Salary Negotiations, by Will Saunders


Take a look at job boards. There are a lot of them. Some are generic — everything you want in one place no matter the type of job you seek. Some are regional. Some are specifically for positions within a certain city or state. Still, others are for a given industry (i.e., medicine, education, law, information-technology, etc). One thing most of them have in common is the salary is missing. Either salary is missing altogether or there is a statement indicating salary is negotiable but still no specific dollar amount is stated.

Hiring managers (or perhaps it’s a decision by someone in the Human Resources Department) who decide to omit salary may not realize how much it wastes people’s time. I have personal experience with this. About four years ago, I applied for a job at an international global aerospace, defense, and security company headquartered in Maryland a short drive from my home. I found a position that read like it was created just for me. Everything they wanted from the ideal candidate were things I possessed. The background, experiences, education, certifications, and all, I had. I was excited. Among the long list of benefits, I was most interested in the medical, dental, and the “generous 401k” listed in the announcement as part of the benefits package.

I was in a rut at the time and was looking for a new job. So, I applied for the vacancy. I uploaded my resumes along with all my and transcripts.  I was even fortunate to get called in for an interview. Twice. The first interview was telephonic. It felt good. The person who would be my immediate supervisor led the interview panel (there were two other company managers on the call). Approximately two weeks later, I was called for another interview, a face-to-face interview. Again, I felt good vibes just like I had on the telephone interview.

I casually mentioned to someone that I was a candidate for a vacancy at this company. The person seemed shocked that I was considering leaving my “good government job,” as they put it. But, as I replied, the skills and competencies that I have acquired on this “good government job” along with the relevant Master of Arts degree entirely paid for by my “good government job” could give me some good experience at this reputable company – so in my mind if the position is fulfilling and adequately compensates me, it doesn’t matter the venue. Anyhow, time went by and I didn’t hear anything. Yes, my contact at Lockheed Martin told me there were lots of applicants, urging my patience as everyone was vetted. So, I tried to muster up some patience, something that I have had trouble with, of late. But I held it together.

Finally, I got the call to offer me the position. I would have been happy had they matched my salary. But they didn’t. They weren’t even close. The offer was about $7,200 lower than I was willing to accept. Bummer. That was such a disappointment. I made a case for a higher salary. After all, if salary is really negotiable as the announcement indicated, then I figured I may as well shoot my shot. He came up $2,500. That was still just under $5,000 lower than what I was willing to accept. Yes, I could have managed comfortably with the lower salary. There could have been positive outcomes for me. Number one, there is plenty of free parking at the facility. Second, the daily commute would be cut in more than half (that alone is a plus); and third, the new position would have afforded me the opportunity to telecommute 2-3 days a week (something I cannot do in my current job). There are a number of other bonuses too, but these would have been the main ones. These could have more than made up for the lower salary. I would certainly have come out ahead in the long run.

But alas, I declined. Just think of the time that is wasted, not only for me but also for the employees at the company. If they listed a salary, that would save everyone time and effort. I understand why this company and other companies don’t list salary. They don’t want to pay someone more than they need to. They could, instead of listing a specific salary, list a generalized salary range (i.e., $80k to 90k; or low $70ks). That way, people won’t even bother to apply for the job if their salary requirements are out of that range.

But it was a good experience, and the hiring manager invited me to apply to future opportunities. I will definitely do so. I may go and check out vacancies right now.

About Will S.

A nouveau Taurus, writing about my view of the world around me. From politics, to social problem, to public corruption, music and movies to pretty much anything I feel inspired to write.
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