Does your company’s application have a place for the candidate to write in his or her “desired salary”?
It’s common practice, but as innocent as it seems, it can cause problems. It’s asking candidates what they want, wish and crave for, before they know much about the job.
When candidates are required to enter a number for a desired salary, it can force them into playing subtle mind games. They may try to figure out how high they can push it without shoving themselves out of consideration for the position. Or, some might even lowball it a bit, thinking it makes them more attractive.
When the number comes in above where you might expect it, remember that the person might just have high hopes. As you progress in the process, you’ll have the opportunity for further discussion, and you’ll probably find that they’re willing to be flexible, especially after they learn more about the opportunity.
Then, the appropriate question will be, “What level of compensation will you accept?”
Most of the time, you’ll be able to agree on a compensation package that meets their desires as well as those of your company!