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Abraham Lincoln said, "If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first hour sharpening the axe."

With that in mind, when is the best time during the recruitment process to talk about salaries?

For years supposed experts have advised people not to discuss salary too early in the process. We don't agree. And lately we have seen and been told about an increase in the number of people getting to offer stage and then not proceeding.

People tend to be shy of discussing salaries at interview but our advice to clients and jobseekers is to manage and get expectations out in the open at the outset. This doesn't mean agreeing salaries up front, but does mean establishing whether there's a no man's land between candidate and employer expectations or some degree of overlap.

If you trust us (and at Spinnaker we appreciate trust must be earned!) recruiters can play a vital role in bridging the gap between those expectations or saving everybody wasted time. Recruiters are trained to trial close at all stages in the process. This is not about tying jobseekers down but about understanding their motivations by walking them up and down through salary levels, at a time when emotions are not involved, to understand and help them understand their true feelings and limits.

The point in time in which an offer is made is not the time to "insult" a job seeker with an unrealistic figure. This is the moment when emotions get involved and the whole thing becomes highly personal. Equally, the offer stage is not the time for jobseekers suddenly to announce outlandish expectations.

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