Dear J.T. & Dale: I’ve noticed a lot of companies posting salaries that are so out of touch that they are well below the market. They clearly don’t know the job-seekers have the upper hand right now. What can I do to politely tell a company I’m interested in working for them, but their salaries are way off? — Bo
J.T.: I would never tell a company their salaries are off — that’s the fastest way to being put on the “do not hire” list. Instead, I would ask how they came up with their salary ranges and if they are open to higher levels based on experience. Some companies just don’t have the budget to hire at a premium. More importantly, some don’t want to. There is an economic shift going on right now that will swing the upper hand back to employers. Indeed, those people who got hired at higher rates may find themselves the first to be laid off. You are at the mercy of the market until you can prove you’re worth more. Proving your worth is part of negotiating the right pay. And that starts with leveraging emotional intelligence to inquire around the company’s salary-setting mindset so you can find a tactful way to get them to consider paying more.
DALE: Yes, the upper-handedness pendulum does seem ready to change direction, but the speed of that change will vary by profession, industry and geography. So, you’ll need to do research on salaries and see if the companies you’re referring to have mispriced the labor market or if your own estimations are mistaken. Spend a day with online sources of data — salary.com, Glassdoor, Indeed, and so on — but just one day. After that, get out and network. Research the market by visiting former colleagues, alumni and social media connections. What you want is someone to bring you in for a job where your value is made clear by an insider. Salaries are a matter of supply and demand, but you can create demand for precisely what you supply.
Dear J.T. & Dale: I’m exploring becoming a recruiter after working in sales and marketing. I need a job because my industry has been suffering huge losses lately. I had a follow-up interview today with a VP of a big staffing agency. It went well, but he told me that, if I go into recruiting, I need to be “100% committed to the career” and that I would “be giving up on the marketing career.” That feels odd. I’m supposed to get back to them on that and some other issues. What is the play here? It feels too hard-sell in my book. There’s no long-term contract, so why all the push for long-term commitment? — Talia
DALE: The interviewer’s remarks strike me as odd, but only because it’s a question that answers itself. The only acceptable answer is “Yes, I’m ready to commit 100% — all in!” Nobody hires someone who says, “Yeah, pay me while training me, and maybe I’ll like it and stay, or maybe marketing openings will perk up and I’ll jump back into that.” If the interviewer is asking you this question, I suspect you’re already failing the test. Come back strong or walk away.
J.T.: As someone who spent years in the staffing industry, I’ll tell you that they aren’t hard-selling as much as making it clear that, to make it as a recruiter, you’ll want to dig in and commit. He’s not wrong. There is a learning curve. But, those who stick it out make very good money. Now, all that said, if you don’t end up liking recruiting, I promise you’ll know in a year and then can move on to another position. But the time you spend in recruiting will teach you so much about the business of hiring, it will be worth it. Plus, make no mistake, the best recruiters are marketers. They know how to educate talent and employers in order to get them to match. So, you’ll be using that experience every day.
Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.” Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2022 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.