by Dwayne Phillips
Hiring managers and job applicants are often poor with words. We all seem to be pretty good with numbers — especially the numbers that have a dollar sign in front of them.
The week I wrote this post I applied for a bunch of jobs and talked to an equal number of hiring managers. I am probably the world’s worst job-description reader. Am I a junior, mid, or expert butcher, baker, or candlestick maker? I just can’t tell by reading the description.
I can’t tell the difference between “intuitive” and “highly intuitive.” I guess I am just plain dense.
There is, however, one thing I can understand: salary. The salary for this job is $small number, $medium number, $big number. Aha! Now we are talking!
The problem is, no one wants to talk about numbers with dollar signs. There is something taboo about that. It is especially inappropriate for the job applicant to ask about salary. It implies that money is dirty and not the reason to work for an employer. I am tempted to say, “This is my monthly mortgage note. Will the take home pay for this job be less than, equal to, or greater than four times my note?”
At some point in the conversation — perhaps at the end of the third or fourth conversation — the hiring group will reveal the salary for the position. Yikes! That low? We could have saved a lot of time if you had said that last week before all this talking. Yikes! That high? I would have signed on the dotted line last week had you said that.
Funny thing about numbers with dollar signs. We all seem to understand those better than all the adjectives that are in (and many should not be in) the dictionary — and the job description.