TAP In with Tristan : Decoding “Pay Is Competitive”

Tristan talks about a phrase we see in job descriptions, “pay is competitive.” Since the phrase is so vague and subjective, it doesn’t hold companies accountable to committing to any particular salary level. So when companies use this phrase, it can be a red flag for how they view compensation and labor. Check out the full tip to find out how to deal with this situation!

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TRANSCRIPT

Tristan: What’s going on, Living Corporate? It’s Tristan, and I want to thank you for tapping back in with me as I provide some tips and advice for professionals. On this episode, I want to talk about a phrase we see in job descriptions, “pay is competitive.”

Have you ever been searching for a job, and as you’re reading through the job description, you see, “Pay is competitive” and thought to yourself, what does that mean? If so, the question is valid. The phrase itself doesn’t add much to the job description, and it doesn’t sound as enticing as companies believe it does. While the companies that use “pay is competitive” mean to signal that they have great salaries, it’s actually a warning sign. Is it competitive for the industry? Competitive for the region? No one really knows. Since the phrase is so vague and subjective, it doesn’t hold companies accountable to committing to any particular salary level. So when companies use this phrase, it can be a red flag for how they view compensation and labor.

There’s an old-school belief that companies shouldn’t share salary information in a job posting, typically because it limits their negotiating power in the compensation discussion. But at the end of the day, employers know what they can and are willing to pay for a role, so the only reason to not tell their candidates is if their goal is to pay people less than their worth.

So if you decide to apply to a job listing that has “pay is competitive,” I suggest you bring up salary at the end of your first interview with the actual hiring manager. This helps positions compensation as just one of the pieces of the information you two are sharing and doesn’t give off the impression that you’re just here for the pay. You can ask, “Would you be willing to share the budget for this role? I’d like to make sure we’re on the same page with compensation expectations.”

Remember, job postings and the entire hiring process are the first signs of how a company operates. Don’t ignore the signs, instead, make sure to address them.

This tip was inspired by an article on HuffPost titled, “What It Really Means When Companies Say ‘Pay Is Competitive’ In Job Listings” by Monica Torres and is brought to you by Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting. Check us out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @layfieldresume, or connect with me, Tristan Layfield, on LinkedIn.

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