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The Truth Your Staffing Clients Need to Know About Salary Expectations

The Truth Your Staffing Clients Need to Know About Salary Expectations

If you’re like most staffing professionals, you spend most of your day looking for qualified candidates for clients. But given how low unemployment is currently, you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. You need more incentives for stellar talent to leave their current job and consider a position with your client.

Only one problem: this means offering higher pay.

A 2019 survey from Bullhorn found 78 percent of staffing and recruiting professionals believe employers must accelerate pay increases to compete for top talent. Knowing that skilled employees are in demand, candidates have increased salary expectations. However, not all of your clients will be willing, or able, to offer more money. So, what are staffing professionals to do?

While you can’t control your clients’ final offers to candidates, you can alert them to rising salary expectations. This requires an open and honest discussion about the reality of the talent market. Here’s what you can do when your client’s pay range is keeping you from filling a position:

Providing data about salary expectations

A few years ago, most companies could fill vacancies as long as they offered fair compensation. But what’s considered reasonable has changed. If your clients are reluctant to accept this tend, they’ll continue to offer salaries that are no longer competitive. Or worse, they’ll think the issue is with your staffing process.

Remind your clients that what worked last year may not work now. As the Bullhorn survey shows, many companies are just starting to raise their compensation offerings to get an edge in talent acquisition. Your clients will fall behind if they don’t see evidence of their competitors’ increased salaries.

Start by showing them what websites like Payscale list as the average salary for the job they’re trying to fill. Get them to focus not on the job title, but rather on the required skills and responsibilities of the role. For example, each company describes entry-level roles differently; your client might be looking for more skills and experience for even the most junior positions. They’ll need to adjust their salaries accordingly.

It’s also helpful to share information about how increased compensation allowed you to find candidates for other clients. Of course, you should protect the other company’s confidentiality, but real-life examples will show your client why salary is a reason they’re losing out on talent.

Your firm should also collect feedback from candidates about why they turned down an opportunity. If compensation was a big issue, use this data to open your client’s eyes to about current salary expectations.

Give them concrete examples of what they’ve lost

There’s nothing worse than finding a rockstar candidate and then having them say no because of the salary range. However, because staffing professionals act as a filter, clients aren’t always aware of how many people reject an opportunity from the beginning because of the pay listed in the job description.

If you consistently reach out to potential candidates and they won’t proceed with the staffing process because of the salary range, keep track of their skills and experience. Once you have a list of several candidates, show your clients who they missed out on.

Present the candidates like you would if they’d said yes. List all their past roles and explain why you think they would’ve been a great fit. Then tell your client why these individuals aren’t an option.

Find additional sources of value

Sometimes your clients can’t offer candidates any more money. They aren’t unrealistic or stingy; they simply don’t have the hiring budget. This shouldn’t keep them from tapping into qualified talent pools. And it’s your job to make it all work.

Luckily, money isn’t always what matters most to candidates. In a 2019 survey from CareerBuilder, when respondents were asked which considerations were more important than salary, they said:

  • Location (56 percent)
  • Affordable benefits plans (55 percent)
  • Job stability (55 percent)
  • A good boss (48 percent)
  • A great company culture (44 percent)

Determine which of these factors apply to your client and why what they offer is better than other employers. Then highlight these perks in your initial communication with potential candidates.

For example, say you find a qualified candidate who lives over an hour away from their current job. If your client’s company location is closer, list all the advantages for the candidate. In your email include information about the anticipated amount of money they could save each month on gas and car maintenance. Seeing how much they’d save will help convince them to consider a position with a lower salary.

Salary expectations are on the rise. It’s your job to ensure clients are aware of these changes. To find them the talent they need, you have to step up and start a conversation about the compensation they offer. This will help you get them the employees they want and need.

How to Prove You're the Best Staffing Firm

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.