CategoriesEmployees

What is the Salary?

Cocoguru has now grown to a 25 member organization, with immediate plans to increase the size to 35. When it started operations a year ago, it was about selecting whoever was willing to work with us, without regard to their skills and attitude. We were lucky to get a few good people, and few of them were groomed to be disciplined and develop a sense of ownership towards their roles. Now, with the base set, we will select more people selectively. In this post, I discuss about my experiences/frustrations with those selections and expectations from candidates. It is a mighty challenge to get good people to work for a startup especially in a rural area.

Preparation
In the job advertisements, we would mention the company name, address, working location, vacancy position, qualification, contact details, few times salary range also. Candidates will do well to observe the details carefully before applying. Rather what we see is that they apply blindly and then back out during later stages of selection process due to the very facts already disclosed to them. Good candidates visit the website, find out the company’s product offerings, perform background checks with references, sometimes with existing employees, visualise themselves working here for a long term.

The classic opening question
The job market has tilted so decisively towards sellers i.e. employees that they start calling the shots. This is how a conversation begins
Candidate – “Is this Cocoguru?” (Many times they don’t even bother to pronounce the name)
Me – “Yes, Sir”
Candidate – “You have advertised for a vacancy, right?”
Me – “Yeah, Right”
Candidate – In either a disinterested tone or rude tone, he then asks “What is the salary?”!!!
Me – Unhappy that the discussion is entirely off-direction, I ask “How much do you expect?”
There goes the conversion meaninglessly, each one trying to defend his ego and finally ending the conversation in a bitter manner. The classic opening question leads to an immediate conclusion.

In my theory, money is not everything as it is made out to be. It is merely a currency of “value”. Businesses should make good profits to reflect the value they create to its customers. Employees should take home good salaries for doing a valueable work for the company. Focus should be on creating value and money will follow.

In the above example we have seen how bad the conversation went. Instead it could be much more fruitful, if it went in the following lines
Candidate – “Hello, my name is Vaibhav, I saw your advertisement in today’s Suddi Bidugade, and I am interested in applying for the position of Sales Executive”.
Me – “Okay. Good. Tell us more about yourselves.”
Candidate – “I am from Sentyar, a B.Com graduate, having 6 years of experiece in Line Sales, last 4 years with Dash Marketing Agency selling ITC cigarretes in and around Puttur, Sullia and Subramanya.”
Me – “Why do you want to leave your present job, when it is so easy to sell cigarretes where demand is more than supply that too for a brand like ITC?”
Candidate – “I am liking my job as it is giving me opportunities to meet new people and I have developed good relations with a few retailers. I am only looking for better prospects.”
It would be blunder to say something like “Cigerrate is injurious to health, but Coconut Oil is good for health.” Because we know, you are looking to change for your own benefit and not for our benefit or that of people’s health at large. It will only prove that you are lier.
Me – “How do you plan to increase our sales?”
Candidate – “Sir, what is your present distribution setup? What places do you cover?”
Here, the candidate has not only given a overview of himself, but also has shown keen interest to know more about the company and the job he is going to do.

Brain Drain
Dakshina Kannada is a district that has so many bright talents and great educational institutions. So many top ranks in SSLC, PUC, CET etc go to them. Result percentage is also highest perennially in Dakshina Kannada. But they migrate to cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Gulf and America. For all the talent they have, they are happy to work for someone outside. They don’t take risk to build a dream company at home or work for someone who wants to build such a company here (read Cocoguru ☺). It is right if suitable opportunities are not available here, but to squander them when available is bad. Only salaries are compared between 2 opportunities in Bangalore and here. Luxury of being at home with family, lesser travel to work place, staying away from hustle bustle busy city life and much lower cost of living are not considered in the decision making equation.

Influence
Influence from a well known person may help get a job in government sector, where performance and results don’t matter. Some candidates who are otherwise not worthy of the job, try to have influence in their selection. Will that influential person be responsible for what the candidate delivers in the job? No, rather he threatens us with negative consequences when he is not selected.

Fixed Salary, Routine Job
Since we have only seen the candidate once and at most had an interview. It will be difficult to determine his worth for the company. So, we place him on probation for a lesser salary, with the intention of increasing it to generous levels once he proves him selves and is made permanent. Even once he is permanent, there will be periodic Appraisals to review his performance and salaries will be increased inline with his performance. Sadly, the candidates don’t think long term, they only compare the salary during probation and assume it to be his lifelong income. Similarly, he has fixed his skill set to what he has acquired till now, without any aim of acquiring new skills on the job. He comes to office with the intention of performing routine jobs where Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are defined. Anything beyond the routine takes him completely off-guard.

Office Work vs Field Work
The number of enquiries for office work like Accounting far exceeds that of field work like Sales. Logically, hard work gets paid lot more than easy work. A sales man when he exceeds his targets gets more money in the form of commission. An accountant can at best get his annual bonus on superior performance. When we opened our factory last year for operations, about 50 ladies from nearby areas walked in looking for easy packing kind of jobs under a factory roof. They were willing to work for as low as 80 Rupees per day. The same people are not willing to work in a nearby farm for 250 Rupees a day. Not only about the nature of work but it is also a question of their prestige. They perceive Factory job to be a lot more prestigious than agricultural or household work.

5 Comments

  1. Dear Keshava Bhatre

    I was going through your blog. I didn’t find anything wrong in anyone asking about the salary range you offer. There is nothing wrong in such thing for a defined reason that when he offers his time and service it is his right to know the kind of out come he gets out of it. I agree lot of people don’t think about long term but at the same time everybody wants to get rich including you and me. Its all about earning more. Who gives the best offer , everyone wants to work there. They don’t want to waste their valuable time in a place where someone offers pie nuts. Period. Its the question of time for someone.

    There was a boy I knew, started his own business at his young age soon after his college. He didn’t have any background support from his parents. With some of his college savings which his sister used to give as a pocket money for the six years and then asking from friends here and there he buys first medium truck. Runs himself even though he was Post Graduate and builds business. For his good service he started getting more and more business so he had to buy another truck so with the savings he had from 6 months of his earnings he bought the second truck and kept a driver. Even while hiring driver he had to mention him what would he offer without which they wouldn’t agree and finally he found one guy whom he could trust most. Over the time he made money, almost at the verge of paying off the loans someone in his family fell sick and he had to sell both of his truck and had to borrow money from others to save that person’s life.
    Now, he was jobless , upon that he had lot of loan to pay off. So he decided to look for job. The person who knew his caliber refers him for a job to take care of the factory somewhere outside the state. So after the interview process the boy was offered job without mentioning what the salary was. Since the referrer had spoken high about the person the boy thought he could give him decent salary. He flew to the place of work, started working there. He proved within a month he was best of all. The employee was so happy with him, he had decided to open new plant under the operation by this boy as he proved what he could do. While offering salary, he got almost 30% less than what others were getting by saying he didn’t have experience. Moreover the employer knew what situation this boy was in. After the boy came there the business doubled up within short span of time and worked day and night as his own business. Yet he got only peanuts at the end of the month. Moreover that boy was very trust worthy whom one could easily trust. He would never steal a penny from someone. The employer offered him to go abroad to manage him business within 6 months. While he offered to go abroad the boy asked him about his compensation and he was told he would pay him double the package he makes at present but he has to live abroad.
    With the kind of skills the boy had, he thought why not I start my own and earn better. Within 12 months he decided to come to Mangalore spoke to his sister to invest in business. Since sister knew his caliber helps him again and today he makes more than 20 lakhs per month. Now, the employer who lost him by underpaying started struggling again to manage his business just like before this boy joined there. The boy wasted his six months which he even thinks today, that he lost so much of time where he could have made 1.20 crore. So over all, one should ask for the salary as they should not waste their time for someone for peanuts. Even in terms of wasting time on interview is counted. This is my opinion,. I am open to discussion .

    1. Dear Ralph,

      Thanks for voicing your opinion. Since you are open to discussion, I am responding to your comments.
      You said,

      I didn’t find anything wrong in anyone asking about the salary range you offer.

      We didn’t say prospective employees should not ask for salary, they should. But it is ridiculous to ask that at the start of a discussion and judge an offer only based on salary. Once the candidate is found suitable for the job, then company makes an offer with pay package. If the candidate is satisfied with the offer he will join. It will not be a surprise package that will be known only when he gets the pay cheque.

      You said

      They don’t want to waste their valuable time in a place where someone offers pie nuts.

      The post nowhere says, company wants to people to work here for peanuts. Instead it is contrary to it that is written in the post

      Employees should take home good salaries for doing a valueable work for the company.

      You said

      everybody wants to get rich including you and me

      Correct, but you/me get rich by earning money. Keyword there is earning, earning means taking money in return for offering something more than what you take. If the focus is on offering skills and delivering results money will follow.

      Overall, I found that your perspective is entirely loaded on employees side with little regard for employers who invest in the resource and provide an opportunity. Lots of assumptions have already been made with your own bias than any fact being stated in the post.

  2. Forgive me, at last I mentioned 6 months of wasting time ( Considering his new business he opened up, he would have made 1.20 crore instead of wasting one year with employer. He considers 6 months for the business to flourish )

  3. This was your answer for my opinion when I mentioned there is nothing wrong a candidate asking about the salary.
    ” We didn’t say prospective employees should not ask for salary, they should. But it is ridiculous to ask that at the start of a discussion and judge an offer only based on salary. Once the candidate is found suitable for the job, then company makes an offer with pay package. If the candidate is satisfied with the offer he will join. It will not be a surprise package that will be known only when he gets the pay cheque”.
    – Sir, no matter what position, when you post advertisement for any position an employer must post the salary range he or she is offering. This will save candidates time as well as employers. Now, at one point of time you were working, Imagine you were called for an interview, where in you would drive or use taxi where in you waste your whole day commuting. During the interview you would know the range is below your expectation. Wouldn’t you be frustrated for wasting your time?.
    By posting the salary package – Will also reduce an employer’s stress too. The flow of unnecessary resumes would reduce and this will result in saving your time filtering, going ahead with the process with right candidate.
    Wasting time for Peanuts – your answer ” The post nowhere says, company wants to people to work here for peanuts. Instead it is contrary to it that is written in the post ”
    For an employer paying half of the market value is not peanuts but for a candidate the pay below his market value is peanuts. So any candidate in that matter wouldn’t want to waste his time in going through the process if the offer is for peanuts. Please be noted that in my reply post I have never mentioned that your company is offering peanuts. My opinion was in general.
    ” Overall, I found that your perspective is entirely loaded on employees side with little regard for employers who invest in the resource and provide an opportunity. Lots of assumptions have already been made with your own bias than any fact being stated in the post”
    Answer – Just like you Bhatre, I am a business man too with 3 successful running businesses, 2 in Dubai and 1 in Canada . So there is nothing to be bias about one sided story. Hopefully soon I will meet you on a business as I have an import export business ( one of them) . This is how I happen to see your whole website including your blogs.
    Over all if an employer mentions the salary range you would have never had the experience of meeting such candidates of whom you had wrote in pages.

    1. Dear Ralph,

      I get your point that Employers must mention the most important thing that candidates seek i.e. Salary range. And it will save the employers and candidates can save a lot of time for themselves in connecting only qualified leads. I agree now that it should be done. But I have a challenge, most of the positions that I advertise are not standard market ready positions. Frankly I don’t know the market standard salaries either. Earlier I couldn’t put up the salary figure, but you have suggested to put up range instead of exact figure, which is quite feasible. Or I can for example say Packing Machine Operator – Salary 9000 & above.
      Hope to rub shoulders with you sometime for business.

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