In Defense of Not Broadcasting Salaries in the Jobs You Post...
January 16, 2020
When you try to optimize your openings for Google Jobs, you'll turn to the Google Jobs schema for guidance. If you've already been working on this, you'll find that most of the world has two remaining opportunities:
--Address information for individual openings, and
--Salary Information about the job.
Optimizing location/address information for Google Jobs is a transaction/project. You either have an ATS that can accurately index this information or you don't, and you either want to do the legwork to get location/address info broadcasting or you don't. No big deal. Either do it or don't.
But providing salary information about the job? That's a whole other can of worms, my friend.
Most of my HR friends doing the work would agree with this statement. They know they can't broadcast this information at their company due to compression issues, company culture and more.
But their's a growing voice in the world that says we should be more transparent about what jobs pay, and even what everyone earns inside our companies. The reasons for this call are legit - there's a lot of inequity across workplaces when it comes to gender, race and other factors.
We should fix those things. I personally like moves like the one Salesforce made, where they made a big push towards pay equality. Sure, they promoted the hell out of the move, but they took action, and their company is stronger for it. Let me say it again - WE SHOULD FIX PAY EQUALITY.
Now let me give you a reality. I think posting salaries in the recruiting process is a weak play.
When I post a job, I'm entering a marketplace. There are overqualified people (code for old people, but that's another post), people who are a direct fit for the job, and people who don't have what it takes, but on livin' on a prayer.
When you post the expected salary for the job, or its weak cousin - the salary range - you're narrowing your marketplace. People with great experience won't apply because you're 10K light. The rest of the people come in with a clear expectation of what you're going to pay. That sounds fair, right?
Not really. The interview process is a marketplace. When I post a job, I'm looking for the best person available. Here's a couple of scenarios that happen when I post the $$ for a job:
1--Person with great experience doesn't apply. I never get the chance to feel the experience, see the match and go to bat for the extra 15K I need to sign her up.
2--Person who is a fit comes in expecting the offer to be 80K, but as it turns out, they don't have the experience I need and they're not a true fit. They're actually worth 70K in my eyes, but I never get to make the offer because the negotiation is done once I post a salary.
3--The person with no experience who applied and was lucky enough to catch my eye with that project they worked on in their first job? Well, I can't hire them because they applied for an 80K job, and they'll always think I screwed them by offering them 55K. I'm actually filling the FTE with a different job, but it doesn't matter, the damage is done.
I won't even bore you with the fact there are a ton of sites that provide research on salary levels that candidates are using that may or may not match up with the salary info you provide (See Glassdoor screenshot at the top of this post). There are a ton of stupid people out there who are horrible human beings. I'm not one of them, and neither are most of you.
I believe we can be trusted with pay equity moving forward. If you have issues in your company, do what Salesforce did - invest and solve the problem.
But stop telling me we need radical transparency in areas like listing salaries in job postings. You think you're promoting equal opportunity, but the unintended consequence of this action is you're actually making it harder for great people to find their next job.
While your scenario #1 is definitely valid for most companies, I feel a strong candidate would apply to the right position and have the conversation up front. An extra $15k would likely be associated with a much higher salary anyway, so the candidate could likely ask for a higher title. Otherwise, either the market is incorrectly prices or you pay expectation are wrong. Either way, true salary transparency should eliminate all of this if proper research has been done.
The other two scenarios are both bad hiring decisions. Don't fill a position with someone that you acknowledge as a bad fit - short term mindsets cause long-term damage in an organization. Additionally, if something catches your eye on a resume, perhaps keep in touch with the person or discuss an alternative position. Either way, if you fill an $80K job with a $55K candidate, that is on you as the hiring manager for making a poor decision, no need to blame salary transparency for that.
Posted by: Marc Rothenberg | January 24, 2020 at 08:19 AM
Yeah, all my scenarios are real. I'm pro pay equity. But the call for transparency has a bunch of unintended consequences related to the mindset of candidates.
#2 and #3 would happen regularly in a full transparency environment. That's the reality, and the issues transcend poor hiring decisions.
Thanks for dropping by.
Posted by: Kris P Dunn | January 24, 2020 at 09:24 AM