No, the industry isn’t going all NBA with an imposed salary cap. I’m using the patois of my peers, the cultural casual vernacular where ‘cap’ effectively means bullshit. Those of Sean’s age feel free to thank me for keeping you relevant. It’s time to bring to light some of the BS around salaries! Why fighting for the highest salary may not be in your best interest and why misrepresenting your current salary is a bad move. I will attempt to clear up some misconceptions and hopefully make my life easier in the process.
In my experience, a candidate that accepts an offer the same as their current salary is doing it for a particular reason. They want to work in a more lucrative sector, they want a clear and tangible path to leadership or there is an element of upskilling involved that the agency will provide. Having said that, it is still pretty rare for a consultant to move for the same money, a wee $5K bump is almost to be expected nowadays. I wish we didn’t live in a capitalist consumer-driven society, but we do. One of the significant yardsticks we use for worth is money; from what we buy to how we’re perceived. At offer stage, I urge all my clients that if there is enough in the tank for an increase then put your best foot forward because; I can’t take back an offer once I’ve presented it! You’re essentially saying that you value the candidate less than your competition does, only to come back with an increase of $2.5K. It leaves a bad taste and the candidate feels less like the ideal choice and more like a product you’re trying to haggle for. While I have business owners’ ears; it’s 2019! $45K is not a suitable salary for anyone who plans on having a life in Auckland. Unless you live at home with mum and dad, circulate the one lightbulb from room to room and hitch a ride to work on the back of a rubbish truck it’s not enough to sustain a 20 something in their first role out of uni. If you’re in a billing role I think $50K is only fair. I want to relent a little bit on the client-side because trust is very much a two-way street and some people see the interview process as an opportunity to earn money, without actually doing anything that requires a lot of work.
By saying you’re on $5K more than you are actually on you transform that wee 5K bump into a double-figure increase. It’s tempting but ultimately short-sighted. Why? Surely Mr/Mrs. Client will appreciate my chutzpah! I’m merely showing them my negotiation skills wink wink, nudge nudge. It’s a very quick way to undermine someone’s confidence in you. It will all come out in the wash or more specifically at reference stage, the part in the process you want zero hiccups. There is also the risk that you can be perceived as overqualified. The natural thinking behind this is that you are on more money because you possess a skill set that is highly desirable to an employer. All of a sudden, the roles that you’re interested in, you don’t appear suitable for.
Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager; you’ve interviewed two candidates; both have interviewed well and appear to be at a similar competency level. Candidate A has a salary of $75K, Candidate B has a salary of $80K. Factor in that your client will likely pay an invoice at some point for this service provided you can understand there may be a slight lean towards Candidate A. Another factor is that if the client is going for the ‘premium’ candidate they will expect a premium service, their ‘pound of flesh’ as it were. In a seamless segue to a distinctive characteristic of a Scott blog; Gareth Bale. A world-class football player rotting away in the Real Madrid squad, why? No one in world football can afford him. He has priced himself out of a market which, before this, seemed to have no roof on it. $1.2m a week was getting thrown around at one point! That China deal predictably fell apart under its own weight. For those of us who can’t take their trade to a Chinese league my advice; be honest and transparent when discussing salary. The hiring process is stressful enough as is, more so when harboring misinformation. It’s like smuggling drugs internationally, so much harder when you know you have something to hide 😅
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