I read this post about “Competitive Salaries” for OB-GYNs.

2. “Competitive salary” is an evasive phrase used by employers that have not yet decided what they want to pay. They prefer to see what the candidates expect and then negotiate down from there.

3. “Competitive salary” is used by employers who want to take advantage of you. They are hiding the fact that their salary is below average. Sure it competes, but on the loosing end. They will only tell you after long talks, and after they feel that they have you on the hook, how little they really want to pay.

I have to say I agree–and not just for physicians. Okay, it’s a bit on the cynical side, but that suits me.

I know, I know, he who talks pay first loses, and companies don’t want to talk pay in their ads because then they lose. Except that I will only apply for jobs in a certain salary range, so you are saving time and money in being honest up front. Seriously. You are.

Usually when “competitive salary” is listed in the job description, the description also asks for you to submit your salary requirements. Bah! You show me yours and I’ll show you mine.

Just a little Monday morning recruiting pet peeve.

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9 thoughts on “Competitive Salaries

  1. I agree with you. Companies feel that they loose by advertising their pay, ut in reality it puts me off not to see what they are paying. In an ad I want to see two things:
    1. Where is it?
    2. What do they pay?
    Otherwise, excetly as the Evil HR Lady says, I skip the ad. Sorry, employers – you want my attention? Then post serious info!

  2. Amen! I wasted my time and the company’s time with a long phone interview, at the end of which the manager told me the job paid $X, which was 25% less than I’d made at my old job. I never would have bothered to complete their long online application or prepare and take the interview had I known the salary.

  3. class factotum–exactly. It’s not like you’ll say, “well, that was such a fabulous interview, I’ll take a 25% pay cut!”

    Waste of everyone’s time.

  4. A lot of companies are weird about posting compensation details because they are in serious competition with others. They also sometimes cannot afford their current employees to see it as employees invariably don’t “get it” even when the difference from there’s is totally justified. Salary surveys costs a lot of money. Sometimes you have a new-to-this-company position and no one has any idea what to pay for it.

    This is why I don’t think “competitive salary” necessarily means low or undecided.

    That being said, salary is one of the first things I talk about in my phone screens. I have no desire to waste people’s time. If you are interested submit your resume. I can tell from your qualifications about how much you are used to making (usually). If I am not sure and I like your resume I will still call you. I say hi I’m HR Wench and here is what we have available (2-3 minutes MAX) and this is what we have budgeted ($salary) and we are/are not able to negotiate.

    This doesn’t work at every company but for my small co. it works. 🙂

  5. I agree in theory, but in practice it doesn’t always work out that way. There are lots of reasons a company may not want to broadcast its salary scale. If I am an OBGYN Doc and I am applying for a job and I see “competitive salary” I am going to assume if the company is reasonably reputable they aren’t going to be offering family practice salary for a specialty doc position. Either way, before I start a long credentialing process, I am going to ask that question in the phone screen. The only time I will list a salary range is if I know the ad is going to elicit too many over/under qualified candidates. An HR specialist could be a Jr or Sr position. If salary isn’t listed in the ad, bring it up in the phone screen. If you application process is so long that people get annoyed to find out they wasted their time…you might want to look at you process since you are probably loosing out on a good number of candidates who won’t be bothered… I will admit that I wouldn’t submit a salary requirement/history unless they have given something first.

  6. Although they mention competitive salary, it will be wise to ask after they offer you the job or when being asked, how much they offer for the job. Instead of being the first to tell them how much you would like to be paid, to avoid falling in their net.

  7. Could not agree more. My interpretation is “We expect the applicants to actively compete for this role, and it will go to the lowest bidder.” I have experienced a few surprises – and idiotic discussions with recruiters defending their cheapskate clients – when applying for jobs mentioning this line. I now ignore those ads.

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