About Salary Expectations

Salary Expectations Tom

Yeah, the question. Every week, there is a meme or an article on the matter, so we’d like to give you our take on it.

There is fear. It’s just like a game in which whoever shows the cards first loses, right? Candidates want to know what the salary range is in advance, and rightly so. Companies want to know what a potential candidate is earning at the moment, and that’s fair enough. So, where’s the problem? Candidates think that if they say what they are earning, they’ll be automatically lowballed, and companies are afraid to hand out too generous offers.

Well, as with everything in life, it’s not that simple. As a recruiter, when I know a profile well and I’ve done it many times, I know exactly what to expect just by reading through a CV. There is a margin of error, sure, but very little. You need to know what you are talking about, but sometimes that’s not possible because you have little experience on the matter.

As a candidate, you know how much you are earning, and if you are exploring the market, you know the benchmark for profiles like yours. But you need to do your research beforehand.

There is the widespread assumption that companies want to pay as little as possible. And while that might be true in certain cases, that is not what most companies do in our experience. They might not be willing to overpay but pay a fair and competitive salary attractive to the kind of profiles they want.

For the sake of comparison, imagine that you are looking to buy a flat. You have a certain budget, and you look online for opportunities in your zone. You have an idea in mind about how many square meters you’d like, rooms, neighborhood, all that kind of stuff. After a while, you know exactly what to expect, and if you find a bargain, it stands out immediately. If it is too good to be true, you get suspicious. If it is overpriced, you discard it right away. Time is a factor and also how flexible you are. If you want to buy a property in a certain building by force, you’d have to pay whatever they ask you for. If you are in a hurry, you’ll probably overpay.

For both the buyer and the seller to be happy, it has to be perceived as a good deal. There is a sweet spot in which the buyer is content with the purchase, and the seller thinks it’s a good business. You need to find that sweet spot.

Now take that and translate it to a recruiting situation. We know how the market is and how attractive the skillset you bring to the table is. You should know it too.

There is always internal equity, which can be tricky and generate further problems within companies. It is well known that the best way to have an out-of-the-market salary is staying at the same company for a long time. Factors such as inflation and the companies’ reluctance to proactively increase salaries make it up for the perfect storm.

Then the paradox comes when companies are forced to pay much more for less experienced new employees than for the people they already have.

We’ve said it many times, and we will say it once more: salary structures need to be transparent and fair.

We have the example of professional sports, where salaries are public and available for everyone to see. When perceived as fair, there are no problems whatsoever. No one is going to complain that Messi is the best-paid player on the team because he is the best.

Problems start when that salary scheme is not fair. Players may feel underpaid and look for better opportunities somewhere else. They may feel that a worse player is getting paid more. But even in those circumstances, knowing it may be the first step to remedying unfair situations. 

Many factors contribute, of course, as money is not everything in life, fortunately. Some players may prefer going to the best teams, knowing they’ll be paid less because they feel they will be around the best and improve their skills.

In other cases, you might prefer to go to a worse league because they are paying you a lot of money. Some prioritize compensation, others quality of life, etc… And we are not talking about football anymore.

What seems clear is that if your remuneration is within the market and you have a clear idea about what you want, you shouldn’t be worried about being the first one to speak. On the other side, if you are paying fairly and assessing candidates correctly, you shouldn’t be worried either.

In any case, in our experience, 90% of the time there is a margin for negotiation. During the process, many things will come up that will force both parties to reassess their initial expectations, and not always for the worse.

So, how can NBS IT Recruitment help you with this stressful process? 

Remember, IT Recruitment agencies will always want the best possible deal for you because we normally get a percentage of your salary, so the better deal you get, the merrier for us. But we also commit to our clients to provide a fair assessment of the candidates. In the end, it needs to be a win-win-win situation.

So, please, be smart and trust the professionals. We are doing this all day long! 🖖🏻