THE INTERVIEW PART 2: Why Money Should Never Be An Early Topic Of Conversation In An Interview Process
Money is not the absolute line in the sand when it comes to the job offer, so don’t force it early in the interview process. The acceptance of a job is a big act of trust, both for the candidate and the company. Both sides are gambling significant resources of time, money and commitment. As a headhunter, I have seen this delicate dance play out a hundred times. Hard earned experience has taught me that money should never be an early topic of conversation in an interview process. Candidates and companies, here are four ways to avoid chunking the salary grenade into the interview process too early:
- Do Your Research. Candidates, use payscale.com and glassdoor.com to get a feel for how you current pay package compares. It isn’t exact because companies value certain positions differently, and job responsibilities and expectations are not the same for a given role, but you can get a solid idea where you stand in the under/overpaid spectrum. Companies, you must know your market. Don’t walk into the mattress store with $2K and immediately lay down on the $5K bed. Don’t spend unnecessary time on candidates which are out of range.
- Take The Time To Check The Vibe. Money is a stressful, awkward and uncomfortable topic. Do you talk money with someone you just met? Of course not. So don’t. Company, you need the time to assess the candidate, understand his/her skill set, and determine the culture fit. Candidate, you need to figure out if the fit feels natural and understand the opportunities for advancement. Is it possible that after these determinations are made that a $10-20K swing, depending on the position, might be workable? Negotiations are easier if you have gotten to the place where you are on the same team.
- Understand The Negotiables. Instead of walking away from a potential interview, or rejecting a candidate out of hand, wouldn’t it be better to get to the place where everyone understands the scope of the pay package? Yes. The “set price” car dealerships are popular. I hate those things. Sometimes focusing on the main price is all wrong. Can I negotiate a better entertainment package? What about tires? If you have the salary discussion up front, you might miss that the candidate has young children and they are fine to forgo $5K for some extra vacation time.
- Embrace Rule #1 In A Successful Negotiation. A good outcome to a negotiation is where both sides walk away just a little disappointed. That sounds negative, but mature business people appreciate the give and take. You don’t want to work for a company and you don’t want to hire a candidate that has to “win” the negotiation. Get started on the right foot by knowing that everybody worked hard to get a fair deal done.
Money is a critical factor in considering any new job or candidate. Just don’t let it cut the legs out from under an interview process before you have the information you need to move forward or walk away.