Leverage? No thank you.

Since we began including salaries in our job postings, a few people have asked if it affects the leverage we have over candidates.

The suggestion is that if we tell people exactly what we pay for a specific position, and they would have accepted less, but we’re now on the hook to pay them more than we “needed” to, then they have a leg up on us rather than us on them.

I find this line of thinking abhorrent.

I have zero interest in having leverage over anyone in a hiring situation. Of course we get to choose who we hire – so, yes, there’s power inherent in the act of hiring – but other than that necessity, leverage is the last thing I’m looking for.

Remember, I’m looking to to hire someone to work with, not work against. Starting things out with “look what we got away with!” seems like a terrible start to what hopefully develops into a wonderful, long-term working relationship. Leverage need not apply.

10 thoughts on “Leverage? No thank you.

  1. I completely agree. I love the transparency involved. The applicant knows if that salary is something that will work for their life before even applying and it is one less thing to have a conversation about, meaning you can focus on more important questions like culture fit. This really should be a standard practice. Good thing Basecamp is not standard. Far from it. 🙂

  2. I appreciate how this postures the relationship from the beginning towards mutual respect and trust. Thanks for sharing this, Jason.

  3. Brilliant, as always. Such a good way to think of relationships, business, people and the world.

    Something that should be emulated by others, not scoffed at.

  4. I completely agree. This level of transparency is something that very much needs to be adopted throughout the workforce. In the end it makes the whole salary “tango” more of a quickstep 🙂.

  5. People are funny. I wonder about the experiences those people have had in the business world that drove them to this thinking on leverage. A bit sad.

  6. Yes!! The salary negotiation process is such a terrible way to start for both parties. Why not pay something what the role is worth? Why is the goal to get the most qualified person for the lowest cost? This mentality ends up stretching into all parts of the business – getting the lowest cost materials from vendors, making products as cheaply as possible. In the end you begin to erode relationships with staff, vendors, and consumers.

  7. Your intentions are good and honest, which is good, but your attitude is somewhat naive.

    The issue stems from a certain labour market set-up where the hiring workplace always have an advantage over the potential candidate.
    I’d suggest reading about the Principal–agent problem (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principal%E2%80%93agent_problem) to fully understand why the current design forces people to behave in a certain way when it comes to discussing salaries.

    1. His attitude is not naive. You are not paying attention or just lack reading comprehension. The article you linked to: “Principal–agent problem is a problem arises where the two parties have *different interests* and asymmetric information”. Jason is not interested in paying the minimum to someone he wants to work with. He is not looking to take advantage of the inherent leverage an employer has. So essentially Jason’s interest aligns well with many prospective employees. Employees who are looking for rewarding work with competitive pay.

  8. What makes long-term connections with people strong is a foundation of mutual respect and honesty. A relationship with an employer can be seen as all-business and transactional, yes, but the humans underneath the numbers and deliverables are what make the work fulfilling. Feeling fulfilled in your work is an important tenet of a happy life. That said, well done. I love the realness and focus on the long-term. Thank you for changing the script. Keep it up.

  9. I think this honesty and transparency in job postings is what really sets Basecamp apart from the others! It sets up the employer-employee relationship on a solid foundation of respect and integrity, right from the beginning. So important and I wish more employers would shift their thinking in this way!

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