Job Search Etiquette Question

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Job Search Etiquette Question

Postby RHITee05 » Tue May 31, 2011 12:58 pm

I'm looking for some advice on an etiquette issue related to a job search.

My wife is the Executive Director of a small non-profit organization (including her, 4 employees, one of which is part-time). She's in the process of searching for a new hire to replace one of those employees. She's already done 1st interviews with several people, a couple of which seem like good candidates, so the next step is to ask them back for a 2nd interview.

The issue is that, based on the salary history the candidates gave her, my wife knows that she can't come close to matching their current salaries. The best she would be able to offer is something like 15-20% less than their last/current job. She doesn't want to waste everybody's time with another interview if there's no way they would accept the offer. She isn't in a position to give them a number or a range yet, but I suggested that when inviting the candidate(s) to a 2nd interview she should just tell them that she wouldn't be able to match their previous salary without being more specific. I know it's general practice not to discuss salary until an offer is on the table, but in this case that seems like the courteous thing to do to me.

I'm very far from being any sort of HR expert, though. Does anybody else have a suggestion on how to handle the situation?

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Re: Job Search Etiquette Question

Postby YoungGun » Tue May 31, 2011 1:58 pm

I don't work in HR, but while I was an Intern at one of my jobs I sat in a cube right beside the lady who did all the hiring for the company (company had roughly 40 employees at the time and was growing fast, so didn't really have a department, but she made alot of calls.) I couldn't hear the other end of the line, but she would on frequent occasions say "we can't meet that sort of salary, you need to look at CA or maybe the east coast if you are expecting that." (This business was in Las Vegas.) I would also hear her give broad ranges at time, but it usually was more of a "we cant meet that" or "we are a smaller company, ...."

This woman wasn't the one that decided who to hire, she didn't even do the physical interviews, she just was the one assigned to setting up interviews and screening people before they came into the office (make sure they are actually interested, where they live, ect.)

My recommendation is if they live in the same town, then the worst case scenario is that you waste a couple hours of that person's life. I imagine most people that are applying for a non-profit organization (Specially that size) should expect a pay cut, and would do it out of passion or want. If they live in another state then it may be polite to say something along the lines of "We are very interested in bringing you in for a 2nd interview, but I don't want to give you any false impressions, we are a small non-profit organization and we won't be able to meet your current salary."

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Re: Job Search Etiquette Question

Postby Tightwad » Tue May 31, 2011 2:01 pm

I'd concur with your idea but I'm not an expert either. Most people already employed aren't going to take a pay cut unless they absolutely have to so there's no use in leading them on.

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Re: Job Search Etiquette Question

Postby Capo » Tue May 31, 2011 5:28 pm

You do not have to talk specific numbers, but I believe being upfront with the salary range is etiquette appropriate.

You're also a non-profit, which means that some people are probably not in it for the money (depending on the type of non-profit). If that's the case, just be upfront with your range and make sure that your top dollar listed is actually something you can do. Or, if you'd prefer, you can list 5% under your true max for a little negotiation room.

As with all things in life, you get what you pay for. If I walk into a BMW dealership with 20k and say give me a new car, I'm going to be laughed at. If I walk into a Kia dealership, they'll say "right this way, sir."

Be fair to yourself and those you're interviewing. There is no reason to lead on more senior people if you cannot properly compensate them. Let them know your range and if they back out, then you've saved everyone a lot of time.

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Re: Job Search Etiquette Question

Postby bpgui » Tue May 31, 2011 6:38 pm

I see a problem that could arise if you provide them with a range. They know the top level. If you give them a range of 30k to 40k and later offer 33k, the potential hire knows exactly how much you CAN pay, and will be much more persistent in negotiating the pay higher.

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Re: Job Search Etiquette Question

Postby Savarel » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:47 pm

Not-for-profit pretty much implies you wont be getting rich. If they are worth hiring, then they already know that.

When someone says, "xxK up to 60K", all the interviewee hears is "60K".

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Re: Job Search Etiquette Question

Postby DoingHomework » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:13 pm

I've done my share of hiring and interviewing for myself. This issue is very common. I don't know what is considered acceptable but it's usually best to not waste people's time. If you know someone has been making $40,000 a year, it's best, in my opinion, to be proactive and tell the person that you'd like to invite them for a second interview but that the position only pays up to $35,000 or whatever. You simply must pick a number. Because if the interviewee does not know that going in then there is a good chance they will not accept the job anyway or, if they do, will leave rather quickly if the job market warms up again.

I might be biased because I have spent most of my career in jobs where my salary was either public record or was publicly disclosed in SEC filings. I've always found keeping salaries secret to be a pretty dumb concept that HR people seem to think matters.

The truth is, if you are interviewing candidates for a job that pays $40,000, those with a $60,000 salary history are likely to be the most qualified anyway so unless there is some reason those people would be interested in the job, you're probably wasting your time and theirs calling them in for a second interview without telling them the salary range.

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Re: Job Search Etiquette Question

Postby nerddason » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:39 pm

I have to say that I agree a lot with what has been previously stated as that an employee looking to change positions (especially to a non-profit) should have a knowledge that a small operation of 5-10 employees is not going to have comparable pay & benefits as a large corporately structured business. Some may be willing to take a cut to move to a low key small operation or some may just need the employment. I personally have experienced applicants applying for a teller position that have master's degrees recently, which is a clear sign of employment desperation.

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