The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

December 20, 2011

Assessing and Asserting Your Market Value

Assessing and asserting your monetary value in the marketplace is a crucial component of any job search. In addition to the role itself and your cultural fit within the organization, compensation must be considered. Ignoring any one of these elements can lead to job dissatisfaction and impede long-term career growth. In particular, failing to formulate realistic compensation targets can significantly limit your ability to effectively negotiate salary and stay competitive in the market. Professionals must establish and defend practical compensation goals in their search for new job opportunities.

In order to accelerate the job search process, a candidate must have a strong understanding of his or her market value. There are many ways to estimate this, including both external research and personal evaluation. First, professionals should frequently examine postings of local jobs for which they qualify. In many cases, job descriptions include the salary ranges being offered, which provide concrete expectations for candidates. Professionals can also utilize online analytical tools that generate approximate ranges, such as Payscale.com, which considers one’s job title, responsibilities, years of experience and professional certifications in determining estimated salaries. Candidates should also consider factors that can possibly decrease their market value, such as extended periods of unemployment. “Employers typically make the assumption that a candidate has a greater motivation to take a job (even at a lower salary) if they don’t currently have a job,” >explains Phil Rosenberg of ReCareered.

After determining one’s individual market value, a candidate can apply his or her findings to the job search process. Since salary ranges are typically cited in job postings, candidates can exclude positions that fall short of their targets. Yet despite the advantage of knowing the approximate salary range being offered for a role in advance, the exact compensation cannot be ascertained until after the interview process is completed. In the event that the hiring manager’s offer falls below the candidate’s salary standard, the candidate may request that his or her market value be taken into consideration. Such negotiations must be pursued carefully and respectfully, however; asking for an unreasonable increase might destroy the offer altogether. Requesting an increase that is in line with what the market is paying, with supporting evidence of one’s value, is a rational approach. Candidates should always find out as much as possible about the opportunities for advancement and ancillary benefits before flatly rejecting any offer.

In many cases, employers are simply unable to fulfill a candidate’s compensation expectations. Final offers are often impacted by economic conditions and budgetary constraints within the organization, rather than the belief that the candidate is undeserving of a certain salary.  Assessing and asserting one’s market value is certainly important, but, ultimately, many candidates will miss their marks. The remaining challenge for professionals, then, is to strike a balance between desired compensation and what a hiring manager is prepared to offer.

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