An HR Manager Job That Pays $374,000? The Debate Over Posting Salaries

I ran into an age old issue last week, which for some reason hadn’t come up for a very long time, but there it was staring me right in the face, and I still don’t get it!

Here’s the issue: should you post the salary (or your desired salary range based on experience,yadda, yadda, yadda) for the position you are hiring, or not?

My guess is you clicked on this post because you wanted to find out which kind of HR manager position pays $374K! Well, none – but you clicked, I win – but while you’re here, let’s take a look at the issue at play because it’s a polarizing one among HR Pros.

Posting the salary creates the most interest

I say post the salary, right out in front for God and everyone to see. It will create most interest, which gives you a larger pool of candidates, which gives you better odds at filling your position with the type of talent that fits your organization. It also allows you to eliminate many candidates who won’t accept your job because you’re too cheap.

Sure you’ll get some people who see $98K, and they are making $45K, but they want to make $98K, so they send their resume – hoping. But we’re smarter than that. Plus, maybe Mr. $45K would be a great fit for me for another position, or in three more years when I have the same position open.

Posting the salary on a job post creates 137 percent more candidate traffic than those posts which don’t list salary, or at least it feels that way to me when I do it that way! I’m sure Eric and Matt over at Monster can probably come up with some more precise figures on this exactly, but I’ll bet my made up math isn’t too far from correct.

It’s common sense; you walk by a store and see “help wanted,” and no one goes in. You walk by the store and you see “Help Wanted $12/hr,” and they have a line out the door asking for applications.

3 reasons why you wouldn’t post the salary

There are only three reasons you wouldn’t list the target salary for the position you are hiring for:

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  1. You know you’re paying below market, and you don’t want to the competition to know, because they’ll cherry pick your best people;
  2. You can’t find the talent you want, so you’ve increased the salary target, but you aren’t going to increase the salary of the poor suckers already working for you at the lower amount.
  3. You don’t know what you’re doing!

Look, I get it. I’ve been there. You don’t want to list salary because your current employees don’t understand that while the position title is the same, you are “really” looking for someone with more experience. Or, we just don’t have the budget to raise up everyone already working for us, but we really need some additional talent. Or, we’ve always did it this way, and we want people who are “interested in us” and not money.

Don’t make it harder than it needs to be

Well, let me break it to you gently – you’re an idiot. People are interested in you because the value equation of what you are offering fits into their current lifestyle. Otherwise, you could just move forward as a volunteer organization now couldn’t you?

Do yourself a favor: don’t make recruiting harder than it has to be. Just tell people what you have to offer – “We’re a great place to work, we have these benefits, they’ll cost you about this much, and we are willing to pay “$X” for this position. If this is you, we want to speak to you. If it’s not – and that’s great too – check back because we might have something for you in the future.”

Also, let me know if you find an HR Manager job that pays $374K. I know the perfect candidate!

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


2 Comments on “An HR Manager Job That Pays $374,000? The Debate Over Posting Salaries

  1. I agree with Maureen – people are always going to go for more money. But as you said, Tim, even if they mention the salary, hiring managers should always be up-front about every part of the position being offered – not just the compensation.

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