How much do you earn?

Written by Orla Treacy

It is not the most comfortable question to ask or answer but this is why we ask for salary details in our first interviews.

We always ask for candidates’ salary package details during our first interview. We also always request the details of the maximum salary on offer from our clients before we engage on a search. The reasons we work in this manner is simply to avoid time wasting.

Compared to the majority of firms that operate at an executive level, we do not charge up-front retainer fees. Therefore, we are entirely incentivized to place candidates with our clients, rather than other firms who earn the lion’s share of their fee before any offers reach the table.

If we were to send candidates without knowing that they are within our clients’ salary budgets, we would potentially ruin entire processes and waste a lot of time. Imagine the unpleasant surprise of a candidate reaching offer stage, receiving approval from all stakeholders, and then learning that they are unobtainable due to compensation expectations. Some candidates are reluctant to share their compensation details during the first call with us but once explained it tends to make sense to them and they agree. We confirm all the details in writing following the interview so there is no room for misunderstandings. There is always some degree of flexibility from the clients’ side for the ideal person but in general, it is much better to be as transparent as possible about the issue of compensation from the beginning. 

When we submit candidates to our clients, we share their current salary package details, their salary expectations, assuming this role would be of interest to them and they were to accept a job offer, and their notice periods. This way, even before interviewing them, our clients have full visibility on what it would take to get them on board and how long it would take. It also allows our clients to see what the market value of these candidates is, it allows them to seek internal approval on offers outside the pay scales if required well in advance of the end of the process and helps us fine-tune the search based on the budget available.

Discussing compensation is not always the easiest and most comfortable topic but doing so provides benefits to all parties involved.