Just Like People, No Job Offer Is Perfect

So, you’re interviewing with a small business and it comes time to discuss your compensation package. How are you supposed to know your value on the open job market?

In all actuality, that’s very hard to know, because human beings naturally value their own worth much higher than the market is paying. Think of it this way: your favourite shirt may be worth $100. You have worn the shirt 10 times, yet you would not sell it for the paltry-seeming sum of $120. To someone else, it’s a nice shirt, but there are other shirts out there. Make sense?

So, when interviewing with a small business one of the main factors that will increase your compensation package is the length of time that small business owner has been looking for the right job seeker. If it has been a long time, you can bet that if you negotiate properly you will get a higher salary than you would if you were to receive an offer for a parallel position at a Fortune 500.

Why is this so? Hiring is very tiresome for the business owner. If it were easy and fun, I would not be in business. After a while, the small business owner wants to be done with the staffing process, just as we all want to complete projects that we set out to do. Therefore there is a direct relationship between length of time that a job has been open and the percentage of increased salary you should be receiving.

“Well, I’m interviewing with a larger organisation how do I know if I can get extra compensation?” Always be on the lookout for new initiatives from that company. For instance, if they have amassed training out of state, that means that the hiring managers must have their team together prior to that particular date. Now, (wink, wink) to make sure they have everyone they need at that meeting, they may have to pay you a little bit more or risk training someone later, at extra expense and inconvenience.

This rule of thumb also goes the other way. For instance, if everybody wants to be in the industry that you’re going for, you can rest assured that you are going to be taking a pay cut getting into that vertical. Let’s take media, for example. Our universities pump out an immense amount of 20-somethings who want in on what they perceive to be an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in publishing, advertising, PR, television and film, etc. It is no coincidence that those very industries are some of the lowest-paying, especially at the entry level.

However, you could mitigate something like this by putting it out on the table. An example would be, “I do understand that a lot of people are going for this position. It’s a great job and would be naïve not to acknowledge that. I hope that my higher salary demands won’t preclude me becoming a part of the team.”

In the end, the more you know business and the more you can empathise with the individual who is making you an offer and their place in a business, the higher your salary is going to be. Remember, when negotiating salary always be amiable, never let the negotiations become contentious and, understand that just like every human being, no job offer is perfect.