Why not be more open about what potential hires really want to know?
When you buy a car, you ask a lot of questions.
When you buy a house, it’s the same.
You want to be sure that the item you’re putting your time and money into is worth the investment. So why is it that when a candidate asks about salary or benefits (those little things that are important to employees), recruiters and potential employers so often sigh inwardly and drop them to the bottom of the list?
The truth is that even though many of us love our jobs, financial gain is an important part of the equation. If there are some decent benefits thrown in, then all the better. So why is there an aversion to “taboo” topics like pay, vacation, and sick leave at the interview table?
Work culture is to blame
Or to be more precise, the obsession with a positive work culture.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with a great work culture. It makes getting up in the morning worthwhile and encourages both employees and their managers to up their game in every respect. The problem is that in creating such a buzz around this aspect of the workplace, recruiters and employers are allowing the other details regarding the job (that are just as important, if not more) to fall by the wayside.
It’s not uncommon these days for recruiters to spend significant time and resources both promoting the work culture and ensuring that candidates are a match for it. Of course, there are many advantages to hiring with culture fit in mind, but by putting so much focus on this approach, the recruitment industry has lost sight of other material aspects of a job that greatly affect an employee’s personal life.
Let’s talk money
Is it realistic for us to expect a person to attend an initial and quite possibly a second-round interview without ever discussing a financial package? More often than not, this is what happens to candidates on a regular basis. These interview taboos make them nervous.
The benefit to broaching the subject early on in the interview process is that a recruiter is putting an already tense candidate at ease. Some experts even suggest the candidate ask about it before the interview stage. Wondering how they will bring up the topic of money is now one less thing for them to worry about during the interview. Now they can focus on answering questions to the best of their ability and creating as good an impression as possible.
It also cuts down on time wasted for both the candidate and the recruiter if the salary is not what the candidate had in mind. There’s no need for a full-scale salary negotiation, but once a candidate understands the ballpark region of the package, then it’s a simple decision to either continue with the process or move on.
What about holidays and sick leave?
For some candidates with a family, the amount of time they can spend on a beach with their loved ones may, in fact, be more important than their salary. Equally, the ability to take time off should they have a health issue and not have to worry about their mortgage repayments is just as important.
Recruiters will sometimes include these details in job ads, but if not, then it’s important to let the candidate know that their prospective employer cares about their health and family. In fact, this ties in perfectly with the idea of creating a positive work culture. If you want to attract a certain type of candidate, it’s helpful to recognize the advantages of disclosing this information.
Think like a candidate
The easiest way to make sure that your potential hires are getting all the information they need or want is to think like one. Think of all the interviews you’ve attended in the past, and try to remember how it felt to sit on the other side of the table.
Now consider the job you are recruiting for.
What would you want to know about the job? And how difficult would it be for you as a candidate to bring up the subject? Not a very comfortable scenario, right? And this is precisely how the vast majority of your candidates feel when you fail to discuss the benefits.
There are many recruiters who understand the importance of discussing these topics at an early stage, and to those learned souls, we offer a hat tip. But to those who still perpetuate the myth that candidates must never ask about such things, let us remind you of the importance of a positive candidate experience.
It’s time we removed these taboos from the interview process, and the responsibility for doing so lies squarely on the shoulders of those conducting the interviews. So talk money, discuss vacation time, and let potential hires know you care about their health and well-being. The results of full transparency could pay you back in spades.
Ciaran McEneaney is a content creator with a wealth of experience writing for a wide range of niches including the recruitment industry. If you’d like to work with him, you can find him at Gecko Create.