Author Topic: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?  (Read 7748 times)

kudy

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Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« on: January 30, 2015, 08:57:11 PM »
I have a yearly review with my boss next month. I suspect that I might get a smaller raise than I am hoping for... I work for a small company, and the last 2 years I've heard, "we're young, we'll try to pay more soon." I make a decent salary, but if I hear the same thing this year, I think I am going to try and highlight why I am worth more; I think my salary might be below market rates. For a number of reasons, I think it might be hard to actually convince the boss to give me more than the standard raise, but I would be better equipped for the discussion if I had a salary number from a similar job to compare.

Earlier this evening, I sent my resume to a similar employer in a neighboring city with an open position a lot like mine. Assuming they contact me back, I am hoping to interview with them, and hopefully get a salary number from them. I am worried about wasting the time of the people interviewing me, and using them to get information. I *might* actually consider a job if they offered me one, but the salary would have to be quite a bit higher than mine to justify the soul crushing commute. Most likely, I wouldn't actually take a job if offered, and I think I will feel weird interviewing as if I am super interested.

Also, I don't have a lot of experience in job interviews, and I am curious if I can expect to get an idea of salary without actually being offered the job?

dividendman

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2015, 10:12:48 PM »
Nothing rude about it.

Companies spend a lot of money on researching market rates there is no reason you shouldn't invest your time in the same.

NorCal

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2015, 11:06:48 PM »
I personally wouldn't waste your time.  If you want to do well enough in the interview to get an offer, you should spend a LOT of time researching the role.  It's a waste of your time as well as theirs.

Of course, if you would actually consider taking the job, that's a different story.

I would just check Glassdoor.  Their salary ranges are pretty accurate, at least in my field.  Salary.com also has some good info, although a lot is locked behind a paywall.

mxt0133

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2015, 11:41:56 PM »
Always be interviewing.  At a minimum once a year and yes you should absolutely try your best to get an offer even if you have no intention of leaving your current employer.

Reasons:

1) You will know your market rate.

2) You will know what skill sets employers are looking for at your current position and possibly the one above

3) You will get a feel for the current job market in your area

4) You will gain confidence that your are not stuck to one employer and assert your wants instead of your employer dictating them for you

5) You will gain interviewing experience which like any other skill needs to be honed and practiced if you are to improve

I can't tell you how many colleagues I have known that have been let go and then all of a sudden have to start interviewing after X number of years.  Some of them have literally not updated their resume's in years, (Hint: you should update it at least once a year)

But that's just me.  I learned a few years too late that no matter how much your employer says they are cultivating your careers or developing career plans, they do not have your best interests in mind.  You need to manage your career and it is up to you to know what your market rate is and no let them tell you what it is.

Terrestrial

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2015, 10:02:28 AM »
Always be interviewing.  At a minimum once a year and yes you should absolutely try your best to get an offer even if you have no intention of leaving your current employer.

Reasons:

1) You will know your market rate.

2) You will know what skill sets employers are looking for at your current position and possibly the one above

3) You will get a feel for the current job market in your area

4) You will gain confidence that your are not stuck to one employer and assert your wants instead of your employer dictating them for you

5) You will gain interviewing experience which like any other skill needs to be honed and practiced if you are to improve

I can't tell you how many colleagues I have known that have been let go and then all of a sudden have to start interviewing after X number of years.  Some of them have literally not updated their resume's in years, (Hint: you should update it at least once a year)

But that's just me.  I learned a few years too late that no matter how much your employer says they are cultivating your careers or developing career plans, they do not have your best interests in mind.  You need to manage your career and it is up to you to know what your market rate is and no let them tell you what it is.

I think some of these are decent points/goals, I agree with the overall benefits, but there are risks as well with the method. 

For example, my industry is very 'tight' in this town.  Everybody knows everybody and the companies work together all the time.  I might slide a couple under the radar interviews by if i was serious about leaving, but if I went to interview at a different company around town every year, my employer would eventually know, and they probably wouldn't be happy about it.  As I really like where I work, am at a reasonably senior level in management with a small equity stake, and really don't want to change companies, this is not ideal at all. 

It would also reflect poorly on me to these other companies (who again, I have relationships with and and work with all the time) once word gets around that this is a yearly thing for me...basically wasting their time for personal gain.  I know I wouldn't appreciate it if a well-qualified lookey-loo came though my door for the sole purpose of trying to polish interview skills and get an offer to verify their rate, when I am really in a personnel pinch and needed to focus on hiring legitimate candidates.  Obviously this isn't a concern for some other people, depending on how tight your industry is, but loyalty/trust and personal reputation are things that take a long time to build but are quite easy to quickly squander.   

There are other ways to accomplish these goals in less disruptive manners that I employ.  I have cultivated good friendships with a number of others at around my level at other companies, to the point where we are comfortable enough comparing general compensation package ranges, to make sure you are market rate without risk.  It also gives me an in on who is hiring and some contacts for a foot in the door if I do find myself needing to make a change for one reason or another.

I agree at the end of the day employees have to watch out for themselves and only you have your best interest in mind, but I do believe that while their are some cutthroat organizations out there, there are also alot of employers who try and do right by their employees to the extent possible.   If you work for one of those, protecting yourself with information while also showing a bit of loyalty isn't a bad thing.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 10:08:24 AM by Terrestrial »

seattlecyclone

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2015, 10:22:46 AM »
I view "we'll try to pay more soon..." as a standard crutch that employers use to try to get you to work for below-market rates for just a little bit longer. Remember, your employer's goals are not always your own goals. Their goal is to get sufficiently qualified labor for the lowest possible price. So they'll give you just a large enough annual raise so that they think it's unlikely you'll quit in protest. No more. After a few years of this you're likely selling yourself short by not changing jobs.

Rezdent

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2015, 10:35:17 AM »
However you do the research, I recommend looking at the total package.
I've seen several colleagues take a higher wage at another company.  Only after they switched they found out that the new job carried far less benefits,  such as no match on retirement plans, much higher health insurance, no paid vacations, long vesting periods.  At least two of them actually lost money.

dividendman

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2015, 12:56:06 PM »
"...but if I went to interview at a different company around town every year, my employer would eventually know, and they probably wouldn't be happy about it. "
"...showing a bit of loyalty isn't a bad thing..."

It has been my experience that both of those statements are generally incorrect.

I manage a fair group of people and managers and am in all of the management type meetings where we discuss employee retention. If you suck at your job, sure, you might get screwed by doing the above. But do you know what? If you're a highly rated employee (I don't know how your rating system works) or even a critical employee, we *always* give more perks, money etc. to people who have a risk of leaving than those who have not shown any.

As for loyalty, at least in tech, you will 99% get a better career salary if you switch jobs every 3-4 years than staying at one place. Why? Because when we hire new people it's at market rates, but the raises we give to even the strongest of performers is never more than a few % and many people get none at all.

Remember that the point of any business is to maximize profit. In the end they are going to pay you the minimum they think they can get away with. You should be have like a business as well, your goal is to maximize your revenue for services delivered.

Capsu78

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2015, 01:11:29 PM »
The wife got a call from an in house recruiter from a well known company for a position she is uniquely qualified for that happens to answer to the COO.  We would have loved to know what the comp plan involved, but a relo to the Left coast was non negotiable.  She currently travels globally, but our kids and grandkids are 10 minutes away... she politely declined as we have decided being a part of our adult kids lives is more valuable to us that being as close to executive row as she has ever been. Plus others we have known over our careers that made it to the rarified corporate air did not seem to be even marginally pleased they had made it. 
Still, we have learned to take every recuiters call because you just never know.

Bob W

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2015, 01:18:35 PM »
Silly,  just ask them what the salery and benifits are before you interview.  You wouldn't go look at a car without knowing the asking price.

James

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2015, 01:22:55 PM »
There is a lot of "it depends" in the right answer to your question. Some jobs might lead with the financial incentives, and some might hold it until the end of negotiations. Some employers might be offended by an employee looking around at other offers, some might see it as a "go-getter" they need to hold on to.

At the end of the day, I don't think looking outward at those issues is the biggest answer. The question is whether you believe you are compensated an appropriate amount for your current job. Sounds like you don't think so, or at least don't know, so go out and find out. Interviews in your town or similar towns seems like a good way to find out your value, grow your skill at interviews, see if there are jobs out there in case you need one, and even possibly find a job you should take. So I wouldn't go into this with a plan of just getting a number for use at your current job. I would take it seriously and try to find something you really want to have. You might have a pretty high bar, it might take more compensation than anyone will offer, but that is their problem, not yours. And if someone meets that high bar, then awesome! If not, then you just come away with experience and some numbers, and move forward with your current job.

So while I do think it is a bit rude to fake interview just to get a number, you have another better option of doing a real interview to find out if maybe that is really a job you would want. Even if the bar is set pretty high, I wouldn't consider that rude at all.

JLee

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2015, 02:01:53 PM »
There's an excellent thread with a similar topic here- I'd recommend reading it: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/software-engineer-seeks-feedback-on-asking-for-raise/

Terrestrial

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2015, 02:04:02 PM »

It has been my experience that both of those statements are generally incorrect.

I manage a fair group of people and managers and am in all of the management type meetings where we discuss employee retention. If you suck at your job, sure, you might get screwed by doing the above. But do you know what? If you're a highly rated employee (I don't know how your rating system works) or even a critical employee, we *always* give more perks, money etc. to people who have a risk of leaving than those who have not shown any.

As for loyalty, at least in tech, you will 99% get a better career salary if you switch jobs every 3-4 years than staying at one place. Why? Because when we hire new people it's at market rates, but the raises we give to even the strongest of performers is never more than a few % and many people get none at all.

Remember that the point of any business is to maximize profit. In the end they are going to pay you the minimum they think they can get away with. You should be have like a business as well, your goal is to maximize your revenue for services delivered.

Fair enough, I will fully agree that different industries handle these things differently.

All I can say is that in my line of work, more senior people normally don't move a ton and the only way most people get to a equity level stake is to work long enough at a place that they trust you enough to be comfortable letting you buy in and have voting shares.  Its pretty uncommon for anybody to get it quickly, it has to be a fairly unique circumstance.  The average tenure where I work before you start to be considered is ~8-10 years....a big chunk of the VP's and C-suite have been there for 15-20+ years and we are very much a 'promote from within' org.  So no, I don't think the only people who can screw themselves by shopping themselves out yearly are low performers.  I think in some cases, high performers who are generally being treated/compensated pretty well can damage their internal reputation and have setbacks in the trust level that's needed to move them into senior management/ownership.  Now that I have moved to that level, I understand why...do I personally want partners who have the power to change the direction of the business, but who seem like every year they're out interviewing hunting to move on, no not really. 

Again I acknowledge different industries/companies etc may have vastly different methods or ways to become 'successful'...just sharing a different viewpoint.

 As an aside, while I do understand moving can sometimes get you more $, it's not like I just get an email saying what my raise is every year and that's it and i have to sit there and take it.  Every year we sit down and negotiate, I always have a chance to lay out what I think my compensation should be and the reasons why. 

« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 02:10:57 PM by Terrestrial »

JLee

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2015, 02:13:16 PM »
I agree that this is hugely dependent on industry/company. I know several people who have left my employer for a massive (20%+) raise, more benefits, and lighter workload.  We also have a reputation for paying under market rate with minimal effort for employee retention, so there's also that. :P

kudy

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2015, 03:01:46 PM »
Thanks for all of the suggestions thus far. I think a lot of the trouble for me boils down to:
  • I am overly loyal
  • The market is small for my type of work, especially near me, so I feel I need to take what I can get
  • I am very aware of the financials of our business, and most excess money is being earmarked for growing/hiring new people
  • I enjoy the non-tangible benefits of a relaxed workplace, with a culture of work/life balance (I *rarely* need to work more than 40 hours/week)
  • I am terrible at negotiating (trying to practice!)

I would love for my boss to think that I might actually be looking around for something different, because that would add motivation and urgency to keeping me around: it might help spotlight how valuable I am. I can't think of a tactful way to actually make this clear, so I guess it's going to be an uncomfortable conversation during my review, "I'd love for you to reconsider my raise, because company X has recently offered me, $XX" - It's a bluff, unless I am actually willing to go for the new job, and I am not sure I can pull off this bluff!

My boss and I share a general disdain and uncomfortableness with office politics/salary games, but I guess that doesn't mean we don't have to play them. I've hinted in the past that it'd be awesome for us to switch to a transparent salary model, but that didn't get any traction.

There is some pressure from owners to maintain/increase profitability, and this is both my best piece of leverage, as well as my biggest hurdle. It's leverage, because I help tremendously with keeping us profitable, but it's a hurdle because the justification for why they can't pay more is likely going to be not enough profits.

In the end, I don't want to piss off my boss, but I do want to feel that I am getting paid fairly. I will pursue the interview, because it is one of a few *very* rare chances I've had to apply for job similar to mine within 50 miles; I can't help do it, just to learn what's out there. I know the potential employer has already read my cover letter and application (I can see them visiting my website today), so I expect they may call me Monday!

Sometimes I wish I were in corporate-land, where this political salary game is easier, more expected, and a regular part of the job.

mozar

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2015, 07:46:25 PM »
Don't bluff! That will definitely piss off your boss. If you can't get salary information from your interview are there trade journals with salary info or glassdoor? Then you can say you researched salaries and you are underpaid. Did you go to a school program for your field? Maybe they can set you up with alumni to talk about salaries?

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2015, 08:12:22 PM »
Thanks for all of the suggestions thus far. I think a lot of the trouble for me boils down to:
  • I am very aware of the financials of our business, and most excess money is being earmarked for growing/hiring new people

That is idiotic, and not an excuse, if they're not earmarking money to keep the existing people.  At best it's just plain inefficient and will kill the company.

I agree with the previous poster that said you don't have to go through the interview process to get at least a salary range.  You can save everyone's time by just saying 'I'm very interested in the position, but would just like to know what the salary range is, so I know we're on the same page before taking up too much of your time'.  Then based on how qualified you feel you are for the position, it's not to hard to estimate where you lie in that range.

In general I think you're right to do some reconnaissance.

AK

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2015, 04:51:02 PM »
Getting salary information, at least for me, doesn't seem to be too challenging. It's getting accurate numbers for my location and position that seem hard because of the wide variance in numbers.

Salary sources for me

  • online sites like glassdoor and salary.com
  • talk to a recruiting agency. Recruiters know the industry and will do everything they can to get the highest salary possible since that's what their commission is based upon.
  • other employees / mentors.
  • job descriptions on job boards like career builder, monster, etc.
  • interviewing at other companies

When asking for a raise, point out what else you're going to do make the company even more profitable. For example, can you learn other skills that will make you more productive? Can you teach others skills so everyone becomes more productive? Are there other revenue streams that aren't being considered? For example, at my company, we had integrated with a credit card processor and no one knew that we could get affiliate revenue until I brought that to managements attention. Now, we get monthly passive income for stuff we were doing already.

rmendpara

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2015, 06:04:18 PM »
I have a yearly review with my boss next month. I suspect that I might get a smaller raise than I am hoping for... I work for a small company, and the last 2 years I've heard, "we're young, we'll try to pay more soon." I make a decent salary, but if I hear the same thing this year, I think I am going to try and highlight why I am worth more; I think my salary might be below market rates. For a number of reasons, I think it might be hard to actually convince the boss to give me more than the standard raise, but I would be better equipped for the discussion if I had a salary number from a similar job to compare.

Earlier this evening, I sent my resume to a similar employer in a neighboring city with an open position a lot like mine. Assuming they contact me back, I am hoping to interview with them, and hopefully get a salary number from them. I am worried about wasting the time of the people interviewing me, and using them to get information. I *might* actually consider a job if they offered me one, but the salary would have to be quite a bit higher than mine to justify the soul crushing commute. Most likely, I wouldn't actually take a job if offered, and I think I will feel weird interviewing as if I am super interested.

Also, I don't have a lot of experience in job interviews, and I am curious if I can expect to get an idea of salary without actually being offered the job?

You should interview with the idea that they might be willing/able/need to give you a strong incentive to come over.

Some industries, it's normal to get a competing offer and bring to your boss to match. Others, it's not.

Generally, if you bring/know about a competing opportunity, you have to be willing to take it if your current employer says no to a raise/promotion.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2015, 07:20:52 PM »
Generally, if you bring/know about a competing opportunity, you have to be willing to take it if your current employer says no to a raise/promotion.

That's a good point.  It's ok to say you feel like you deserve $X because that's what the market rates are, but don't tell them you know that because you'd been interviewing or they may say 'well if you think the work environment and pay are worth it, you can take them up on it, but we are paying $Y for these reasons that we feel makes this company worth working for'.  If you stay after that you've just killed your negotiating powers.

Josiecat

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2015, 10:48:07 PM »
I use www.glassdoor.com to research salaries.

mxt0133

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2015, 02:40:08 AM »
  • talk to a recruiting agency. Recruiters know the industry and will do everything they can to get the highest salary possible since that's what their commission is based upon.

This is not necessarily true and most times the exact opposite.  Recruiting agencies are paid on filling a position and sometimes as a bonus they get to keep the difference in salary for the first year.  So their motivation is 1) getting the position filled based on the salary range that the employer is willing to pay and 2) finding a candidate the will take the position on the lower range of what the employer is willing to day.

If you think the recruiter is working for the candidate's best interests that is wrong, they work for the hiring employer that pays them.

chasesfish

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2015, 05:21:49 AM »
I would say it depends on your field and the size of your company and how similar your job is to others.  It sounds like you work for a small business and it may be worth exploring.

I work for a large company and my employees have very similar opportunities at other institutions.  Therefore, I must have a good idea what the market is for my employees.  If I don't understand that as a manager, I'm not doing my job.  In any discussion about salary, I am direct about pointing out our benefits relative to others in the market (higher 401k match, pension, lower heathcare cost, and bonus opportunity).   In our situation, we provide more in a benefits package and less in salary.  This is a fit for some, its not a fit for others.

There's some additional information your employer should provide:  If you're taking a discount, is there any upside?  The biggest advantage of working for a small business is flexibility around bonuses/profit sharing that a big company doesn't have.  Is there any future ownership opportunity?

If you aren't confident you'll see some of those advantages, I'd suggest considering alternatives. 

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2015, 05:30:31 AM »
If there's any chance at all that you'd take the job, it's not rude.

Be realistic - if your employer's financials required letting you go, they'd do it. You should have the same attitude towards your employer.

Lia-Aimee

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2015, 09:47:20 AM »
If your main motivation is to conduct salary research, a better use of your time would be to network with a) others doing your job for other companies in both your industry and other industries; b) people working in HR.  Approach it as you're just putting your feelers out to see what types of other opportunities abound, then if you've developed a rapport, ask them if they'd be comfortable if you told them your salary and they gave you their opinion on whether or not it's a fair rate.  I work in HR and an more than happy to oblige when asked this.

kudy

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Re: Rude to Interview for Jobs To Compare Salaries?
« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2015, 07:27:31 PM »
Phone interview today went okay - I am bad at interviewing, and I am sure it showed a bit. They are going to reach out to anyone they want to continue talking to next week.

I answered the "salary range" question, which I know people say to avoid - we'll see what happens!