One thing that gets increasingly more difficult for me is the fact that in my line of work almost everyone is a hyper-leftist/progressivist/super-liberal of some sort. That means that we have diametrically opposed worldviews, even on the smallest things in life. And yet their worldviews are now shaping entire businesses policies, mottos, and ways of working.
What follows is a testimony from an interview.
The candidate had been asked salary expectations, which they provided. They then received an offer, which was not quite close enough to their expectations. So they tried to negotiate their way up.
This is what HR said to the candidate in the first instance.
I really appreciate you making a detailed case for increasing the salary offer, we do appreciate the wealth of experience that you have and this is something that was taken into consideration. We like to ask candidate compensation expectations as a check and balance to see if our ranges are in line with candidate’s expectations. We’ve found in the majority of cases they are. We believe strongly in internal equity and don’t offer salaries solely based on candidate’s expectations. We’ve found that could lead to a significant gender gap in wages, as male candidates have a tendency to negotiate much more aggressively, so I’m going to have to decline to negotiate. Please let me know if I can answer any other questions about working here
The emphasis is mine.
What’s really sad is that they think they really are smart and clever with these policies, and they have no idea whatsoever of how absurd their policies are. And when I say absurd, I literally mean that their view reduces to logical absurdity. Let’s see why.
The dirty trick about negotiation
The way they declined negotiation is unfair, because they started the negotiation the moment they asked for salary expectations. Regardless of the reasons for which they do it, asking the candidate for their salary expectations sets HR up as the first negotiator, giving them an advantage. It is reasonable to assume they wouldn’t offer the upper bound salary to someone whose expectations did not exceed such an upper bound. In other words, if a candidate does not understand their own worth and asks for a low salary, they will get what they asked for: a low salary. However, the one that asks for a high salary, they very likely won’t get what they asked for. Dirty trick.
The self-refuting logic
They believe in equity and don’t offer salary just based solely on candidate’s expectations. Well, that’s a silly thing to say to start with: no one offers salary based solely on one’s expectations, because otherwise everyone would be asking for astronomical salaries and they’ll get it.
The fact of the matter is that a candidate’s expectations are based around their perceived merit, which is corroborated by factual information about their experience and past career, and the output of the hiring process. Thus, unintentional as it may be, they seem to be adopting a double standard for how they set the first salary, and how they decide future salary increases (they said elsewhere: “We offer merit increases every 12-18 months”). The latter are based on merit, the former are not, or at least, not entirely, as they are constrained by other, contrary, factors.
Also, equity has got nothing to do with this. In fact, a principle of equity works directly against recognising one’s worth. You either pay someone for what they are worth, or you put everyone on the same salary because of equity. You can’t have it both ways. And this applies also if you just mean “equity per role”, because people that perform the same role, are likely to perform it at different levels of effectiveness and driven by different experience. And to be quite blunt, some people are just cleverer than others.
We’ve found that could lead to a significant gender gap in wages, as male candidates have a tendency to negotiate much more aggressively, so I’m going to have to decline to negotiate.
In the attempt to try and avoid discrimination, their policy has indadvertedly led to discrimination nonetheless. I’d like to share that with you:
- Females are labelled as less able to negotiate
- Males are labelled as getting what they want by being aggressive negotiators
- Males are deprived of alleged gender-specific skills and the ability to put them to full use; negotiation, and ability to defend one’s worth in general, should be valued as a skill, not dismissed as a menace;
- All people, irrespective of gender, that are good negotiators are deprived of their skills; they are constrained to be a lesser version of themselves.
- Cases built on facts are dismissed for the fear of them being uniquely driven by built-in rhetorical aggressiveness, thus effectively discriminating towards those that merit higher compensation, but will have to oblige and be valued less, merely because they are, well, potentially aggressive negotiators.
I mean, that’s just a sick thing to say during an interview process.
The direct result of applying such self-refuting worldviews to the workplace is not recognising and rewarding worth fairly and justly. And it will only get worse, especially in the IT sector, where they seem to be way ahead of the curve in adopting such mentality.