Enterprise Software

CEO exercises controversial recruitment strategy: Low advertised pay

Ben Huh is a CEO who believes you can find the most qualified and passionate personnel if you offer a low salary.

I was reading a blog by Ben Huh, CEO of icanhascheezburger.com, in which he spoke of his belief that you get the best employees for a job by advertising that job with low pay. (For example, his company posted two jobs recently: One for an office Admin, and one for a Jr. Designer, with the hourly rate for each listed as $8.55 to $10 per hour.) His rationale:

We advertise lower wages for entry-level positions because the worst candidates focus on money the most. Believe it or not, advertising lower-than-market wages actually helped us yield better candidates. Higher advertised wages resulted in much higher level of noise from candidates who really didn't care about the job. (FYI: Advertised pay and actual pay are two different things.)

That reads as though he increases the salary once the employee signs on, but I'm not sure.

I can understand wanting to weed out the people who are looking for career satisfaction in terms of how many numbers come after the dollar sign. It has been my experience that the people who concentrate on salary, particularly in the first interview, are not primarily interested in what they'll be doing, only what they'll get paid for doing it. And it has also been my experience that a job candidate's talent is not always directly proportionate to his or her confidence or ability to ask for a commensurate salary.

However, there are some other issues to consider. Job candidates who have a long and/or successful job history can better quantify their value. And if that value is more than what is offered, why would they settle for that pittance? It may be wrong to judge your own value by the salary you command, but it can't be denied that others may be judging you on that basis.

And let's not forget that there will be companies out there throwing out low salaries not to attract the passionate but maybe just to exploit someone who may be down on his luck. Mr. Huh may have good intentions to attract the passionate, but the intentions of other CEOs may be just to spend less.

Huh also stated:

Every manager and CEO has a story about the lazy-***, unqualified person who demanded a top salary and a raise every three months. But those same managers and CEOs will also tell you about the butt-busting, entry-level employee who never complained and eventually rose to become the team lead or an executive. Guess which of the two they recruited away to their next company?

I'm not denying that this has happened, but aren't these people using criteria beyond salary demands to judge the viability of a candidate? There are lots of ways to weed out the lazy and the unqualified other than with a simple low-salary mind game.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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