By: Corbin Haupt, Executive Recruiter
What’s in it for You
After walking candidates through hundreds, if not thousands of interview processes, the key aspect that ultimately makes or breaks a candidate’s decision to accept an offer comes down to the money and things that will benefit his or her lifestyle. It’s sure nice to think that people accept jobs because they “bought-in” on a company, title or potential supervisor/team, but when it gets down to the final moments of yes or no, it’s generally about the salary and benefits. There are of course outliers from time to time but 95-99% of the time, the aforementioned could not be more accurate.
Getting the Offer in the First Place
What does that mean for the candidate… it means that when you’re initially considering a career change, you need to take the time and prioritize what you want/need to accept a new position. The factors of the direct supervisor, environment, industry, and company culture should be what guides you through initial contacts and first-round phone interviews with the goal being, the companies you spend time face to face with are companies you would definitely consider working at. After 3, 5 or 20 in-person interviews, offers should start to present themselves. If this is isn’t the case, you might need some self-reflection as to what you can do better in an interview scenario.
Assuming you’re at a point where offers are on the table, my experience points to transparency being the key to narrowing down what is acceptable and what is not. Be honest about your previous compensation packages, do your research on the market standards for the position/title and be realistic with yourself about what a company could present when the interview process is over. (EX: don’t expect a 25%+ increase in compensation because you have a friend somewhere making x amount of dollars.) If the salary offered is within 5-10% higher than your previous compensation, that is what realistic looks like and you shouldn’t dwell on a specific number that might have stuck in your head. (Everyone wants to make 10 Million dollars per year and those that do want to make 100 million per year)
It’s Not All About the Benjamins
The other pieces of the offer are the benefits, usually comprised of health/vision/dental and a retirement plan. Things like tuition reimbursement, stock options and other perks like a company car, cell phone paid for are nice but not exactly common across the board. The two big things to look at are health and retirement. More often than not, I wouldn’t expect companies to be forthcoming of these benefits until an offer is on the table (the companies that advertise their good benefits only do so because they know their benefits are above average and it serves as a recruitment tool). Be educated on what you currently have and what you/your family needs and also what you’re willing to sacrifice in order to ultimately make the change. (Ex: if you work for XYZ large corporation that has excellent health and retirement, don’t expect to find that at ABC mid-size company. The difference is generally shown in compensation.)
To wrap things up and put it simply, 1. Be educated on what is appropriate for you, your location and circumstance. 2. Be realistic with your expectations. 3. Remember that in your job search, nobody is as eager to move quickly and see the best offer as you are.