One of the worst pieces of advice I’ve heard told to job seekers, is to wait until the offer to discuss compensation. The rationale behind this being that if an employer is interested in you, they will be more open to negotiating. This is advice that has been widely accepted and continues to be promoted to this day. To those who adhere to this and insist on managing your interviews this way, I ask – What happens when you get to the end, have an offer, and it’s far below what you’re looking for?
What happens when you’ve gone through 3 rounds of interviews, invested weeks of time that you cannot get back, and the job pays less (much less) than what you’re targeting? What do you do then?
In these moments, job seekers usually end up kicking themselves because they realize the time they wasted. It’s even worse if you start to like the people you met and the role. Now there’s an emotional tug of war going on between your heart and common sense. You also risk wasting the company’s time. Recruiters, hiring managers, etc. invest their time as well. They schedule multiple interviews only to find out that they may not be able to hire you.
The best thing to do is prepare to have this conversation early on – preferably when you are in the initial phone screen with a recruiter.
Look for this information in the job ad. If you’re approached by a head hunter, ask directly. They have the information. They’re paid when you get hired so there’s no way they’re launching a search and having a conversation with you unless they have this information.
The phone screen is the perfect time to bring it up. They may ask you at some point in the initial conversation, what would you like to make?
Instead of running from the conversation, stand and face it. Engage in the conversation. Ask if they’re able to and then allow them to share what the role pays so you can make an educated decision for yourself. Getting this out early keeps you and the employer from wasting your time.
The next time you’re beginning a conversation with a recruiter, don’t wait until the offer to discuss what you’re worth.
Get your money upfront!
About the Author: Pamela Shand is a career coach and talent acquisition leader who’s dedicated the past 15 years to helping job seekers achieve their career goals and employers grow their businesses through successful recruitment. She is the Founder of Offer Stage Consulting & author of “How to Hire: A Recruitment Playbook for Rookie Recruiters, New Managers & Growing Businesses.”