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Last minute salary changes – are they worth it?

Author: Will Velios
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Over the years I’ve seen this scenario happen a number of times… Hirers take a candidate through the whole recruitment process and decide that they definitely want them to join their team!

But at the last minute decide to offer a lower salary than has been discussed throughout the process. I’ve seen this happen both through a recruiter and directly with the candidate.

The rationale behind this decision always makes me think. Is this a tactic to test their commitment? Are they trying to save money?

From my point of view, the implications of under offering could be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful placement. Firstly, and most importantly, hirers ultimately stand to miss out on the best talent. There are a finite number of well qualified candidates on the market at any one time, meaning they are likely to have many options on the table. It is easy to assume that a candidate asking for more money is due to greed or them not being 100% sold on the opportunity to work for them. The reality is that a good candidate may have numerous other offers and will most likely be counter offered when they hand their notice in!

But what happens if a candidate does accept an offer lower than they were hoping for? Does this mean that you are starting off on the wrong foot? A new job should be exciting! But a low salary offer at the last minute will more than likely make the candidate feel undervalued, increasing the chances of them leaving for another role, offering the salary they originally wanted, down the line.

My advice to any hirer isn’t to offer the highest salaries possible, but it is to think long and hard about what you are willing to invest in this new member of your team – and stick to it!

On the flip side of this, as a jobseeker, it’s important to understand the salary on offer for a particular role and how it compares to what you are looking for. Make sure that you know what the current market rate is before attending any interviews (any good recruiter will be able to tell you this!) and be realistic about your experience. It may seem taboo to talk about salary with a prospective employer, but it is important that you are clear and concise about your salary early in the process, and why you think you are worth it (who can blame a hirer for making a low offer if they don’t know what you are already earning or looking for!).

Also try to consider the whole package on offer. Yes, the figure that hits your bank account may not be what you were after, but does the company offer any other benefits or perks that supplement this? Is the actual role, the opportunity to learn or the culture more of a factor than the overall financial package?

The reality is that the market is changing and candidates have much more of a say in where they go. The recruitment process needs to be a two-way affair and communication is critical! If the employer and candidate are open about expectations from the outset, there should not be any issues.

Will Velios is a recruitment consultant at Forward Role specialising in agency roles. He can be found tweeting at @ForwardRoleWill and on LinkedIn here

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