linkedin to find out who I know in this company and call up my contact. Then, I find out who the hiring manager is and talk to the hiring manager directly. After the job is offered, then, I filled out the paper work to please the HR.

KlangFool

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by edge » Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:49 pm

It is probably worth saying; all these things about worrying about being 10-30k on one side of a line or the other go out the window once you get past middle management. In any case, I always write 0 into those annoying things.

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Re: Salary Info double standard?

Post by hiddensee » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:50 am

Louis Winthorpe III wrote:I agree. It's a pretty standard question, probably more the norm than the exception. I wouldn't read too much into it being there.
Reading into it or not, if you want me to answer it I expect you to first provide me with a (anonymised, if you prefer) list of all the salaries of current employees at your firm, including your own.

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