Job searching is like matchmaking? e-HR-mony?

I’ve been a member of the New Jersey Young Professionals (NJYP) Yahoo! Group for a while, and now and then some interesting conversations get started. However, the mailing list is heavily moderated and sometimes my posts get rejected or overlooked by the moderators, I assume, since when they’re rejected I usually get a courtesy email telling me so. I’m not a huge fan of moderated discussion lists, but it’s not my group and I don’t set its policies. But, that’s not the point … this is the point:

There was a post recently by Vee suggesting that since employers request salary requirements or salary histories as part of the candidate selection process, that companies should tell candidates what salary they are offering for the position. I wrote this as my response, which as far as I can tell, never made it out to the NJYP list:

I don’t think it’s necessary for employers to disclose a salary figure when
posting a position. What good would that do?

In my experience, I’ve always worried about negotiating salary last, regardless of what the posted salary for a position is, if it is at all. Business is all about negotiation, and if you’re not prepared to negotiate for your salary, then you probably don’t deserve it anyway.

If I do well in the interview, I feel totally comfortable “naming my price” for what I’d like to get paid to work there. If it’s outside the range for the position I was originally interviewing for, if they really like me as a candidate, I know they’ll work it out with HR to open a new position with the appropriate job title and grade level to pay me the salary I’m asking for, if I’ve made the necessary impression on them that makes them want to hire me. If the employer isn’t impressed with me, then it’s a bad fit and I shouldn’t work there regardless of how much or little salary I’m willing to accept.

I also realized: what’s stopping a candidate from asking the employer what salary range the position offers? At worst, they’ll refuse to tell you which is no different than when you started. At best, they’ll share the information with you and you can decide whether you want to continue pursuing the opportunity or not. I’d be afraid of hiring someone who doesn’t have the necessary spine to ask a simple question like, “So, what’s the salary range for this position?” It’s not like asking for someone’s hand in marriage, you know.

Employment is a lot like matchmaking. Exchanging salary requirements and ranges up front might serve to optimize the search a bit, but it’s how companies miss out on some good talent and also some good talent missing out on some opportunities. But, with so many companies to choose from and so many candidates to choose from, perhaps it’s not statistically significant. Maybe someone needs to launch an eHarmony-like matchmaking site for job seekers and employers. Someone want to form a start-up with me? :-)


  1. Isn’t that what Dice and Monster are all about? Or were you thinking of something more than that?

  2. Yes, I was thinking more. eHarmony’s pitch is that they have a comprehensive survey which allows them to match people together. Traditional job sites let candidates post resumes and employers post jobs, but the level of detail provided varies wildly and the ability to use that data to match candidates to jobs is weak.

    I’m asking: what if we take the next step, and implement a job site that employs a similar standard data collection process to collect enough information about candidates and positions to match them more accurately. Is there an opportunity for such a service?

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