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How One Company Views Salary and Compensation Negotiations

Posted by Bob Wheeler

salary is not compensationLast month ClearedJobs.Net polled recruiting professionals asking them to identify the areas of the hiring process that pose the most difficulty for cleared jobs seekers. Their top response: Salary expectations.

Making this such a tough issue for job seekers is the unique environment in which the government contracting world operates. Ultimately the salaries are set by the federal government more than the free market.

Even though we’re now four years into the budget restraints known as sequestration, it’s still having an impact. While not every contract is awarded on a Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) basis, all contract bids are still essentially an attempt to tell the government that said company can produce the most value in terms of a cost-to-services ratio.

So by the time all the contracting issues are worked out, recruiters and hiring managers are more often than not confined to a fairly tight pay band in terms of base salary. The rigidity of the system often makes salary requirements a “go/no-go” criteria for many cleared job seekers and recruiters.

Compensation, on the other hand, may be a very different story since that refers to salary and other benefits. Savvy job seekers will understand this difference and be prepared to address both issues with potential employers.

Lisa Turbyfill, Cleared SolutionsOne Company’s Approach to Compensation

To help us understand how some companies attack the issues of salaries and compensation we recently spoke with Lisa Turbyfill, lead recruiter with Cleared Solutions. She confirmed that compensation is a big part of her initial discussions with cleared job seekers. “Compensation is not my first question. But it’s always in my first conversation.” she said.

Lisa shared that her initial questions focus on their present situation so they are both on the same page. She asks them to describe how they developed their current salary number. “It’s not always as simple as just looking at last year’s W-2,” Lisa noted. “Some candidates include year-end bonuses in their number, while others don’t. Some include their health-care premiums or 401K contributions, while others may not.”

It’s important for Lisa to learn all she can about the job seeker, because doing so allows her to address their specific needs, which may or may not be financial. Some people may be looking for a shorter commute while others may want a family atmosphere. For others, the bottom line is take-home pay. Not all benefits are equal to every job seeker. Lisa explained it this way, “A gym membership is only important if you go to the gym.”

Cleared Solutions differentiates itself from others in the industry through a robust health-care package. “We cover 100% of our employees’ health insurance premiums which includes medical, dental, vision, short-term disability, and long-term disability. This could mean $8,000 for an individual or up to $35,000 for a large family,” Lisa said.

This translates into actual cash if the job seekers are coming from a previous position that required them to pay part of their premiums. If they were paying 50% of the premiums at their last job, this could mean an extra $4,000 to $17,500 annually in their net pay, even if the new job is technically paying the exact same salary.

Once a baseline definition of compensation is established for the discussion, Lisa asks the job seeker what level of actual salary they’re expecting. If the expected salary is within the allotted pay band, they’re on their way to future discussions.

Cleared SolutionsIf not, Lisa’s final step is to inquire about the “floor “of their needs. This way she can let the candidate know if Cleared Solutions has any other positions that meet the job seeker’s salary requirements. “Sometimes we just can’t meet their needs and that’s fine. It’s better for all parties to get that out of the way in the first conversations,” Lisa commented.

In the end, the entire process is about attracting the best candidates for Cleared Solutions.

Lisa explained, “I want to be at the top of their list. To get there I need to make them happy and that’s easier when I know where they’re coming from and what they need and want.” Good candidates are frequently considering multiple job offers and often times the hiring process involves extra forms and sometimes even resume re-writes before everything is sent on to the hiring manager. “If they’re excited about Cleared Solutions they’ll do my paperwork first,” she concluded.

The lesson here for job seekers is to not only know your value, but to also develop a solid understanding between the differences in salary and compensation. Appreciating these nuances enables the job seeker to ask and answer specific questions early in the process. That in turn leads to a smoother interaction and higher probability of landing a great cleared job with a top company.

Bob WheelerBob Wheeler is a ClearedJobs.Net Account Manager, a Navy veteran, a former recruiter and a certified veteran transition coach. You may reach Bob at [email protected]

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 6:08 pm

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