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Unfair Job interviews and Earning R4200

Are unfair job interviews why more than half of South Africans earn R4 200 p/mth?


Interviewers are biased towards the company they recruit for, they want ‘bang for buck.’ Exploitative companies search for the most talented individuals willing to accept low rates.

The working poor and income inequality is rising. Although job applicants are exploited regardless of colour, age or qualification, women and black people remain worse off.

Recruiters expect applicants to negotiate, a lack of confidence and preparation works against those who can’t and who simply agree to what they are told by a biased interviewer. When the interviewer advises you, understand they are softening you up for negotiation. They only really care about how much the employer will end up paying.

Negotiation is about stating facts and why they are relevant to the discussion. This means if you can’t argue why you should be paid more, you could be paid less! To earn more, know how to negotiate based on facts, not feelings.

Celebrate the Opportunity to Negotiate But Watch Out For Unfair Job interviews

A job interview is your opportunity to shine, especially when it comes to pay.

Most job adverts fail to disclose pay information, understand that this is because firms want to have an advantage over you during discussions about money. The less you know about what they pay, the less you are likely to earn.

Know Your Worth During Unfair Job Interviews

There are many free websites that share wage information. Use them to research:

  • how much people with your experience get paid for the same work
  • market related salaries to get an idea of what pay is offered thought the sector or for that particular job
  • salaries at the company if you know the name

How much do you want to earn?

Once your research is completed, come up with an answer based on the information you found.

If you discovered that people such as yourself earned R3k per month at the company but could earn more elsewhere, try apply for a job elsewhere. Explore options before dismissing the one that’s come up for you.

Sometimes the first offer is the best offer, but you’ll never know unless you complete the research.

Ultimately your pay is based on what you are able to argue for – not what other firms pay. Using that as your only argument wont fly.

To argue for higher pay, you must define what you have to offer that makes you worth more.

You can refer to

  • specific experience you have that they can use to their advantage (perhaps you worked at a competitor)
  • additional skills you have that they could benefit from (maybe you’re a dj or events organiser in addition to being an administrator and can coordinate their year-end events and save them money.)
  • interesting information you found about the company or industry reflecting your commitment and genuine interest in the job. Explain how enthusiastic you are about contributing to the organisation.

You don’t have to prepare a speech on each aspect, you may even only want to focus on one or two points. That’s fine! Just be ready to present your argument in a friendly manner.

Don’t bark out a list, speak naturally, say one thing at a time. Have a conversation not a slam session! 😉

Message to recruitment firms who feel I’m unfairly critical: Unfair Job interviews

  1. Your claims at being values driven and virtuous don’t count as you are unwilling or unable to substantiate these claims
  2. As long as you fail to do anything about the high levels of exploitation perpetuated by your peers, you are as guilty. 
  3. Do something about exploitation and prejudice in recruitment, don’t defend mediocrity and lack of acumen.

AFRICHECK confirmed COSATU’s figure: More than half of South Africans earn R4 200 p/mth

Preventing income inequality begins with you!

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Leonie Hall

Leonie Hall, disruptive thinker and dynamic strategist, is an expert in education, development, quality management and innovation. She has spoken at local and international conferences; and currently works as an independent consultant and content developer. Contact Leonie for a consultation.

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