Channelling the Spice Girls this fine morning. I’ve been on the phone a lot lately. And for some reason, I’m really enjoying it, I thought for years I was so much more content to be behind the screen…finding candidates….emailing….serving them up to recruiting teams on a silver platter. I’ve gotten a second lease on this recruiting life bouncing back to corporate after retained search and I’m so intent on doing things right.
It started with kindness. I’m all about that, all the time. With my candidates, my co-workers, my family, with the crazy people driving on the road in the morning. And I will call you out if you’re not being kind. It’s not too much to ask.
One of my character flaws, or in some cases greatest strengths, depending….is that I’m direct. Not unfiltered, but direct. I actually forewarn, maybe even apologize to people who are just getting to know me, about this directness of mine. So you can imagine that when I start the salary conversation, it’s truly because I’m not interested in wasting your time. And I’m not interested in tip-toeing around the subject.
I’ll give you a couple of choices….you can ballpark what you’d like to be making….or you can tell me what you’re making now and say…I need more to make a move. I’m hoping for this $$$. Personally, I like option 2. I don’t need detailed salary history, but parameters are awesome.
Ultimately, it’s all good.
For some reason when it’s between men and women talking to me about salary related to full-time jobs, one group is always really direct, totally puts their cards on the table. There is no dance, which is so refreshing. When I was talking to my current employer about salary, I was very direct. I knew exactly what it would take to get me on the road and out of the virtual office. Why did I know this? I’ve been thinking about it for what seems like eons as I contemplated a move back to a corporate setting.
And, well, my husband. He has been the one in the background coaching and counseling me for years, scolding me for undervaluing my skills and abilities when it came to salary negotiations. His mantra has been…You should always know your value and always know what you’re willing to ask. And interestingly enough, I surprised him with this job… he didn’t know I was interviewing and when I told him what my salary “ask” had been….for once (mind you…once) in 20+ years….he agreed.
Not bad advice. Is this ability to quantify our professional worth innately easy for one sex versus another? I don’t know.
But this concept of knowing your worth applies to temp…short term…on demand work as well. You should always know your preferred hourly rate. W-2 vs 1099. Know what kind of tax hit you’re in for and what you need to take home. As an employer, I’m not out to discount you, I want to work with you.
And if you need to think about it and get back to me, do that. I get that. But don’t let the employer set the bar if you have rent to pay. Worst case as an employer, I’ll let you know if you’re at the top or out of our pay range. Best case, I’ll let you know I can work with you.
But you just have to tell me. It’s easy.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.