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Salary and the Job Offer

In one of our recent Candidate Connection Blogs, we discussed other aspects of the job offer besides salary. As the economy slowly recovers, many stories have appeared in the media about companies being more willing to negotiate salary with “top candidates” – those people with leading-edge skills, experience and certifications.

But what if you are not one of those “top candidates”? What if you do not have experience with UNIX or various CRM systems? What if you have not earned a certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) or earned a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)? The answer is to look at other aspects of the job that would appeal to you – things like the benefits and perks, perceived job security, and even your new boss.

It is important to investigate all aspects of the job offer. Salary is only really one component, and whereas it is true that you cannot pay bills with your vacation time, it is also true that you spend almost of a quarter of your year at work. Should it not be a positive, rewarding experience?

  • Consider Your Supervisor – Remember, people usually do not quit their jobs – they quit their boss. When we interview, many of us do not consider our potential supervisors. You’ll be working for this person every day, so consider their management style (when compared to your work style), their position in the organization and the compatibility between the two of you.
  • Benefits – Benefits are considered the non-wage compensation provided to employees, and (in many cases) they can add money to your salary. Consider the extent of the benefit’s offering (for example, the amount of coverage and co-pays for health insurance) and the relative importance of those benefits to you. The National Compensation Survey groups benefits into five categories:
    1. paid leave -vacations, holidays, sick leave
    2. supplementary pay -premium pay for overtime and work on holidays and weekends, shift differentials, nonproduction bonuses
    3. retirement- 401(k) and retirement plans and pensions
    4. insurance – life insurance, health benefits, short-term disability, and long-term disability insurance
    5. legally required benefits -Social Security and Medicare, federal and state unemployment insurance taxes, and workers’ compensation.
  • Perks – There is usually no standard list of perks that you can measure your job offer up against. You will need to evaluate these on their merits and try to determine how they will benefit you. If your children are already grown and out of the house, an on-site daycare will not be at all important to you. If you plan on trying to finish your bachelor’s degree, then tuition reimbursement could be a huge benefit.
  • Location and Commute – The place where you work and your daily commute also needs to be considered. A short commute and the savings on gasoline or public transportation fares, tolls, etc. can offset lower salaries…even more so, the higher gasoline prices go.
  • Job Security – No one wants to lose their job, so what is the degree of confidence that you have in regards to the stability of the company. Look at the financial stability, age and average tenure of employees within the company as well as the growth rate of the entire industry.
  • Opportunity for Advancement – No one wants to work in the same job for 40 years. Evaluate the extent to which the job is likely to lead to additional responsibilities and promotions (along with additional monies). Some companies offer clear-cut career tracks; others are much more organic and employee-driven in their advancement opportunities.
  • Work Environment – It is extremely important to feel comfortable in the environment that you are going to be working in. Recall from your interview the demeanor and work styles of employees, the look-and-feel of the actual workplace, and the management style of supervisors.

The bottom line in evaluating a job offer is that there is not a certain formula that needs to be followed. Everyone has a different set of circumstances that they have to be mindful of. If you have been out of work for a period of time, your circumstances are different than someone who is looking to break through into the supervisory ranks.

In addition, a perfect job for you could be the worst job ever for someone else. Look at your job offer. Does it sound interesting, exciting, challenging? Are you being offered a fair wage? Again, salary is not everything, but a fair wage is a fair wage. If you do not know what fair is, do your homework. Sites such as or WantedAnalytics or PayScale
Think back to your interview. Did you feel comfortable with everyone who greeted and spoke to you? Can you envision yourself working there for a long time? Did employees appear to be genuinely friendly and happy to have you as an employee?

But listen to your gut. If you can just not shake that nagging feeling that something is just not right, then this is probably not the job for you. Another offer will be right down the road, and that one might be a better fit.