Salary DOE: Meaning, advantages, and tips for HR professionals

A job listing is how employers find the right candidate for a role. But there’s a lot to consider in a job listing for the jobseeker and the employer. Jobseekers want to know what they’ll get paid, while employers have a labor budget to consider.

Because so many factors influence the salary range for a given position, many employers have opted to replace a listed salary range in favor of the acronym DOE: depends on experience.

DOE is a placeholder that opens up a new realm of possibilities for jobseekers and HR professionals who must maintain a tight budget. Let’s explore how DOE job listings help your recruitment efforts.

Why is DOE pay important?

DOE gives HR professionals more room to negotiate salary with job candidates in the hiring process.

Including a fixed salary or a salary range limits the hiring manager’s ability to find the right salary for a particular candidate. By listing salary numbers outright, employers set the expectation for the position at the beginning of the hiring process before salary negotiations occur.

Alternatively, DOE allows managers to secure a salary better suited for a particular job seeker. A jobseeker with ten years of experience typically doesn’t earn the same amount as a jobseeker with one year of experience. Experience levels indicate a potential candidate’s level of experience and warrant consideration when negotiating salary and determining a best offer.

While the lack of transparency will likely turn away some candidates, DOE benefit both the job seeker and the employer; they both have the opportunity to negotiate a salary that works best for them.

DOE compensation advantages for companies

DOE has become increasingly popular with employers because it opens up new possibilities when negotiating pay for a position. Instead of listing salary at the beginning of the process, hiring managers leverage the many stages of the hiring process and the information gained to make a tailor-fit salary package for the job candidate.

DOE comes with a few critical advantages for organizations. Here are a few to consider:

  • Negotiation power

DOE gives significant negotiating power to the employer. Including fixed salary or salary ranges within the job descriptions severely limits a hiring manager’s ability to set an amenable salary.

Additionally, DOE allows hiring managers to set the salary later in the hiring process when they’ve gathered ample information about the jobseeker’s experience levels.

  • It attracts more experienced candidates

Because DOE leverages experience in compensation, they are more attractive to qualified candidates. Experience candidates leverage their work experience to negotiate better pay and benefits. In turn, the DOE position’s lead pool gathers highly experienced people who become highly experienced employees.

Will attract candidates who are truly interested in the position

Employers want employees who love what they do. By making salary negotiable, candidates who apply have greater enthusiasm for the job.

For many candidates, experience in the field of their interest in the position trumps other priorities, like pay. If pay isn’t much of a consideration, employers count on the fact that the job candidate is a passionate, eager worker.

DOE compensation downsides

Employers implement DOE in job listings because it provides leverage when negotiating salary. But relying on DOE is risky as well. In a strong labor market, workers increasingly demand to know their salary upfront. Washington State, for instance, has applied a state law where organizations must be transparent about salaries.

Jobseekers don’t always appreciate the opacity of a DOE listing; here are some disadvantages employers must consider before implementing a DOE.

  • Applicants might hesitate to apply for jobs

A DOE listing is often a red flag for job seekers. An employer unwilling to share the position’s value in a job offer is sometimes suspicious to job seekers who want an upfront sense of salary expectations. Jobseekers often pass over listings with opaque salary information for job listings that are more transparent and open.

  • Could attract non-flexible candidates

Jobseekers are in search of a livelihood. Because the process is stressful, candidates are often not as flexible as employers would like when negotiating annual salaries. A non-flexible job applicant drives a harder bargain and potentially prolongs the hiring process, which wastes the organization’s time and resources.

  • May not be right for small companies

Because DOE offerings render the value of a position relative, they make budgeting difficult for small organizations. Limited salary budgets need to be able to accommodate experienced candidates who demand higher salaries. Furthermore, negotiating pay often draws out the hiring process, which smaller organizations often can’t afford.

  • Can appeal to candidates who are out of the salary range

Without a listed salary range, a job listing often attracts candidates that demand more compensation than the position is worth. As a result, DOE pay often bogs down the hiring process, prolongs vacancies, and undermines the organization.

  • May promote unequal pay

When compensation is left opaque, the potential for unequal, discriminatory pay practices increases. Historically disadvantaged groups have been underpaid for decades. When a salary is negotiable, unconscious bias has a greater opportunity to perpetuate unequal pay trends.

5 tips to negotiate salary DOE pay with candidates

DOE opens up the floor for negotiation, which makes compensation more challenging to find. Negotiation presents many opportunities for hiring managers. The more confident they are in their negotiation abilities, the better the final hiring outcome.

Here are five tips that help hiring managers negotiate DOE salaries with candidates in the hiring process.

Define the salary range and budget

Hiring managers must establish a clear salary range that works with the budget and is competitive by industry standards. Employers reduce the risk of exceeding their budget by setting a ceiling beforehand. An internally agreed upon salary range sets clear parameters on what the position is worth for the organization.

Identify the most relevant skills and qualifications for the job

Because experience level determines salary, hiring managers must identify the pertinent skills and qualifications the position demands. Identifying the most valuable components of the position helps hiring managers set a negotiable salary based on a candidate’s experience levels.

Remain flexible

DOE’s strength lies in flexibility. With DOE, employers hire experienced candidates at a better value. That sometimes requires compensation flexibility. Hiring managers often need to adopt a compensation package to secure stronger candidates, with offerings like a benefits package or pay-for-performance incentives that make the position more attractive.

Set the agreement into a written form

After thoroughly assessing a candidate, hiring managers must choose a number that reflects their experience levels. The agreement must be clearly stated in a written format, then submitted to the candidate for their approval.

Identify when to pull back

DOE job listings hinge on negotiation. That means employers often encounter scenarios where they cannot reach a compromise. If candidates set hard boundaries on what they expect from a position, hiring managers must know when to walk away and move on to the next candidate.

FAQs around salary DOE

How do I determine the DOE salary range for my job posting?

Calculating the pay range is difficult. Employers need only look at their industry peers to see how they evaluate pay for similar positions. Employers also determine their average salary range by utilizing internal, historical data on pay trends.

Does “salary commensurate with experience” mean the same as DOE?

Salary commensurate with experience is synonymous with DOE. These terms signify the position’s relative value based on the jobseeker’s experience. DOE is simply a shorthand for DOE or salary commensurate with experience.

What does salary DOQ mean?

DOQ means dependent on qualifications. DOQ slightly differs from DOE. DOE sometimes specifically refers to past work history or experience in the field. DOQ is a little more specific, with a greater focus on a jobseekers qualifications in the form of certifications, education, and other indications of expertise.

So, now you know the answer to “What is DOE pay?” Now, use it to help improve your hiring practices alongside Payscale’s award-winning compensation technology.