As you research this topic online, there are many articles addressing what motivates a candidate to accept a job. The buzzword of “”workplace motivation”” stresses that it is the whole package that an employer needs to consider when making an offer. That is true! A large salary with a company that treats its employees poorly is not worth the hassle. BUT, burying the ‘what do you expect for your next salary’ question is wrong. We all know that, for some more than others, money talks.

One-Size-Fits-All Does Not Fit!

There is never a one-size-fits-all solution in the workplace. How you value your salary differs versus from the next. If you are focused on meeting the basic needs for survival, your focus is on the initial offer as well as the pay raise cycle, bonuses, and benefits. If you are more financially secure, however, the challenge of the position and the opportunity for advancement may be the focus.

Working for Free?

No matter how much we enjoy our job, and the people we work for, many do not stick around if the employer were to stop paying. While there are some who work for free doing a practicum, volunteer work, or internship, this is often the exception. Receiving money in return for doing our job is the basic foundation of the employment contract. Thus, money is a crucial incentive for accepting a job offer. So, if this is your motivation, you are not alone. In fact, 58% of workers state money is the most important factor in choosing an employer. It is also among the top reasons why a business professional resigns.

Employers who underestimate what a competitive, attractive, salary can do to attract (and maintain) employees are truly detrimental to the organization’s success. Productivity is shown to be directly attributed to the fairness felt in how pay is received (see equity theory). As an employee, it is likely you perceive you are being treated fairly if the ratio of your workload to paycheque is on-par with the market. But, what is on-par? How do you determine that?

When and How to Talk Compensation

Likely ‘money’ will be brought up at some point during an interview. There are two scenarios to this:

a) If it comes near the end of the discussion, this is a good sign they are interested in you and your skills. We do not suggest bringing up the subject until the interviewer mentions it. If you do, you risk sending the wrong message. You want to show you are interested in what you can do for the company, not that money is your focus. Avoid giving the impression your focus is on getting paid.

b) But, if it comes up early in the interview, it is likely a screening question. How you address the question early could take you out of further consideration quickly. Your best strategy is to avoid answering any questions related to money. If it becomes awkward, ask the interviewer to disclose the range and confirm that your expectations do (or do not) fit within that range. Depending on the range, indicating whether you are mid-or-high in that range helps establish the basis for future negotiations.

Considering Compensation Plan(s)

With the direct connection between money and job performance, determining if an employer’s compensation plan is fair is crucial to the overall decision-making process.

  • Job Market Research:
    • Know what you are worth in the marketplace. Is the position you are considering in high-demand? What is the average pay? Sites like GlassDoor and LinkedIn provide salary insights to assist. Make sure you are reviewing salaries related to your geographic area as salaries do differ based on location. Some markets produce annual salary surveys online or in popular magazines.
    • Talk with other people in your field – connect with those in your network who most closely approximate your age and/or experience level.
    • Call similar companies directly and inquiry about their salary ranges for the type of job you seek.
  • Talk to the Recruiter:
    • Often a recruiter will not post the salary on their job postings because the client has requested it. A recruiter will find out your remuneration expectations and will let you know if it is too big of a discrepancy.
  • Consider the Little Extras:
    • Do not forget to consider all the elements of the financial package – does it include a company vehicle, expense report or gas card? (See below)
    • What salary do you require to afford you the type of lifestyle to which you are accustomed? Will relocation be a higher cost of living or lower?

Negotiating for a Position?

You may, along with your prospective employer, consider multiple remuneration options as part of your compensation package (many are negotiable). Check out our post for details: Interview? Negotiate Your Job Offer

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