This is a dreaded question every job seeker faces. With the emergence of online applications, one cannot move forward until he inputs a number in the online field – this can be frustrating because you do not want to undercut your salary potential nor price yourself out of the job. Let’s see how this information is used by hiring employers.
Why does an employer want “Desired Salary” when they know what they are willing to pay?
The “Desired Salary” inquiry is usually a filtering question for applications. This means a recruiter will conduct a search of applicants on the company’s applicant tracking system using a salary range (among other criteria) to help identify a target list of candidates. In today’s market where there are often hundreds of applicants for a single opening, recruiters need to have some filtering mechanisms in order to reach a more manageable number of candidates.
The rationale behind the salary filtering is if an employer is looking to spend a salary of 50-60K on an employee, why go through the interview process with individuals who are looking for jobs in the 70-80K range and may balk at the offered salary? Conversely, if a person is looking for a salary in the 30-35K range, the applicant is probably underqualified for the position.
While applicants may say they want the job and are willing to take a lower salary, a hiring employer will see major red flags by interviewing someone in the above scenario. Some pitfalls include:
- Even if the employer offers the job to the candidate, she will balk at the offered salary and turn down the offer. Now, the employer has lost time and (possibly) other strong candidates and the position is still unfilled.
- The candidate will take the offer and salary, but ultimately feel he is underpaid. This feeling will turn into resentment and cause performance issues.
- The candidate will say yes to the job and salary, but start looking for a better paying job on Day 1. The new employee will not be engaged in her work and is a serious flight risk. No employer wants to fill a position only to have to conduct another search six months later when the employee leaves.
This is a harsh reality, but a reality where the worst case scenarios often occur. Employers will place these applications under the umbrella of “overqualified” candidates. Tomorrow I will offer some ideas of how to overcome the “overqualified” status if you are TRULY open to the lower salary/job function.