A friend of mine who’s actively looking for a job pinged me yesterday morning looking for advice on what salary to request. My friend’s requested salary was a required field on the application form. I don’t like this, and I said as much via Twitter.
Asking an applicant for a salary requirement before letting them meet you is evil.
— Clark Rasmussen (@clarkjrasmussen) January 28, 2015
Another friend called me out on that, so allow me to explain a bit further.
I’m a firm believer in the hiring process being a two-way street. It’s as much an opportunity for a company to vet an applicant as it is for the applicant to confirm that he or she actually wants to work at that company. By naming a dollar amount up front, the applicant is forced to do so without any of the information that would be gathered during the interview process.
All jobs are not created equal. Maybe I’ll take less money from your company because you’ve got some really cool technology I want to work with or you’re closer to my house or there’s a good restaurant across the street. Maybe I want more from you than I would someone else because you have an open office plan or you give less time off or I’m going to have an awful commute to get to the office.
I will say that this doesn’t account for job postings that include a salary range, which would seemingly be the company stating up front what they’re willing to offer, without knowing anything about the candidate. In my friend’s case, there was no range given. That means they were asking “You know nothing about the job, you know nothing about how much we’re offering, what’s your price?”
That said, I don’t really think companies should bother with a salary range. I can go on Glassdoor and see what the range I can expect to get for a given job is. So can the company. Both sides should know what to expect without spelling it out ahead of time. I think that the interview process is a valuable enough learning experience that I’m willing to take the chance on getting a lower-than-expected offer if I apply somewhere and it turns out we’re not on the same page.
Maybe some people – and some companies – aren’t willing to take that chance. That’s a mistake.