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The Big Idea - Monster to Publish Salary Ranges For Jobs (You Pay For)?

If you're like me as a recruiter, one of the things you aim to do every time you pick up the phone to do a phone screen with a candidate is "the dance".  The dance is a pretty simple act, and deals with two items related to money - 1) finding out where the candidate has been related to money and what they need moving forward, and 2) managing expectations about what the position you are working on might pay.

At the end of the call, what drives whether the candidate will move forward in the process? Knowledge, skills and abilities, and whether or not you can afford the talent for the slot you currently have Monster open.  If you don't have a fit on the money side and you move the candidate forward, you're just asking for a train wreck when it comes time to cut an offer.

For smooth HR pros and recruiters, you've always had what I'll call "first strike capability".  You control, for the most part, when you bring it up on the call and how it's positioned when you talk compensation.  Candidates, for the most part, wait for you to bring it up, and it's a moment of truth.  Sure, the uber-aggressive ones could go out and pull some data on Salary.com and hit you with that, but most don't.

You control the conversation and the resulting expectations.  At least until Monster launches their new site in early 2009.  From ERE's John Zappe:

"In three steps, a worker could learn what rungs others in the occupation have taken up as they worked their way up the ladder. Using the benchmarking tool, a candidate can learn how they stack up against others. Using the Career Snapshot, a worker could research related occupations by title, skills, and the like.

Just like a quality talent management system, Monster’s tools will help career-minded workers do a gap analysis and see what they need to do to ready themselves. The advantage Monster has over any single company is that it taps a database of millions of resumes to create aggregate pictures of career movement for nearly any occupation and industry that exists.

Where it doesn’t have the data, it reaches out to get it, pulling in things like average salary for a searched occupation in the specific geography. Every job, Winegardner tells us, will have salary data — if not from the employer, then salary ranges Monster will provide."

Here's a thought - that sounds like Monster is going to have me pay for a job posting, then if I opt not to share salary data for the position, they'll do a feed from salary.com or a similar property and slap external salary data next to the job that I posted.

If that's true, I hope that's configurable.  There are a couple of big ways that could hurt employers.  First, I want to be the one to set expectations on the salary side.  What happens when you share the range?  Does the candidate and employee automatically think that they belong at the bottom or the top?  Right - next question..

Additionally, I really don't need someone lining up all my jobs, doing a 40% average match on the responsibilities and industries, and making that broadly available for the world, including my employees to see.  Garbage in, garbage out, but then, you and I are the ones left to deal with it, right?

It'll be interesting to see the new Monster.  If they hose the people who pay the bills and don't make features like that optional, it'll also be good for CareerBuilder.

Comments

Richard Parker

This is why so many companies do not use Monster anymore. They are out-of-touch with what employers need and not nimble/smart enough to come up to speed. They also bought up local/regional search engines and destroyed them, making employers sift through thousands of megabytes of geographically inappropriate junk. They are similar to the American auto makers, churning out product that people don't want and wondering what happened. Will Monster require a bailout?

Phil

I agree with Richard. I don't do business with Monster anymore. They just don't have the quality candidates that I seem to get elsewhere. Maybe that's just a psychological response to their poor business ideas.

They are like the US auto business but I don't think that they're "to big to let fail" yet. Most of the Dow should be eligible though.

Jennifer

About.com surveyed HR professionals and recruiters about which of the top 10 jobsites yeilded the best candidates for their jobs, the results should tell you something:

http://humanresources.about.com/gi/pages/poll.htm?poll_id=5763275227&linkback=http://humanresources.about.com/b/a/258241.htm

I would have thought monster would have done better

Eric Winegardner

I just learned of this post today and figured I would join the dialogue given that I was interviewed in the original John Zappe article. Besides, it just wouldn't be a Sunday if I wasn't working!

Having recruited for the better part of a decade before joining Monster, I understand “the dance” you referenced. In fact, I think I had a few smooth moves I could call my own. However, I must say I am disappointed that salary information is still so core to today’s “dance”.

Your understanding of the salary functionality is spot on. If you as a recruiter/employer do not provide a salary range for the position you post on Monster, we will link to data for that job title and region on Salary.com. The way to “configure” this functionality away from those broad ranges, is to provide the information specific to your organization.

Don’t get me wrong - I understand how important the financial discussion is – especially in this economic climate. But I hate to think that by simply linking a job seeker to information that is readily and easily available on the internet that we’re somehow “unlocking the secret safe.” From this recruiter’s perspective, I always appreciated it when we are able to get quickly past salary and onto the more important discussions about fit and expertise.

In fact, think about how different the “dance” could all be if we weren’t spending all our valuable candidate time vetting salary as “king”, but instead thinking a bit more about motivational fit, career aspirations, work/life integration expectations, diversity, how personal identity aligns to the organization I am asking seekers to join. This is the “dance” of progressive recruiters- and recruiting 2.0 should be all about “busting this move!”

A seeker-centric Monster experience is certainly a shift. I am confident that tools we are launching on 01.10.09 will add value to the career exploration process for millions of seekers and ultimately deliver you a better match for the position you are trying to fill. That after all is what you are really paying Monster to help you with. If you disagree, I am sure you will let me know. Cheers! EW

Maren

Wow, tough one. There has been heavy criticism aimed at Monster for the short while I've been hanging out in the recruiting world, and some of it with good reason. However, I am curious if this is warranted. A lot of the buzz at many of the conferences, blogs and networks is about the smarter, more savvy job seeker. Now we are going to assume that if Monster won't pull in salary.com data, they won't be smart enough to find it themselves? That shocks me. I tend to really side with my candidates and I always err on the side of transparency, so I love the idea of salary data being readily available (I think indeed estimates salaries when they are not given, yes?), what's good for the aggregator's good for the board? :)
However, I have also been burned by candidates for not providing salary up front. Let's face it, the people want to pay their bills and move one and if job titles are changing and shifting faster than any one of us can track, then what's left as a benchmark? The intangibles Eric mentioned are a good differentiator (??).
However, to Kris's point about where a candidate places themselves on a pre-determined payscale is also a concern. If they're working with a good recruiter, they will have an idea but again, there are considerations based on geography, changing industry standards, certifications issues, gaps in a talent pool and economic considerations (plus poor workforce planning). Anyway, you both have solid arguments but if Monster doesn't provide the data and aggregator like indeed will add it and a lot of people are moving that direction.

Just my 2 cents.

KD

Hi Eric and Maren -

Thanks for the comments. I should let you know that in addition to being an active recruiter, my spot as a HR pro who is also responsible for retention and employee relations molds a lot of my views. For a deeper dive on why I feel like I feel, you can hit the following link:

http://www.workforce.com/archive/feature/25/73/46/index.php

Bottom line for me - I'm capable of defending putting our ranges up, but doing that creates far more problems internally in companies than it solves externally. Most, if not all, of my HR peers would agree with my internal takes regarding pay transparency.

So that's the problem with the Monster product that's coming out. You're forcing me to make that decision, and you really don't understand, or undervalue, the view inside a company since Monster is pure play recruiting (employee relations and retention really aren't Monster's concern).

You both have good takes and I respect them. That being said, you're discounting the internal company view because that's not your focus professionally.

Keep coming back and commenting - KD

Jennifer

Interesting debate. Eric - as a TPR I see your points completely, but wearing my internal recruiter hat, there were definitely times when I did not post salary info due to the internal disaster it would have inevitably caused... Thinking about this further, however, look where I was working... Change of heart - if companies actually paid employees at or above fair market value, maybe we wouldn't be having this debate at all... Besides, it's not like average salary information isn't readily available anyway... Good for Monster for making it easier on the seeker!

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