With greater salary, comes great responsibility. Prepare accordingly.

It’s a candidate’s world and we’re just living in it – or so they may think! Just because candidates have the power right now, doesn’t mean you can simply swan in and get your dream job. Be prepared to work hard, show up, and sell your skillset if you want to be rewarded with a big bump in salary.

Peoplebank Technology Manager, Paul O’Donovan, explains.

Candidates have the power, but do they know what to do with it?

Salary is a big driver in the IT market. Especially now. Many candidates in the IT sector are looking for $20k+ increases to shift roles, and with a standard Business Analyst salary around $100k, this means BA candidates are now asking for an offer of $120k+ to make the move. I have recently talked to a candidate placed in a BA role in Christchurch for $90k three years ago, with a $10k pay increase within those 3 years, who will not consider anything below $120k to look at moving on from her current role.

Fair enough! Candidates know they are in charge in the current market. They know they have negotiating power. The catch here, is that with greater salary, comes greater responsibility, and I am not seeing candidates considering this when they are asking for that bigger paycheck.

When asking for a high level salary, be prepared to prove you have the skills and experience to match that salary. You will need to show hiring managers that you have what it takes to be worth the salary you are asking for. Consider this when going for any interview. Just because it’s a candidate-short market, doesn’t mean that you can turn up to an interview and get hired at the drop of a hat.

So, I shouldn’t go for a salary increase?

Of course you can. And you should. You just still need to bring your A game when going for an interview. This hasn’t changed. Take these tips on board to help you out:

  • Knowledge is power. Prepare well – do your research on the company. How fast are they growing, what’s their business history, how do they communicate with each other? Check out their website and stalk their social media channels.

  • Know your worth. What value can YOU bring to the role, and to the business? Do you have a specific set of skills, or combination of background that you believe is an asset to the business?

  • Promote yourself. Yes, it’s about what is in it for you, but it’s also about what’s in it for them!

  • Anticipate the competition. There will always be competition for top jobs with top companies. Make sure you present yourself well, turn up on time, and come prepared.

What does this mean for hiring managers?

On the other side of the coin, businesses and hiring managers understand the market is tough. They know they need to offer top dollar to candidates to expect them to move from their current roles.

With mainly two types of businesses in the market, private and public sector, public sector organisations are typically finding it harder to compete for top candidates, as they are more restrained with their salary offerings.

The key for all businesses is to make sure that you know what the candidate wants. Not every candidate is after a big salary bump, and my biggest tip here is knowing candidates’ main drivers. If you have an exciting project they can be part of or real opportunity for them to grow their skillset, for some candidates this is more important. The trick is being able to know what your candidates want, and that’s where recruiters come in, as we know what our candidates want and can communicate that with you!

We’re still finding candidates for jobs. Yes, even in a candidate-short market.

There will always be candidates looking to step up, learn more, be involved in bigger projects, be part of bigger (or smaller) teams. For both businesses and candidates, this means something. For candidates, it means don’t relax thinking you have all the power in a ‘candidate-short market’. Still bring your A game to an interview, and make sure you are prepared for the increased responsibility that a higher salary brings.

For businesses and hiring managers this means that it is possible to find a candidate for your role in this challenging market. Remember to sell the benefits of the role to candidates, know their main drivers, and work with recruiters who can make your life easier.