Monumental Red Flag!

by | Jan 24, 2023

This red flag stopped me talking!

This is my 20th year in the recruitment/TA industry so to be left speechless by a dumb practice is now pretty rare but this one had me agape.

Like wide-mouthed, wide-eyed, stunned into silence, agape. 😮

Of course it didn’t last. 😆 You know me, I am Aussie first, Brit second. So what came next was a stream of disbelieving expletives because, seriously, WTAF!

It went like this. I am chatting to a Head of TA who answers into a Global Head of TA, and there are lots of cultural issues going on. Global Head is in Europe where the company is known; Head Of is outside of Europe where the company is unknown. The Global Head doesn’t get it. And we talk about all the ways that this (quite fabulous & you know I have high standards) Head Of is ruffling feathers as they improve things and all that has been achieved, especially in DEI, during 2022.

Then the Head Of says, ‘The Global Head won’t let us discuss salaries with the hiring managers’

Whaaaaaaat? 🚩

‘The recruiters are not allowed to discuss salaries with hiring managers.’ they repeated.

As red flag warnings go, this was a justifiable stream of expletives, right? 🤷‍♀️  


Red flag 🚩 Recruitment 101

Your job as a recruiter is to guide your manager – who is an expert in whatever they do and not hiring – to fewer delusions of grandeur. This absolutely includes any belief they may have, for example, that someone with 10 years of experience in a particular skill will work for the company for an entry level salary.

It is simply one of the most basic parts of the job. With your market knowledge, which you have gained from research and speaking to candidates, you are fully within your rights to share with the hiring manager what the salary should be or what they can expect to see for the salary they are offering.

If you are actively told you cannot have this conversation, run! 💨


Red flag 🚩 Time Wasting

Your time is valuable, and you are about to lose a bucket ton of it. But sadly, the manager doesn’t care about a recruiter’s irreplaceable time, they only care about their own time. So imagine how much time they are going to lose, while they remain under the delusion that the salary is in line with market expectations, and you are under a gag order.

Plus, continuing the aforementioned example, there is all the candidate’s time that will be wasted while you start talking about the role, tell them the salary and they say no. You may even be laughed at it if it’s too low. And certainly they’ll think little of the company, and people talk!

So again, if you are actively told you cannot have this conversation, run! 💨


Red flag 🚩 False Economy

Empty seats cost money! Though would you be even allowed to ask my intake power question (What’s the cost to the bottom line every day this role is open?) at this company? Eek. But if you can ask it and know the answer, it’s easy to calculate how salary-delusions can become super costly.

Project failures also cost money! If you can’t find the right person because you’re not allowed to adjust salary expectations, the project could fail and that will impact the bottom line. That could also personally impact the earnings of your hiring manager.

And again, if you are actively told you cannot have this conversation, run! 💨


Red flag 🚩 Wrong TA Lead

Yep, I said it. This company has the wrong person leading the TA function.

Talent acquisition is made up of the people who bring in the people, and people make the business fail or succeed. You cannot do your job with one arm tied behind your back. Actually, you probably could, but it doesn’t need to be so hard.

The best TA Leaders are not doormats. They are not managers managing things; they are leaders leading people. (Thank you Matt Ballantine for that gem!) They don’t let things get in the way of a superb talent acquisition process, because they see the bigger impact of allowing processes – whether human or technical – to be unduly, erm, stupid.

There is absolutely nothing to be gained by stopping recruiters from challenging managers about the salary they are offering. Nothing. Please don’t create such an environment for your recruiters, it is unnecessary, wasteful, and costly.

Empower your team.

But if you are too scared to, maybe it is you who should run, because ultimately you are doing your company a disservice! 💨


If this got you thinking, imagine what we could achieve together! Let’s chat 🤩


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