How do you answer when prospects ask about pay? My company does not want us to give any ranges because they fear they will always ask for the top even when they don't have the experience. We do pay a salary for full time but we hire PRN as well and have different pay rates for different services performed so it's not always easy to give a range in that case.

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Typically I will say, my apologies but I’m not allowed to disclose that but if you provide me your range we can move forward with presenting you.

Also I always ask what is your absolute minimum you would need to accept the position. And then I’ll add 5k to that and present them 15k-20k range from that minimum to the HM.

Ex: the candidate says they need 100k minimum , I’ll present them to the HM at 105k - 125k or 110k - 130k if I think their skills are fitting to a T.

Because at the end of the day yes we are supposed to look out for our company but we also should be looking out for our candidates as well. We shouldn’t be trying to jip people out of their worth. This way the candidate (if offered a position) will at minimum get a little more then their minimum and the client doesn’t go to the top of the budget.

I hope that helps.

likesmart

So let me clarify,

For a candidate that doesn’t want to provide a range in a situation that I can not give the range I always ask what is their absolute minimum they would need in order to accept a position in the event they were to receive an offer. Reason being, it causes the candidate to actually think about the question of what would they really accept if something is offered. Plus I still submit the candidate above their minimum and give them a range of 10-15k or 20k from the padded # I present.

In my experience a candidate has never been offered their minimum but right in the middle of the range on average and more often than not on the higher end of the range and only a couple of times where it was just below mid range, which still gave the candidate more than 5K above (usually 10k) what their minimum was.

Also in the event an offer is given that a candidate feels is too low I always encourage them to counter, which is the point of providing a verbal offer before a formal offer letter is given. I also speak with the hiring managers about how much they are actually willing to offer the candidate if they come back with a counter before I present the offer and advocate for any additional specialties like sign-on bonuses, extra day on hybrid wfh, etc.

It’s not about being dodgy but about trying to get the best outcome for the candidate, without pissing off the boss or hiring manager, not putting a target on your back as a “rule breaker or being difficult to work with etc.” , and in some cases worse.

Sometimes when you are dealt a crappy hand you have to play extra strategically. No reason to lose a candidate or your job over the HM or company not wanting to disclose the salary range.

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I think it’s helpful to share the full range but you can always add in “the range is x to x, but I do want you to keep in mind that this is a range. There are several factors that determine this and we cannot guarantee the top”. I also take off about 10-15k from the top of the range to have for negotiating with candidates that will end up at top of range.

Transparency is key in my opinion! I also like the first comments idea about sharing salary with the HM as a range as well. It ensures the candidate is setup to make more than the minimum.

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I would speak to your counterparts about sharing wage information and changing your sop. You’re behind the trend and it will waste your time, the candidates ‘ and damage the reputation of your company. Applicants today aren’t going to go through a lengthy interview process for naught. Reddit is also chock full of examples and rants from associates telling employers to kick rocks when they were vague or strung them along on compensation.

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I would try to push back on the company to at least provide the minimum of the range. That way the candidate can understand if they are comfortable moving forward.

The worst is getting to offer stage and they decline because of compensation.

likesmart

I think you should ask them what they’re comfortable with, and if they’re nowhere in the ballpark for the position just admit that upfront and not waste everyone’s time.

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To add, it sounds like you may have the unique opportunity of developing a better plan of how to handle this, maybe even a better compensation plan.

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We typically try to aim to beat the candidate to the question. Even if a candidate has applied or if we have sources then we aim by asking them their requirements for their next role.

1. Roles they have been looking at
2. Key features for next role
3. Salary for next role
4. Work pattern
5. Notice period
6. Availability for interview

Not only do you get to ask their salary expectations first but you get to find out what they are really looking for! But we also aim to be transparent so we do not waste ours or the candidates time if they ask first

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Exactly!

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Transparency is best and its a great way for me to highlight all our amazing benefits at McKinsey and discuss total comp, our culture and career progression. If it’s still a bridge too far, so be it, I know candidates appreciate the transparency up front.

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Well said, I mean what’s the essence of going through lengthy interview process only to get to final stage and find out the compensation is below what you expected. It’s a waste of time and effort for everyone and resources

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It’s important to act within state laws depending on where you operate and if you hire remotely. Colorado for example has wage transparency laws that require you post the salary range with job posts and other states have legislation that will be active this year most noticeably NYC.

I think it’s fine to say the range is broad based on experience and that a candidate is considered both based on their resume and desired compensation. I’ll have a transparent conversation with a junior candidate desiring the high end of the range and let them know the type of experienced candidate that they’re competing with and that the hiring manager is likely to pass up speaking with them if they’re set on the top end.

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We ask the candidate for their range first but if they refuse to give one, We give half the range then say there is room for negotiation for the right candidate. For ex if the range is 80-90 we’ll say 80-85 bc ideally we want to pay someone 85 (making sure 85 is average to what our competitors are paying). But if they negotiate later i know i can still afford to get up to 90. I always try to get candidates as high as i can but if i say 90 from the beginning they dont believe thats a max budget since so many companies try to lowball.

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You have to be careful of this. Some states like NY, CA and CO it is illegal not to disclose ranges when asked! You can always disclose the full range with a strong caveat that it depends on a number of factors, depth/breadth of experience, performance on the interview etc...

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I always ask “compensation wise, what would be competitive for you to consider making a change?” - that way they can share what they are looking for and I’m not low balling. I can advise the candidate on how realistic the comp is from there!

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I usually give a smaller part of the range or the mid point.

I’ll say “the mid point is X so flexibility either based on performance during interviews. How does that fit in with your comp targets?”

Or even, “based on limited info right now I’d expect around Y-Z, but depends on performance at interview”

I’ll always ask for their range / figures first but feel best to share something first if needed. Can’t be bothered with a complete standoff

likesmart

I would always turn around and ask them what they believe is a fair wage given the position and their experience. Advocate for both them and your company from there. You know the expectations. If I know the range and they say they're looking for less, I will never present them less than the range we have set. If by chance they're over the range, I would them ask them if there are specifics about them that warrant the amount and if their reasoning is specific and worth it, I will present the reasonings along with their price to the managers.

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I understand your company doesn't want the information out there but that may cause challenges in recruiting top tier candidates

In addition, companies need to be transparent with candidates to keep their retention rate low.

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The best way to respond to this question, is to ask the candidate a question: what's your target comp range in your next opportunity?

smart

At Glassdoor, transparency is the root of everything we do. We believe this creates equity where there hasn’t been. We share the complete compensation range to ensure that there are no surprises and that candidates are empowered and can make the best decision for themselves.

I know this isn’t the norm everywhere, but a lot of companies do seem to be adopting this, which is incredible. So I would encourage you to talk to leadership and see if this is something you can work towards.

If you still aren’t available to share, I ask candidates what it would take for them to be excited to accept a new opportunity. You want to make sure they won’t accept and then continue to look elsewhere.

I would also encourage you to ask what their deciding factors are; what would make them accept one offer and decline another- this will help you to understand their true motivators.

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What state are you in? 17 states have salary range transparency laws that at some point during the process typically either when the candidate asks or at time of offer the range must be disclosed. My co opted to include in all jds so it’s right up front. Surprisingly it hasn’t been too too problematic. Our company operates nationally so made sense to disclose it across the board so we are compliant and law abiding.

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Actually, only a couple states require an employer to share the range. That 17 number is about salary history bans meaning a recruiter can’t ask what you’re currently making, they can only ask for your salary expectations.

I agree with the jist of what you’re saying though. I think employers should be more transparent. And I think more and more states and cities are going to start requiring it. But as of now it’s just a couple that do.

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If we don’t share the ranges, then we will eventually end up wasting time if the range is not enough for the candidate, if they onboard they may leave for a competitor who was able to provide that range and offer their worth.

Even when comp is low personally I try and disclose either way to not waste any time but if u really want a way around it just say “we recently opened this position up so we are still trying to determine exactly what’s the range is depending on the market” typically people will almost always tell you what they are targeting then

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