As a tech recruiter, seeing the latest developer salaries can be overwhelming, especially when you’re offering less. Knowing what developers expect to earn is empowering, but it also increases the pressure on your company to pay them fairly. After all, potential candidates and your current programmers can access the same salary data that you have.
The good news is that money isn’t the only thing that motivates developers. But there are also a few “creative” salary workarounds that could turn developers off. Here are a few developer compensation tactics that you should avoid.
Business Insider once wrote about a co-founder who promised employees salary increases when the company hit certain milestones like alpha testing and successful fundraising. On some level, this level of openness is commendable, especially considering this executive couldn’t afford to pay market value at the time.
But there’s one major problem with this approach: It’s impossible for a developer to predict when (or if) you’ll be able to make good on these promises. This sounds like a win-win, but it could create unnecessary tension if your company fails to hit those goals.
Unless your developer salaries are drastically below market value, you don’t need to make any guarantees about future earnings. Instead, commit to an open-door policy about compensation with your tech team and potential candidates. We’ve heard countless times that developers want employers to be transparent about salary, even when it’s slightly below their expectations.
If the total dollar amount of a job offer is high, is that enough to satisfy a developer? In most cases, yes. But not if it includes a small base salary that’s laden with bonuses. Cash rewards might seem like a great way to ensure that your developers write quality code. Plus, they’re not opposed to receiving them. But they also agree that it’s not the best way to incentivize them at work, either.
When you factor in how bonuses get taxed in the United States, it’s not difficult for any programmer to figure out how much they’ll take home on a yearly basis. If your budget allows for this “supplemental” compensation, sit down with your engineering managers to discuss your strategy. Making a larger percentage of your developer salaries guaranteed could help you attract and retain tech talent.
Imagine that you’re interviewing a candidate for a DevOps role. Their skills might be in high demand, but even an initial phone interview can make that person nervous. They’re looking to impress you, and the last thing they want to do is disqualify themselves by asking for too much money. So to “ensure” that they keep themselves in the running, they might give you a desired salary range that’s lower than you anticipated.
For you, this might seem like a win. But think twice before you accept that first answer. Sure, if you end up hiring this candidate, you’ll save your company a few dollars right now. But developers aren’t shy about sharing information with each other—and if this person finds out that they’re making drastically less than their colleagues, it will be incredibly difficult to keep them happy over the long-term.
So, avoid adjusting your salary range on the fly for a developer who says that they’ll work for less. Offer them what you’re able to pay anyway. Not only is this fair, but it shows the candidate that you truly value what they bring to the table.