How to Determine Appropriate Compensation

November 6th, 2015

You’ve completed a resume review and several rounds of interviews, and you’re ready to reach out to your chosen candidate. You have a primary contender in mind, plus two back-ups if your first says no, and all three are likely to fit the position and serve the company well. Now that you’ve found your candidate (and runners up), it’s time for the next step: assembling your offer. You need to open the negotiation by presenting a number that’s high enough to close the deal, but not high enough to leave money on the table. Here are a few moves that can help you identify that number.

Conduct research first.

A quick trip to the internet (and your own in-house experts) will start you down the right path. This move is by no means conclusive; the internet may set an average compensation bar for a candidate with this amount of experience, but that doesn’t mean your job is done. Popular salary sites can do two things: they can present you with a wide ballpark estimate, and they can provide a sense of what your candidate knows and expects. (Both of you will surely visit the same sites.)

Recognize that the candidate and the company use different metrics to determine salary.

Your salary offer will be based on two primary factors: the rarity of candidate’s skill sets (her replaceability), and the monetary value she brings to the company. If her actions bring a flood of revenue, some of that revenue should be returned to her. And if her skills are hard to find, you’ll need to stretch to keep her on board. But recognize that her metrics are different than yours. Unlike you, she’ll also be factoring in the cost of her commute, her childcare needs, the other offers she’s fielding, her previous salary, and the amount she needs in order to live the life she wants.

Ask for previous salary figures, but don’t expect an answer.

Ideally, most employers would like to pay their candidate exactly what she made at her last job, plus one dollar more. This usually represents the minimum offer that can be placed on the table. Anything less and the candidate will simply walk away. Anything more may be unnecessary to landing a yes. But recognize that if you ask for this data point, the candidate is not obligated to respond. Most savvy candidates will offer a preferred range instead.

Pay more to get more.

Nickel-and-diming your candidate may look like a thrifty move on the surface, but the long term matters more than the immediate moment. Unhappy employees disengage and eventually leave. But if they’re paid well, unhappy employees often stay, struggle through the hard times, work to impress difficult bosses, and search hard to find value in the enterprise. Err on the side of retention, and make sure that your offer is generous enough to keep your new employee loyal when the going gets rough.

For more on how to crunch the numbers and arrive at a salary offer that bring your candidate on board—and keep her there — contact the staffing team at PSU.

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Preparing to Interview Administrative Candidates

August 21st, 2015

You’ve recently published an opening for an administrative professional and you’re starting to receive a steady flow of resumes in response. Now you’re ready to schedule some interviews and find a candidate who can handle the requirements of the job and represent your company and your personal brand to the world. You’ll need a problem solver, a positive person who’s pleasant to be around, and someone with the rapid multitasking ability and tech skills to quickly dispatch whatever challenges the day delivers. That’s what you need. But here’s what you have: a stack of nearly identical resumes and a lobby full of fresh faces that don’t reveal much about the minds and personalities behind them. Use these interview tips to sort through the haystack and find your perfect needle.

Skip the obvious single-answer questions.

Go through your list of questions and delete everything that can be answered with a single word (like yes or no) and every question that comes with a fairly obvious answer (like, “Are you a hard worker?”) These questions won’t help you at all. Instead of giving your candidates an easy pop-quiz, use the meeting to launch a conversation. Then read between the lines and use the conversation to make your decision.

Ask for stories.

Ask your candidates to tell you a story (or a series of stories) that will provide insight into their preparation for the job. For example: “Can you tell me about a time when you set a goal, gave it your all, and fell short? What happened and what did you learn from the experience?” You can also ask your candidates to review the past and tell you a story about a workplace conflict, a leadership challenge, a difficult deadline, or any other event that might tell you something about the person’s character and communication skills.

Explain the most unpleasant aspect of the job.

This can be a very telling moment in an administrative interview. If you have one especially nasty client, or a dirty chore, or a tedious responsibility that comes with this job title, describe it and ask the candidate what he thinks. How will he handle this odious task? If he answers with enthusiasm and doesn’t bat an eye, that’s a good sign.

Ask about the filing systems and scheduling tools she’s used in the past.

Listen to the sound of her voice as she answers. Is she comfortable learning to depend on new technology that she’s never seen before? Is she likely to pick up new tools and new methods quickly and without complaint? Will she thrive within the status quo? If so, she’s probably the perfect match for this position.

For more on how to identify and hire winning administrative candidates, reach out to the staffing team at PSU.

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