How to estimate the “value” of an applicant if the salary is not specified in the vacancies – a case from HR-PRACTICE

Briefly about the case

How to determine how much an applicant should assess his experience, knowledge, and skills if none of the vacancies for which the applicant could apply is the amount of the proposed salary. I will tell you about my experience in solving such a problem in this article.

How the “value” of an applicant is usually assessed

As a rule, the assessment of the “value” of the applicant is based on the study of the array of vacancies for which he, with his experience, skills, and knowledge, can apply. The array is formed from vacancies that indicate the size of the proposed salary.

The array calculates the average value of salary offers – the median, which will be the starting point of the applicant’s “salary expectations”. Perhaps there will be several such arrays, perhaps the experience, knowledge, and skills of the applicant will allow him to claim wages significantly above the median.

It is possible to accurately calculate what reasonable price an applicant can set for his qualifications while counting on effective demand, the presence of which is confirmed by a sample of offers from employers.

I have already written in more detail about the calculator used for calculations and the logic of interpreting the data obtained with its help to assess the cost of an applicant. In most cases, this method works.

But in the case that will be discussed, it was inapplicable due to the absence of the proposed salary in the descriptions of suitable vacancies. To solve the problem of estimating the cost of an applicant, I had to use a different logic.

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The logic of solving the problem of assessing the “cost” of the applicant, if the amount of salary is not specified in the vacancies

If employers do not indicate the salary in vacancies for highly qualified specialists, this means that they are ready to consider the expectations of applicants.

This is the case when the “value” of an applicant can be calculated not by the salary offered by employers to potential employees, but by the amount at which applicants estimate their qualifications for the qualifications demanded by employers.

In this case, the task of assessing the “value” of an applicant is reduced to determining his “price category” among applicants with comparable experience, knowledge, and skills.

To do this, you need to highlight the performance characteristics of the applicant, which are of the greatest value for the employer, and find out “how much” they are offered to the employer by the competitors of “our” applicant in the labor market.

Description of the case solution

Following the logic described above, the solution included the following three stages:

Determine the characteristics of the applicant’s experience, knowledge, and skills that will be of the greatest value to a potential employer

“Our” applicant had them:

  • experience in implementing quality management projects for IT services;
  • ITIL certifications;
  • Cobit certificate present.

Help for those who are not strong in IT terminology: ITIL is a library of practical ways of organizing the work of departments or companies that provide information technology services, Cobit is an information technology management methodology.

Search for vacancies in which the above knowledge, skills, and experience are in demand

In the descriptions of all vacancies, there was no indication of the size of the salary, but it did not matter – it was important to make sure there was a demand for applicants with such performance characteristics in the labor market.

Calculation of the “cost” of the applicant, based on the ratio of “price and quality” of his competitors in the labor market

To estimate the “value” of the applicant using the Salary Calculator, 4 samples of applicants’ resumes with comparable performance characteristics were analyzed.

Two samples of applicants with different backgrounds, but related to the implementation of IT service quality management projects, and two samples of CVs of applicants with ITIL and Cobit certificates. For all four samples of specialists, the average level of salary expectations was calculated.

Our applicant, based on a comparison of his performance characteristics with applicants in each sample, was “positioned” relative to the average level of expectations of his competitors in the labor market.

Based on the figures obtained from the analyzed 4 samples, the final range of “salary expectations”, in other words, the “cost” of the applicant, was determined. Unfortunately, I cannot share the details of the case, since “our” applicant has not yet decided on the choice of the future employer.

HR manager meeting job applicant in director office. by Ico on Dribbble

Why the method from this case is inapplicable in most cases

It only works when it comes to relatively rare, highly qualified, and scarce specialists. In particular, the maximum sample size of applicants with the required performance characteristics in our case did not exceed 90 people.

If qualified professionals participate in the competition for jobs, and the supply market shapes their requests, everyone has to critically compare their price/quality performance ratio with those of competitors.

If we are dealing with “mass” specialties and vacant positions, who want to take which can be counted more than one hundred, while the applicants do not need rare experience or exclusive skills, then the evaluation of the “value” of the applicant according to the statistics of salary expectations of his competitors the labor market will be deliberately incorrect.

This is because in the “mass” labor market, not all applicants, when determining their “salary expectations”, pay attention to the realities of the labor market and the difference in the level of qualifications with colleagues.

Someone calculates the desired amount, as + 20-30-40% of the income already available, regardless of experience and qualifications, someone is interested in the amount necessary for a “comfortable life”, someone overestimates their experience, knowledge, and skills, so the level of claims of approximately equal in qualifications of applicants may differ significantly.

In such a sample, it is almost impossible to establish a logical connection between experience, knowledge and skills and the desired salary, which I already wrote about in the article about 10 ways to decide how much to pay an employee

This explains the fact that employers themselves regulate the supply market, indicating the size of wages in job descriptions and changing it depending on the ratio of demand and supply of competitors.

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