Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Salary Flexibility: Is it Enough?

Scenario: You are out of work and come across a job that you are clearly overqualified for. In fact this looks just like a position that you held five years ago. The salary that is posted is close to $20,000 less than what you were making in your last position. You have been out of work for close to three months and quite frankly, you would accept that salary. You hit the send button and forward your resume to the company.

So what happens now? In most cases, experienced recruiters will quickly review your resume and not call you in for an interview. The reason is pretty simple. While you are clearly qualified for the position, you represent a huge retention risk. The investment corporations make in training and orienting a new employee is considerable. In most cases the return on their hiring investment occurs sometime between year 1 and year 2. Recruiting professionals and hiring managers recognize that once the market rebounds (and the market WILL rebound), jobs will become more plentiful and employees that are underpaid will most likely leave.

There are other employers that will recognize these very points, but instead will look to maximize their investment by hopefully having a more productive and experienced employee on board for as long as they can. They are basically willing to accept the retention risk.

In speaking with a candidate today, he presented some compelling arguments that he wanted me to convey to my client. Here are some of those arguments and a few other suggestions you may want to consider using:

  1. Stress the increased productivity that they will receive by having a more experienced person on staff.
  2. Discuss any additional value that you may be able to offer that a lesser skilled hire could not provide. If this additional value is relevant to the employer, it may open their eyes to a new way of thinking.
  3. Make some guarantee regarding the minimum length of employment that you are willing to commit to.
  4. Offer a short trial period where the employer can see you and your experience in action. At the successful conclusion of this trial, employment could continue, roles and responsibilities potentially expanded, or salary revisited.

Corporations that are hiring in this marketplace recognize the difficulties that job seekers are facing. Ultimately their hiring decisions are based on the perceived value that prospective candidates offer. And therein lies your challenge

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