Argentus Search Stories: How to Avoid Salary Stumbles in Hiring

June 7, 2016


When it comes to hiring in a competitive market, salary considerations are often the biggest thing separating a great hire from a frustrating search. It’s one of the trickiest things to get right, especially because hiring managers don’t often have enough background research in place about appropriate salary levels for a position – and many are forced to price jobs based on budgetary factors rather than what’s competitive.

But it’s worth thinking about the true cost of misaligned salary expectations in terms of your hiring process. As a recruitment agency specializing in Supply Chain, we at Argentus see this issue quite often. The field is booming, with companies valuing Supply Chain talent more than ever, and companies often face hiring frustrations when salary becomes a stumbling block in the hiring process.

Here are a few examples:

A company is hiring a Strategic Sourcing Manager, say in the Professional Services category. They tell Argentus that their budget is a 95k a year salary, base. We go through the process of sourcing people at that level, and find them – maybe a strong senior Buyer with strategic experience looking to make a move, or a Strategic Sourcing Manager with lots of category experience from the Consulting industry. The candidates go in for an interview. Maybe they go in for a second interview. And then, at some point in the interview, the hiring manager tells the candidate that their budget is 80k.

We understand that companies and hiring managers want to save money, but they aren’t doing themselves any favours by misrepresenting their budget. By assuming that a candidate (especially in a high-demand function) will want to come in for a lower salary than advertised, all the company has done is wasted the candidate’s time, which impacts their employer brand. They’ve also used some of their biggest resources – the hiring manager and recruiters’ time – that would be better spent elsewhere.

One other time-killing activity that happens more broadly is companies asking recruiters like Argentus to try to find candidates below the market rate. We’ve had a few clients end up frustrated by a lack of good candidates, clients who nevertheless insist on offering, say, 55k for a strong Demand Planner when we know that top Demand planners even at the junior end make 65k at a minimum.

Again, we get that budgeting is a consideration. But if you fail to offer market rate or better, you’ll fail to attract the best candidates, or any candidates at all. The job will sit unfilled, costing the organization (in this example) the kind of forecasting that might save millions – in addition to the recruitment resources you’ve put into the search. Or, worse, you risk making a suboptimal hire.

In a talent market as tight as Procurement and Supply Chain, where top strategic performers routinely field multiple offers, does a company really gain anything by offering low salaries to save money? We think not.

As recruiters who’ve been operating in this space for more than a decade, we have a good sense of salary expectations – data that we try to share with our network as much as possible. Part of what we offer companies is the knowledge of what salaries will attract the best candidates while still being cost-effective. Just like Deloitte, Accenture, or any other business consultant, a specialist recruiter offers the kind of market intelligence that your business can capitalize on.

In our opinion, companies need to see this kind of market intelligence as an asset, rather than a nuisance. They need to understand that recruiters aren’t suggesting inflated salary levels to get bigger fees, they’re in fact trying to realign their client’s expectations towards a more realistic salary because it will make the hiring process more efficient and effective for everyone involved – and because the top talent in Procurement and Supply Chain pays for itself many times over. logo_icon

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