Salary Range Pluses

If you’re an employer or a recruiter, and you find yourself writing about the compensation of a potential position, there are a few things that I can suggest with respect to talking about salary:

  • It’s ok to indicate that you intend to vary salary range somewhat depending on the experience and fit of the potential candidate.
  • You don’t have to mention salary, but if you don’t, then you should probably expect to lose some percentage of the candidates right up front, and to have some of the remaining candidates ask you pretty directly about your salary expectations.
  • Lower-bound salary postings and salary-range postings are acceptable, although to be honest, it’s assumed that most salary references are at least somewhat flexible.

There’s a few caveats to these rules:

  • The simplest way to read lower-bound salaries (like 80k+) is to simply drop the plus sign, and assume the job pays approximately the base salary (~80k).  If you truly expect that you might pay significantly more than that, you should probably be pretty clear about that.
  • The way a candidate reads salary ranges may vary by candidate.  Some candidates are going to assume they’re worth the higher end of that salary range, and may drop out if your offer doesn’t meet their expectations.

Finally, there are a few things that I can suggest you try and avoid:

  • Using more than one plus after a salary’s lower bound.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but when I see a position at 95k+, and another at 95k+++, my first reaction is likely to be minor irritation at the meaningless extra plusses, and my second reaction is likely to truncate all pluses from both figures.
  • Exceptionally wide salary ranges.  If you’re really looking for someone who fits one of several profiles, you might be better off posting several opportunities, even if you only plan to hire one of them, depending on the candidates who respond.

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