As an HR leader, I know all of us are struggling with recruiting talent right now. It isn’t just about the art of marketing your positions and selling the benefits of working for your organization anymore that will get you from candidate to offer extended. We have a recruiting and retention problem that all stems from the foundation of our compensation practices. To share or not to share (your compensation ranges) with candidates is a highly debatable topic. Outside of the fact some states require it, let’s reflect on each sides position as to why organizations may choose or not choose to share this really important factor in a candidate’s decision to select your offer upfront.


Transparency helps enhance the candidate experience by building credibility and respecting the time of both recruiter and candidate. If your pay practices are fair and equitable (both internal and externally) it is a factor that will increase applicants and candidate engagement. In the event your compensation is low (or you have a bad reputation for high turnover or a less than stellar work environment) – candidates will scroll right past your posting.

Negotiation Power

We will often ask candidates during a phone screen or interview what they are seeking in regard to salary and fail to reciprocate what our range or budget is for the role. Remember, salary ranges are a budget control mechanism in many organizations. This practice should be taken into context from two perspectives, advocating for the candidate and paying them fairly or the employer using the information to negotiate a lower salary than what the candidate is asking for.

The first scenario, a good recruiter or HR professional uses the information to establish if the candidates needs match what we can offer, and ensure that our offer is fair and equitable in comparison to others in the organization and the value of the job internally.

The second scenario unfortunately is more common and we leverage the information acquired to benefit the employer. The employer knows early in the stages of the interview process that the candidate wants more money than we are willing to pay yet continues until the candidate is emotionally invested in the opportunity and negotiates a salary lower than the candidate is seeking.

To Share or Not to Share

For some organizations, the decision to share (or not) is based on past practice, concerns about how that information once public will be used or a belief that candidates want or will choose to work for them for reasons other than pay. For those that choose to share, it is that willingness to be transparent and build credibility with candidates from initial engagement, promote equity and remain compliant with statutes that require it.

In some cases, the decision to not share is driven by something that the employer can’t offer (such as a competitive salary at the level that candidate is seeking). By waiting until the candidate is emotionally invested in the process, the employer perceives they have more leverage to negotiate with the candidate. If they been transparent in the beginning, the candidate may not have even engaged in the interview process.

If we are doing right by the organizations we serve and building the right foundation for pay strategies and total rewards; sharing should be a standard practice. I equate this to buying a new vehicle from a car dealer. If you walk onto the lot, new vehicles will have a sticker in the window highlighting the costs of the vehicle and necessary information for you, the buyer to decide if that vehicle is right for you. To enhance our candidate experience, we should be providing those considering joining our teams with the necessary information needed to make a decision. Basic information such as your salary range (or budget) for the position should be shared up front with candidates. If a candidate still engages us in the process, they saw something else in the position (experience), the organization, the employee value proposition that has value to them. Those are the highlights I share when extending offers to candidates. It they feel like you short sold them (or they did to themselves) they may not stay long term and this cycle continues again until you fix the cracks in your process or pay foundation that created it.