Four Tips for Managing Expectations During a Tight Job Market

Four Tips for Managing Expectations During a Tight Job Market

Article By: Jeremy Henkels, managing director of the Dairy Business Association

During a time when talent is hard to come by to fill any type of open position, many of you may find salary and benefits expectations have been greatly inflated by candidates. With the nervousness around changing companies and jobs at this time, employers are in a position today to sell opportunities to the candidate more than ever before, including salary requirements. As employers, what strategies can you deploy to help manage these expectations? Below are a couple of strategies that I found useful recently interviewing and selecting for various positions.

  • Find common ground on a base salary that works for you and is also competitive with the job market. Then add to the job offer a six-month performance imperative plan, allowing for an increase in base salary contingent upon meeting agreed-upon goals.

  • Utilize the resources you have available to pull local and regional market data for the position you're recruiting. I've found it useful to gather information from various sources and compile it together into one salary range. This is information you can share with the top candidate during the offer process for full transparency.

  • Put together a total compensation statement to go along with the official job offer, highlighting the benefits that come with the job in addition to the base salary. Some examples that are important to detail are bonus or commission plans, 401(k) company contributions, employer contributions to medical insurance, and any other benefits that may not be highlighted enough. Examples may include clothing allowance, holiday bonus, or company-provided life insurance.  This practice can prove very valuable in the offer process to provide detailed information along with the base salary to show everything that's included in employment with your organization.

  • Ask about salary expectations earlier in the process and if you were able, share the salary range. More often than not recently, the candidates are actually more proactive and seek all this information early on in the employer. Be prepared.

At the end of the day, sometimes it may just not work out between an employer and a top candidate. Some key factors that must be considered are the salaries of those currently in the role and your budget. If you create and maintain a culture that rewards performance and achievements, you'll be able to retain and attract talent.  

Jeremy Henkels serves as managing director of the Dairy Business Association and Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, sister organizations focused on sensible dairy policy in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. In addition to their policy work, the organizations provide services to their members, including crisis support and media relations. If you are interested in learning more, visit