Should you include salary ranges on job postings? The answer is an enthusiastic YES!

As recruiters, most of us have been trained to withhold salary information from candidates at the start of the recruitment process. At best, some recruiters will give a cryptic response about the salary range. At worst, they will flat out refuse to discuss it until the candidate progresses further in the process.

I’m not only going to blame recruiters for not including salary ranges on job postings though. I’m sure I’m not the only recruiter who’s had a hiring manager ask to start sourcing candidates and then “we can then determine salary after we meet a few”.

Obviously, the answer to that was no. Lots of interesting things happen in recruitment 🙂

A salary range is one of the most important items to discuss at a recruitment intake meeting before you even start thinking of a candidate sourcing strategy.

Download a free recruitment intake template here

If you don’t include salary ranges on job postings, you are wasting time

Everyone’s time.

Candidates who aren’t within the salary range will apply, you’ll get excited, your hiring managers will get excited and then…. everything will come crashing down once you realize those candidates’ expectations are $30,000 over your salary range. Not only is this a time-waster, but now you’ve ruined those candidates’ experiences and the hiring manager thinks you’re an incompetent recruiter.

Ugh, you’ll now spend hours lurking on your company’s Glassdoor page to see if they’ve written about their crappy experience. 

More than ever before, recruiters (especially corporate recruiters) are drowning in reqs and yet, have high expectations placed on them to deliver countless purple squirrels.  All while delivering a spectacular candidate experience, juggling various recruitment metrics and keeping recruiting cost down.

A very, very tall order.

I could go on about what’s plaguing the traditional recruitment model (in fact, I did here), but I’ll cut to the chase instead — one thing is clear: we’re starting a brand new year and the recruitment process has to be more efficient in 2020. 

One of many ways to do that is as simple as putting salary information on job postings.

Why companies are still reluctant to include salary ranges on job postings

More often than not, the reason most companies are lagging behind this recruitment trend is due to the attitude of “we’ve always done it that way”.

If you dig deeper though, the real reason is one (or all) of these three:

1. They wrongly think not including a salary range gives them more leverage to negotiation

After all, how do you negotiate salary when a range is already posted? The answer is simple — for each job in your company, you must have clear compensation guidelines that are aligned with the level of experience and knowledge you expect from an employee.

Let’s say the salary range you’ve posted on a job description is $60,000 to $80,000. Before you even start recruiting, clearly indicate the competency level that is expected in various areas of that range. Define the range into three sections:

Salary range for recruiting

When you interview candidates the right way, you can determine where they fit in the range and if you get into job offer negotiations, it’s easy to justify the salary you’ve offered. By being transparent about your salary range, you can help candidates understand the salary progression and how it aligns with their performance once they join your company.

If you haven’t already done so, this is one of the reasons it’s really important to include a scorecard in your interview guide. Here’s an interview guide template that includes a scorecard.

2. They don’t want their existing employees to feel they’re not paid well (more on this below)

If you’re worried that your existing employees will see the salary range on job posting and think they’re not well paid it could only mean one thing — they are not well paid.

There has to be a culture of transparency for this to work.

Ideally, each employee in the company should fall within the appropriate range for their job, meaning that none of your exiting employees should be compensated below the minimum of the range.

3. Companies are afraid that their competitors will use salary information to poach their existing employees

You can’t retain employees by keeping them in the dark and to be honest, I usually takes far more than a higher salary to pouch candidates. I’ve attempted to source passive candidates who I thought would be attracted by a higher salary, only to discover that other factors like company culture, benefits, etc. were higher on their list of demands.

So how do you go about implementing this big change to your recruitment process?

Before including salaries on job postings, get your internal equity in check

So now we know that including salary ranges on job descriptions is a big task than just slapping on a range. If a company has a compensation structure that’s a mess, getting that under control should be the first priority.

This is especially hard for startups who are eager to hire but aren’t thinking long term about salary equity when they make a purple squirrel a job offer. Those startups turn into small/mid-sized companies with employee salaries all over the place – a complete compensation nightmare.

Creating salary ranges is hard work, but it’s absolutely essential to attracting the right candidates and being fair to existing employees.

Once you get your house in order, you can share your salary ranges with absolute confidence.

The right way to include salary ranges in job descriptions

We’ve all seen job postings that end with a reference to offering a “competitive salary”. If anything, those postings are the perfect example of how not to include salary information on a job posting:

How not to include salary ranges on a job description

This may as well not even be included in the job posting. Using words like ‘competitive’ or ‘generous’ are vague and offer no real value to a candidate who’s trying to decide whether or not to apply to the job.

If this is the only type of information you can share on the job posting, it’s best to skip it altogether.

A good job posting includes a specific salary range with both low and high points for that particular job. Here’s a great example from LinkedIn (you can read more about LinkedIn salary insights here):

LinkedIn Salary Insights

If your compensation structure is in order and you have no fear of transparency, try including salary ranges for your next few job postings and see the difference it makes it attracting the right type of candidate.

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