Including salary expectations in things like cover letters or curriculum vitae (CV) might seem like a really dumb thing to do, but in the last round of hiring that my manager and I completed we found that about 50% of the cover letters contained salary requirements or salary expectations. Seeing this was a bit new for me, and at first I thought it was a fairly arrogant thing for these applicants to be doing. However, we soon found out that it greatly helped us in selecting candidates that would be best suited to work with us in our environment.
Let me explain – You see, there was a wide variety of different salary expectations that applicants had for the same role. My boss and I knew exactly how much we had in terms of an upper and lower limit when it came to wages, so immediately we were able to discount the applicants that had salary expectations much higher than we could pay, and to also get a good idea of what the general market was expecting for this type of role.
Quite often we found that the people with the highest salary requirements also had the most experience and looked the best on paper. This wasn’t always the case though, and in the end having all this information allowed for simpler interviews with the candidates as everyone was on the same page when it came to money, which let’s face it – can be a touchy topic. Another interesting thing that I noted was the the bulk of applicants that specified income requirements were also currently employed, so I can only assume they had nothing to lose by doing this.
My own Salary Expectations
Recently I have been surveying the job market in and around the area in which I live. The reason for this is that I have not really been enjoying my work lately, and the company that I work for has lost much of its character and charm under the new management regime. Staff morale in almost all sections is at some of the lowest I have ever seen, and I personally do not like the direction in which the company is heading. The place has become very cloak and dagger/rumour mill and there are plenty of quality people being let go just to fit some arbitrary structure requirements (not that my job is in danger of being taken away).
Anyway, I have noticed that almost all the job adverts I have been looking at have no stated salary. This leads me to think that there must be lots of applicants looking for work and that employers are playing their cards close to their chests in the hope of picking up someone cheaply. This of course makes it very difficult for me to know which jobs to apply for, as I have some very clear minimum salary requirements which would need to be met should I choose to leave my current employer.
So this leaves me wondering if I should include my salary requirements in my own cover letter when applying for new jobs. At the moment I am thinking that it might be a good idea, simply because many of the jobs I am looking at are not in the metro area, and I get the feeling that they might be wanting to pay a lower amount for the same skill set that can be achieved in the city. Plus, I don’t need to leave my current employer, so I have nothing to lose in adding the salary expectations to my cover letter. If they see my CV and think I would be a good fit, then they will need to pay me what I expect to be paid, if not, then we can go our separate ways.
What are your thoughts on pay negotiation and putting salary expectations into your job application?