Salary Negotiation Etiquette, HCareers Newsletter October 25, 2007

October 25, 2007

Tips from your friends at Hospitality Talent Scouts!

During the interview process, salary discussions and negotiations are usually, if not always, the last thing discussed. This is often after numerous interviews that may be rigorous in nature. When you think about it, how the whole thing works really is kind of humorous.

Hotel and restaurant managers spend all day long figuring out, and talking about, how they can enhance the guest experience so they can make more income for their owners or shareholders. There is nothing wrong with that, after all, because hotels and restaurants are businesses, and businesses are in business to make money, right?

Then why is it taboo to talk about salaries up front in an interview? What's wrong with discussing early in an interview how much income the candidate can make for themselves or their family to support the necessities that come with living or having the funds to support education, retirement, etc.? Aren't these good and reasonable questions? Is it really is an issue of tradition or etiquette, or is it an issue of an individual's motivation? Is wanting to earn more money and talking about it up front considered shallow? Individually, it might be considered that way, although a business has the same aspirations. So what's the difference?

The difference is that businesses are looking for individuals who are passionate in what they do, and therefore money is a reward, not the primary driver. Businesses want people who are motivated to be of service to others. In the hospitality industry, this is what drives guest satisfaction and, in the end, what drives profits. "Proper salary negotiation" means following proper etiquette. Proper etiquette says that if you want the job, you'd better let salary be the last item on the agenda!