I riffed a lot last year about the unwillingness of some managers to negotiate on what they were willing to pay for a position at both the HR Capitalist and FOT. I think managers ought to enter into pay conversations with some form of flexibility, but if you’re not flexible, at least be inflexible based on some relevant factors – not because you think you’ve got the power and the individual ought to accept whatever you need to offer. That stinks, and it’s going to boomerrang back at you when the economy recovers…
It’s the power in the hands of the employer that leads some people to say you should never tell an employer what you make. Interesting concept, but fundamentally flawed, since employers like me will likely move on if you don’t care enough to give me a number.
Here’s a bigger question – how do you validate what the candidate says they’re making now or have made in the past? The first way to get into that is to ask them what they need from a compensation perspective. That’s a softer way to get into the question, and my favorite, low impact way to ask is, “So what’s it going to take from a money standpoint to get you to move?”.
Other best practices – use your career site to ask for two data points – 1) what the candidate’s current salary is, and 2) what the candidate’s expected salary is.
So, let’s say you ask one or both of those questions face to face, but you’re still unsure if the candidate is being totally honest with you. What can you do to verify they made what they say they did?
Ask for the W-2 for the year(s) in question. Welcome to Thunderdome, kids. It’s a hardcore tactic, but in going to lunch last week with a Sales candidate, I was reminded why I love recruiting sales pros.
I didn’t have an online application from the candidate in question (sourced directly by me!), so I asked the “what’s it going to take’ question. Like a true sales pro, the candidate in question actually tells me, “Well, I W-2’d $xxx,000 last year.
I laughed – after playing so many games through the years on the compensation front, I forgot for a brief time period how transparent Sales Pro candidates can be. Why the transparency? I think it’s because a lot of sales pros, if they have any experience at all, actually expect that the sales manager in question is going to ask them for their W-2. The phrase “transparent results” also comes to mind.
Welcome to the hardcore recruiting world of recruiting sales pros.. The rest of the candidate pool could probably learn something from that. Mix it up next week and ask a non-sales candidate to bring their W-2 to their first interview. Just to mix it up and get the blood circulating…
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.