“Show the Money” or “Keep It Confidential”?

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Every person on this planet gets a job not only to satisfy his or her need for a career but also to earn enough money to live decently and enjoy a certain degree of comfort. While salary counts for a job candidate, there is always the question of whether it is right to share salary information in a job advertisement.

There has been an ongoing discussion for years about this topic and the PROS and CONS of sharing salary information in job ads. Most candidates want to know that information before they apply for a role, but most companies and recruiters want to hide that information. Both sides have great reasons why to share or hide that information.

Some think that knowing the salary will not only attract the right people but also chase away people who may have the skill set and talents you need. They may feel discouraged by such information because they will feel that they will not have a chance to negotiate their salary.

As you may have noticed, there is a good side and bad side to this story.

Reasons to Show the Salary Range

One of the reason why to show the salary range is that more qualified candidates will be attracted to the job posting, allowing them to decide whether the job offer is right for them or not.

One of the interesting advantages of sharing this information publicly was backed-up by two researchers. Peter Bamberger of Tel Aviv University and Elena Belogolovsky of Cornell University found that keeping salaries secret is associated with decreased employee performance. Keeping pay secret is related to disengagement and decreased performance while sharing the information with others will make any company more productive.

Making the salary information public through a job advertisement will be proof of the company’s transparency, showing that it has nothing to hide and that one of the company’s principles is honesty, which is another pro. Still, to some, this aspect may point out inflexibility — the company may appear to be not open to negotiations or reaching a middle grown with the candidate who is most suitable to occupy the open position.

One company that is very transparent about its salary information is Buffer, and their salary spreadsheet is still public. This salary transparency made Buffer a more productive company.

Some may interpret salary information as a bigger interest in value, putting a price on the job and not necessarily being interested in a candidate’s skills, training, and experience. Thus, it is better to use a salary range within the job advertisement rather than a fixed amount, allowing the candidate to feel that there is room for negotiations. As an employer, you can choose to offer any salary within the mentioned range.

However, keep in mind that some candidates will see themselves at the top of the range because of their skills and expertise, so they may feel disappointed or even offended if they are not offered the highest possible salary.

Another advantage of disclosing salary details in a job advertisement is the fact that it allows people to tell whether the job suits their needs and requirements or not. However, you need to be aware that making such information public will allow your competitors to use it against you. They may post a similar job position but with a higher salary to attract more talent to their company — this is a con of disclosing information that is so sensitive.

Still, not disclosing this information until rather late, such as in the third round of interviews, may leave you with a bitter taste if you find out that the person you want to employ wants a much higher salary than you can offer. How can you make sure such a thing does not happen and you both won’t end up wasting time? Do not make salary information public in the job ad, but make sure that the candidates are aware of the salary offer during their first interview or phone screening. Thus, only the ones that consider this position suitable will remain for the final interviews.

Reasons Not to Show the Salary Range

One of the major con of showing salary is that it could drive away potential good candidates if the salary is not considered satisfying. If you know that the salary you are offering is lower than average, it would be a good idea to mention other benefits of the job, such as health benefits, a flexible schedule, bonuses, company shares, your company’s culture, and so on.

While money is an important factor when looking for a job, it is not the only thing people are after. However, the salary range is, in many cases, the only thing that people will see in that ad, especially because we usually focus more on numbers than words when reading.

Every employer wants employees who are passion-driven and not salary driven. Not showing the salary to candidates in an advert helps to avoid applicants who are simply chasing a salary. The salary ranges you post will mostly attract candidates who have unrealistic expectations and barely meet the minimum requirements but are coming in motivated by the salary.

If people see a $50–100K range, what salary they will try to get? The answer is the highest one. Even if you try to make them see that their experience and qualifications are not enough for the maximum salary offered by your company, you may get some negative reactions.

Every job has a range, and companies want you to be close to the middle, giving them space for future salary raises within the range. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, the ranges are outdated, and you start out with a salary on the higher end.

Additionally, if the company has a non-disclosure policy when it comes to salaries, the decision of publicly stating the salary for an open position may lead to tensions among current employees.

Conclusion

The truth is that sharing salary information in a job advertisement has more cons than pros. As a candidate, I would want to know a salary range before I continue in the interview process. Therefore, disclosing my salary expectations at the beginning of the hiring process will save a time for everybody.

However, as a recruiter, I understand the negative elements that disclosing the salary information brings. That is why recruiters ask candidates for their salary expectation on the beginning so that the hiring manager will know if the candidates are over budget or not. Additionally, hiring managers could decide if they would like to invite candidates for an interview based on their salary expectations.

It would be much better if we stay away from making such information public in a job ad. Doing so will allow you and the candidate to negotiate the salary based on his or her set of skills, experience, training, and so on. There should be a rule: Unlimited salary for unlimited talent.

If the job advertisement sounds interesting and inviting without mentioning the offered salary, a wide range of talent will apply, allowing you to meet and find the best candidate for the job. People will apply out of curiosity, wishing to see what the company provides in exchange of their skills and talents. If you find someone that is qualified and will be a perfect fit for the job, you can offer a higher salary than in the case of someone who is not that qualified.

The main idea is that not including salary information in a job post will give you room to reach a middle ground with the candidate you consider ideal for the job. It will be a win-win situation in the end.

What do you think, “Show the Money” or “Keep It Confidential”?

Written by

#Recruiter, Author of bestseller “Full Stack Recruiter", Dream Chaser, Creator of impossible, #BlackBerry fan (probably the only one). Author of sourcing.games.

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