How To Pitch a Salary

Author: Joel Aldridge, BNI Churchill (Bromley)

Are you thinking of appointing a new member of staff and are unsure of how to disclose the salary information on your job advert? 

The options are to share exactly the amount on offer, or you could suggest a salary bracket which is the range of monies that you are prepared to pay, or alternatively you can lead with ‘competitive salary.’

Pitching a job’s salary at the right level is important, not only to gain the interest of candidates, but also to help you secure the best person for the job. Not offering a salary at the right level will reduce your chances of securing suitable candidates, and you run the potential risk of recruiting someone with an inferior skill set.

Firstly, research what salary you should pay. When placing a job advert, in some instances you will need to be discreet about the salary on offer, for reasons of confidentiality. If the job advert is viewed by your workforce, then sharing salary information may disgruntle employees who do a similar job and you obviously want to avoid upsetting and demotivating hard-working, loyal employees. Therefore, in this situation disclosing ‘competitive salary’ might be your only option.

When choosing the best options, another key consideration is how hard it is to find candidates, and how quickly you need to recruit this person. Including a higher salary in the job advert will probably help you to generate more candidates; however this may well be challenging to manage later in the process.

Choosing the right strategy regarding salary information when advertising your job will have an impact on who applies, how many people apply and will impact on the overall recruitment process, so it is important to evaluate each option.

When you place your job advert the three main options are:

Share the Best Salary on Offer

Pitch the very best salary on offer, and be very clear about this. Taking this approach may however lead you to miss out on certain candidates who are looking for a higher salary, as a large percentage of job seekers will evaluate a job immediately on the amount of money on offer and use this to determine whether they are interested.

If you pitch only the best salary on offer, there will be a proportion of people who are well suited, but who you won’t even have the chance to meet. So, if you feel that the position, your company, its people, and the company culture are the main selling points then maybe this isn’t the best approach for you.

However, a significant advantage of being clear about the salary on offer from the offset, is that there are no grey areas. This means that during the closing stages, when offering the chosen candidate can become more transactional, your clarity on salary may have increased your chances of operating a more efficient recruitment process.

Share a Salary Bracket

Suggesting a range of monies that the candidate could potentially expect to earn can be useful, as it will help you to engage with a wider audience of candidates; these candidates may have varied skills, with different levels of experience and this comes with the notable advantage of you being able to meet more people. 

Meeting more people in your recruitment process will help you to understand more about what can be achieved in a position, and helps you learn about what is possible in the position, and who is available. 

When you are recruiting, it’s not just about sourcing someone with certain skills and specific experience - finding someone who is culturally the ‘right match’ can be more valuable, and by offering a wide salary range you have the chance to review even more candidates and give yourself an advantage. 

When it comes to offering the chosen candidate the job, hopefully you will have seen a good selection of people, with different attributes. 

As you start to compile your shortlist, and start the interviewing process, it is wise to start having conversations around monies. Have hypothetical conversations to make sure that the candidate/s are affordable. 

By addressing this early on in the process, you will not only put yourself in a strong position to secure the candidate, but in addition, the salary they are looking for probably won’t increase, which is a possibility if the salary is only discussed towards the end of the process. 

Display Competitive Salary

Stating ‘competitive salary’ on your job advert means you will get the attention of most people. There will, of course, be some candidates who immediately disregard the job, however, if the candidate is targeting specific jobs, and is focussed on your specific sector, or on a particular job title, then you are set to gain their interest, and these candidates are often better suited and more relevant overall.

By advertising ‘competitive salary’, you are often influencing the candidate’s mentality. The person may initially focus on the job itself, knowing that the right money is available, and they are therefore quick to share their CV, so up to this point the job advert and strategy has worked.

Typically, a candidate will apply for a job advertised with a ‘competitive salary’ knowing that the position will pay a comparable amount to similar jobs in the market.

However, something to be aware of is that this can sometimes change the candidate’s mindset. Leading with ‘competitive salary’ on a job advert can lead the candidate to think that more money is available. 

At offer stage, if the candidate knows the requirement has been hard to fill, or if they are aware that they have some special skills that you are in need of, or that there aren’t many other suitable people available, then some candidates may have an over-inflated option of their worth, and believe that the company are willing to pay over the market value to secure them.

If this is the case, and salary hasn’t been discussed earlier on in the process, it might mean that negotiating, and agreeing, on a suitable package can become challenging.

You can avoid any salary problems earlier in the process by addressing this directly, and clearly set out the amount that you are prepared to pay. This will reduce the chances of disappointment for both parties later on in the process.  

Once you have decided your salary strategy, consider writing your job description and how you wish to advertise the job.





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