It’s Not Negotiable
Do you know how to haggle? Some people delight in the prospect of obtaining a more favorable side to monetary negotiations. Others not only dread this thought, but will go to amazing lengths to avoid it. Whether you’re a buyer, a seller, a hiring manager, or an interview candidate, you’ve probably had to play the tug-of-war game when it came to money. But all that may be changing in the name of fairness.
As a consumer, there are few places where one can still barter and even those are shrinking. Take, for example, car dealerships. It’s assumed that the buyer and salesperson will wrangle for hours in order to get the best perceived deal. Now, however, many car sales locations are eliminating this practice -- and drawing plenty of customers who don’t mind paying a fair price as long as they don’t believe they’re getting ripped off.
This “no haggle” policy is also being implemented during the hiring process. Salary negotiations are one of the most important aspects of any job. Your starting salary sets the tone for all future raises and compensation. As an applicant, you’re elated when you find out you landed the position, but then may feel disappointed when the salary being offered doesn’t meet your expectations.
An article on Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) website titled, “The Viability of Banning Salary Negotiations,” discusses the benefit of ensuring fair pay while still attracting top talent. The article profiles Reddit, a well-known Internet/technology company based in Silicon Valley. Their hiring policy sets salaries based on competitive market rates for each position. And according to a spokesperson for Reddit, the company has seen an uptick in candidates (who specifically cite this policy) seeking to work at the company. A positive side effect is that banning salary negotiations may lead to better salary equality among employees regardless of race or gender. It’s believed that women and minorities are usually offered lower salaries, and by starting a particular position within the company at the same pay rate it would eliminate that gap.
The article raises a serious problem when it comes to salary negotiations as these discussions can sometimes be seen as a negative toward employer/employee relations. For example, another company in the article discusses how these negotiations, before someone is even hired, establishes an “us versus them” attitude. Furthermore, it sets a tone of distrust and dishonesty. If a company offers a candidate a low salary, but would be willing to pay more, then they are essentially saying that they think the candidate is worth X amount, but is going to offer Y amount just to see if they accept it. On the flipside, a candidate who throws out a ridiculously high number, knowing that you often have to start high to get what you want, yet then settles for something much less is basically starting their working relationship with a lie.