By: Amy Petersen

I get it; compensation can be a make or break question. It’s invasive and may not be an accurate portrayal of your skillset. And I agree.

As a seasoned recruiting professional, I can tell you that no matter where I have been in my career, agency or corporate life, I hate having to “hide” the compensation range. When you wait until the end to divulge that information, the entire process can be a waste of everyone’s time. It always leaves me wondering, whatever happened to transparency?

The truth of the matter is, your range is your range and vice versa. In my experience, the range is based on market value, budget and internal equity. The same goes for a candidate – you know what you are currently making, your market value and your compensation goals. Posing the question to all of in the industry, what can I do differently?

Here is my solution. Since it’s not against my current company’s policy, I give candidates’ the range in the first call and ask if it aligns with their compensation goals. If they want more, I let them know that I might have flexibility but there is a reason we came up with this number and I will contact them if anything changes.

For example, we recently decided to make some pretty big compensation and commission changes to a role that we had an immediate need for, but I didn’t have a range yet. Therefore, I let the candidate know we were considering moving towards a high base + low commission or low base + high commission and asked what would work best with their current lifestyle. It went well, and it goes to show when you open those lines of communication people respond. For that reason, what is the point of keeping that oh so scary compensation range so close to the vest?

Not being open effects the relationship long term. Whether in an agency or a company, we may need you in a year or two or ten, and I want you to walk away knowing that we had a great interaction. However, as unfortunate as it might be, all companies or agencies don’t feel the need for transparency. Be on the lookout for ones that are because starting off your interaction with open communications typically points to a mutually beneficial relationship.

What are your stories?