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How Unrealistic Salary Expectations Can Cripple Your Hiring Efforts

In today's competitive talent market, attracting and retaining qualified candidates is a top priority for businesses of all sizes. However, many companies shoot themselves in the foot by offering salaries below market rates, leading to a frustrating problem: unrealistic salary expectations from candidates. But what are the real costs of this penny-pinching approach?

The Downsides of Underpaying:

  • Limited Talent Pool: When you set salaries below the market average, you effectively exclude a significant portion of qualified candidates from even considering your opportunities. This leaves you with a smaller pool of applicants, increasing the likelihood of settling for subpar talent or facing extended vacancies.

  • Wasted Time & Resources: Lowball offers often lead to drawn-out negotiations, wasted interview time, and ultimately, candidates declining even after accepting an offer, leaving you back at square one.

  • Damaged Employer Brand: Word travels fast in the job market. When candidates encounter unreasonable salary offers, they're likely to share their negative experience with others, impacting your employer brand and making future recruitment efforts more challenging.

  • Reduced Employee Morale & Productivity: Employees who feel underpaid are less likely to be engaged, motivated, or loyal. This can result in decreased productivity, higher turnover rates, and a negative company culture.

The Solution: Align with the Market & Your Employer Branding:

  • Competitive Compensation: Conduct thorough market research to understand the going rate for the positions you need to fill. Offer salaries that are fair, competitive, and within the acceptable range for similar roles and experience levels.

  • Transparent Communication: Be upfront about salary expectations during the initial interview stages. This saves everyone's time and avoids disappointment later.

  • Total Rewards Package: Consider offering additional benefits and perks like flexible work arrangements, generous PTO, professional development opportunities, and a strong company culture to sweeten the deal.

  • Invest in Employer Branding: Build a positive reputation as an employer who values its employees and offers competitive compensation and benefits. This attracts top talent and makes your company stand out in the crowd.

  • Market Experts: Our team of RPO specialists stays up-to-date on market trends and salary benchmarks, ensuring your offers are competitive and attract the right talent.

  • Data-Driven Decisions: We leverage data and analytics to analyze your specific industry, location, and talent pool, informing targeted compensation strategies.

  • Employer Branding Support: We help you craft a compelling employer brand that showcases your company's unique value proposition and attracts top talent seeking fair compensation and a rewarding career.

  • Success Stories: We have a proven track record of helping companies overcome unrealistic salary expectations and attract high-quality candidates. Read about how we helped our client attract top talent by aligning their compensation strategy with the market and strengthening their employer brand.


Challenge: Nibuonco Financial was struggling to attract qualified engineers due to offering salaries below market value. This resulted in a limited talent pool, extended vacancies, and high turnover.

Solution: Exlcareer conducted a comprehensive market analysis and recommended adjusting their compensation package to be more competitive. We also helped them refine their employer branding messages to emphasize their commitment to employee development and a positive work environment.

Result: By implementing Exlcareer's recommendations, XYZ saw a 20% increase in qualified applicants, reduced time-to-hire by 30%, and significantly improved employee retention.

Unrealistic salary expectations are a major obstacle to successful hiring. But by investing in competitive compensation, building a strong employer brand, and partnering with an experienced RPO like Exlcareer, you can overcome this challenge and attract the top talent your business needs to thrive.

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