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How not to treat a job applicant

I realise I may be preaching to the converted here, but if there are any employers listening, take note.

I have had a few clients who have recently been going through the recruitment process and who have had to extract, with great difficulty, the terms and conditions that the employer was offering.

Why, oh why, oh why, do employers carry on like this?

Why is it treated as a taboo or a state secret?

(Granted not all employers do this and especially in the public sector, salaries, holidays etc are very transparent.)

Why not to do this:

1. It gives the impression that there is something to hide and honestly, this can put potential candidates off (and reasonably so I would say). Your ideal candidate may decide not to apply based on your refusal to state basic information.

2. It gives the impression that you are mean as an employer and that you want to hire a candidate at the cheapest salary possible and with the most limited terms ever. Using this strategy, I would remind you of the adage that if you pay peanuts (or appear to pay peanuts) you will get monkeys. So don’t complain if you don’t get a slew of high calibre applicants.

3. You already know what the salary range is. If you are advertising for a role, surely you have a budget or range for this. Particularly if you are replacing someone, you will know what you paid the previous person. Why are you being so cloak and dagger about it? If it is negotiable, fine, but let’s have a ballpark or a range based on experience. You knowing and the candidate not knowing is simply unfair.

4. You are wasting time; both yours and the candidate’s. A client of mine recently applied for a job that was advertised (no salary stated but high-level job, assumed commensurate salary). He was called for first interview and salary was not mentioned, so he didn’t ask either. I would often suggest to clients not to ask about salary at first interview. He was then called to second interview. Same thing. No salary mentioned. Surely this was the pink elephant in the room? He was then offered the job. No terms given. HE HAD TO ASK WHAT HE WAS BEING OFFERED AFTER GOING THROUGH THIS ENTIRE, WEEKS-LONG RECRUITMENT PROCESS!!! Bad form, people, very bad form ☹ The offer was SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER than his current salary. After all that!!!!! What a monumental waste of everyone’s time! At this stage, if he were to refuse the role and the employer had to go back to their number 2 candidate, we are now weeks on, and that candidate is likely to have moved on, or be nonplussed and not a little insulted about considering an offer at this remove.

Why not be transparent about salary and other terms?

At least on a general level, or within a range, to GIVE A CLUE to potential candidates about what you are offering. They can then make an informed decision about whether it is worth it to them to expend considerable time, energy and resources in applying to work for you. Time, energy, and resources that they could have directed to job-hunting elsewhere, or into their own current role. And let’s face it, it is a mammoth task to apply for a role and prepare for and perform 2 interviews, not only for the candidate, but for the employer too.

You can still negotiate! But if you’re offering €40,000 and the candidate is expecting €80,000, there’s no real room to negotiate there is there? Or you’re going to look pretty silly if you do.

You will also save yourself the time and trouble of dealing with applicants who would have no interest in the position if they knew the salary and terms. And you will attract more suitable candidates who are willing to work for (and perhaps grateful to receive) the package you are prepared to offer. They can also weigh up like-with-like when comparing salary and other offerings such as health insurance, pension, gym membership etc.

According to a Glassdoor survey in 2016 the top 5 pieces of information job seekers want employers to provide as they research where to work:

○ Details on compensation packages

○ Details on benefits packages

○ Basic company information

○ Details on what makes the company an attractive place to work

○ Company mission, vision and values

(Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016)

Go on people, be clear! It is better for everyone.


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