"What is your expected compensation"

mcnameo's picture
Rank: Monkey | 60

I am curious what the "correct" answer is when your interviewer or HR ask you some form of the question "what kind of compensation are you looking for?".

Do you tell them what your bottom line is to survive and make your bills? Do you tell them what the industry average compensation is? Do you inflate the # or deflate it?

Comments (25)

Jun 14, 2011

Don't ask for a number. Tell them what you're currently making (inflate by 10-15%). They'll at least match that (which is a 10-15% raise for you), or they'll probably even try to beat it.

Jun 14, 2011
manbearpig:

Don't ask for a number. Tell them what you're currently making (inflate by 10-15%). They'll at least match that (which is a 10-15% raise for you), or they'll probably even try to beat it.

This. If you're currently clearing about $150k, say "I'm currently making about $170k, and I'd like to be in that ballpark if I were to jump ship."

Jun 14, 2011

Wouldn't HR check with your previous employer regarding what your salary was?

Jun 14, 2011
mcnameo:

Wouldn't HR check with your previous employer regarding what your salary was?

Not that they would, but even if they wanted to check, they could only get your base pay. There's a lot of room to play with when you give them your all-in comp (i.e. bonus, overtime, expenses, travel, benefits).

Jun 14, 2011
manbearpig:
mcnameo:

Wouldn't HR check with your previous employer regarding what your salary was?

Not that they would, but even if they wanted to check, they could only get your base pay. There's a lot of room to play with when you give them your all-in comp (i.e. bonus, overtime, expenses, travel, benefits).

They can't verify the bonus? At all?

Jun 14, 2011

They might ask for a pay stub but your previous employer can't report your pay to anyone but the IRS and government authorities. HR wouldn't contact your current employer because then you might get fired without receiving an offer.

Jun 14, 2011

There are privacy laws relating to what an HR department can say about you to anyone, including another potential employer. From what I understand, they can simply confirm or deny the dates you worked at the firm and what position you held.

Jun 14, 2011

If they ask you to verify your pay, just do not do what this "baller" did...

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/liar_...

Jun 14, 2011

Is there any downside to not giving a number? What if you just say you expect your compensation to be competitive? Does this response expose you to too much risk of getting shafted?

Jun 14, 2011
design:

Is there any downside to not giving a number? What if you just say you expect your compensation to be competitive? Does this response expose you to too much risk of getting shafted?

Don't ever do this. It might be fine in banking because of the standard pay structures, but in almost every other industry, lateral hires make substantially more than people who started their career there. If you say it should be competitive, your competition pool will be the current employees there, rather than your peers outside of the firm/company.

Don't pull a number from no where, always start from what you're currently making and then put the ball in their court.

Jun 14, 2011
manbearpig:

Don't ever do this. It might be fine in banking because of the standard pay structures, but in almost every other industry, lateral hires make substantially more than people who started their career there. If you say it should be competitive, your competition pool will be the current employees there, rather than your peers outside of the firm/company.

Don't pull a number from no where, always start from what you're currently making and then put the ball in their court.

Ah, I see. Yeah, I was looking at it from an IB perspective. Thanks for that insight.

Jun 14, 2011

I just say $7 million and go from there.

Jun 14, 2011

Yeah, there's some room for fudge factor on what your pay is. Honestly, though, if your comp is way off what it should be, it is much better to state your comp, state where you think the market is, and let them do their research.

After a few years, you will have friends at a lot of different firms that you'll be able to go to for advice. "Hey John- I've gotten an offer to leave EF Hutton and I'm trying to figure out what someone with two years of experience in equity research should be asking for. I was thinking 3 shekels at the low end and 4 at the high end. What do you think?"

Talk to maybe two people you trust and for whom a comp conversation would not seem gauche (ideally people who make more than you) and get an idea of where the market is. And then set your MSRP.

Jun 14, 2011

They can ask for pay stubs: can they ask for the check stub from the bonus?

Jun 14, 2011
UFOinsider:

They can ask for pay stubs: can they ask for the check stub from the bonus?

You can also tell them to go fuck themselves. Which is exactly what I would do if anyone besides the government or my mortgage broker asked me for a pay stub. That's none of their business.

Jun 14, 2011
CaptK:
UFOinsider:

They can ask for pay stubs: can they ask for the check stub from the bonus?

You can also tell them to go fuck themselves. Which is exactly what I would do if anyone besides the government or my mortgage broker asked me for a pay stub. That's none of their business.

Yeah totally agree. They have no right to demand it. If not giving it to them is a dealbreaker, fuck'em. You don't want to work for such an anal place anyway. Who knows what kind of other bullshit policies they have.

Jun 14, 2011
CaptK:
UFOinsider:

They can ask for pay stubs: can they ask for the check stub from the bonus?

You can also tell them to go fuck themselves. Which is exactly what I would do if anyone besides the government or my mortgage broker asked me for a pay stub. That's none of their business.

Well that's good to know. So it isn't like a drug test / background check then - firm policy doesn't require this? Or is it that I don't want to work at the type of firm that asks to see my pay stub / W4?

Jun 14, 2011

It really depends on whether their manager knows your manager.

Again, some mild fudge factor is ok. But it is really best to be honest about your salary, say that you know what the market is, though, and that your opportunity cost to work with them is really $X-$Y. You have to introduce the concept of a third party here- the market- which you're pretty sure is willing to pay a lot more than your current employer if that's really the case.

Don't be a scared little girl, but don't let greed get you too deep into trouble either. As an experienced candidate, you have the luxury of being able to go in with confidence.

Jun 15, 2011

I don't understand why people get so worked up over these issues. It's not a major question. If you are going into finance then you are most likely going to get whatever that institution pays their analysts/associates in that class. If you were going into a position where you needed to negotiate compensation structure then you probably aren't posting this question on this site.

Jun 15, 2011
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Jun 15, 2011