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Compensation, Financial and Otherwise July 29, 2012

Posted by Tim Rodgers in job search.
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During this current period of non-employment I’ve often been asked about my “expected” or “required” level of compensation for my next position. I suppose it’s an important question in the sense that the answer gives recruiters or potential employers a quick check on the suitability of a candidate given the salary they’re willing to offer. If the candidate is willing to work for significantly less money, then they’re not really calibrated for the position they’re applying for, and may in fact not be qualified at all. If the candidate wants significantly more money, then there’s a strong belief that this person will not be satisfied in the position and will surely leave as soon as they find a different position with a higher salary. I think there’s also a belief that people who have recently worked in jobs with greater pay have become unwilling to roll up their sleeves and put in the effort and long hours that may be required.

It’s not that simple. I’ve worked at jobs where I’ve had a high level of base pay and the probability of a large performance-based bonus, but where I’ve been miserable nearly every day because the job was unfulfilling, the work environment was soul-crushing, or the outlook was gloomy. I have gladly traded thousands of dollars of annual income for the chance to work with people I respect and trust, in a culture that’s entrepreneurial and ambitious. Yes, money is important and everyone has some minimum salary that they need to maintain a comfortable and familiar lifestyle. However, job candidates shouldn’t be screened out solely on the basis of their salary history, and job candidates should be open to positions that pay less but offer more.

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