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questions about starting salary at megacorp
Old 08-01-2010, 07:25 PM   #1
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questions about starting salary at megacorp

I have some concerns regarding potenitally being hired onto megacorp. After searching the forums for as much information as I can mostly about salary negotiations, some questions I have remain unanswered. I would like to get as much feedback from anyone who might have information about megacorps, salary ranges, and how HR handles these things...especially for people early in their careers, and just starting with the company.


Here is the situation. I have applied/interviewed for 2 jobs within the same megacorp, and realistically, I have a very good chance at being offerred one of them. That being said, I have also heard a rumor from a pretty reliable resource that once I an offerred one job, I will automatically be eliminated from consideration for the other. The reason for this is so megacorp can protect itself from a new hire using both jobs as leverage to negotiate as high as possible. That seems realistic to me, but I thought Id ask about it. Does anyone have experience about this policy in a megacorp? Or are games being played with me already?


Here is another concern that I have. A rumor that I have heard (from multiple sources) is about starting salary. When I applied for this job it showed a defined range. MRV minimum, (Ill call it X.) To MRV maximum, (Ill call it Y.) This X to Y range is clearly shown on the job posting, and there are no asterisks saying anything further about it. So since the range is set by HR, I have always assummed that it is set in stone, and everyone falls into the range. The rumor is that the range is actually larger than what is shown, in that a 20% leeway is acceptable salaries on both ends, making the supposed salary range: X-20% to Y+20%. The reason for this Ive been told are the following. To encourage future wage increases to employees that are almost maxed out. (which is all well and good) But also to avoid any large salary increases to people just stating out in a career with megacorp. (which is bad...for me) Supposedly its just another way that Megacorp protects itself.


I am currently a contractor, and megacorp HR doesnt know my salary. I plan to keep it like that, but unfortunately, they can probably guess pretty accurately within 5 to 8 k. I am concerned that if I get a formal offer, it will be X minus a certain percentage. I dont want to go into how I am going to negotiate, or anything like that, but instead, what I am looking for is feedback from people who are in the know about megacorps, and how megacorp HR departents tend to handle these situations.


To me, it is false advertizing, and the classic bait and switch scam to offer a salary that is below the minimum shown in the job posting. Not only that, but if these shady practices are common, then whats to stop megacorp from falsely advertizing other things, like future raise ranges?


Depending on the salary I am offerred, if I get offerred and accept one of these positions, it will possibly result in an increase in taxable income. (definately in the future, but maybe not at first) However, it will also likely result in a significant decline in my savings rate because I will have to start paying for living expenses. As a contractor, Im pretty much exempt from that right now, which is nice, if you dont mind living in hotels. So it will probably result in the old adage of taking one step back, to (eventually) take 2 steps forward as far as the money in my pocket. From reading various posts about how megacorp gives out raises, I understand how vital it is to get hired in at a high of a rate as possible. I would like to get my foot in the door at Megacorp, but only because they offer a pension. Then again...they SAY they offer a pension, and a 70% on the dollar 401(k) match up to 6%, and other various benefits. I suppose I believe it, and looking forward to those things, but Im also concerned that Megacorp is being dishonest with me riht off the bat, and may find some other loopholes to “protect itself” throughout the course of my career, and especially when it comes my time to FIRE. Im just a little disappointed, wondering if Im trying to win a game that Im set up to lose?


Im not the type of person who likes to count my chickens, so I wouldnt have written this long of a post if I didnt think that I will be offerred a position. Im just trying gain as much knowledge about this stuff as possible. Thanks.


mill
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:12 PM   #2
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Mills, I;m no expert but I think you have the basics on Megacorp salary structure pretty much correct.

In generally their is a specific grade associated with a job say Grade 6 and within a grade a salary range of 20%. One is left unsaid is it is possible there is also a grade range that can be used to fill a specific job of say a grade 5 to a grade 7.

To use an obviously made up example
Grade 5 60,000 - 85,000
Grade 6 70,000- 95,000
Grade 7 80,000 - 110,00,

In general, HRs job within a Megacorp is to ensure that median salaries for a given grade fall right in the middle of the range. This means it is much easier to get a good raise if you are at the low end of your grade range than at the high end.

So in the example above lets say you are negotiating a salary between 80-85K. It is perfectly ok to ask HR what is the grade range for a job I think they will be happy to tell you. (More so than the salary range).

Let's say you end up at $82,500 now obviously they would want to bring you in at a grade 6 since you are exactly at the middle of the salary, but as a final negotiating request, if you can get hired at grade 7 that will help you a lot in the future, since HR will be under pressure to move your salary close to $95,000.


All this said, I suspect that in today's economy it sucks to try to negotiate with a MegaCorp.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:19 PM   #3
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I work for a very large company and as a rule of thumb, if a person interviews for more than one position and both areas want the person, they are offered both positions - same salary (assuming salary range/grade was the same). This is to prevent internal departments from getting into a bidding war. We don't, however, immediately eliminate the person from one position, based on who chooses first. Generally, HR will reach out to both managers and ask them to decide by a certain date.

As far as the salary range stuff goes, yes, I believe the posted salary range is generally a subset of the true range - but I have never heard of any offer being made for less than the minimum posted. On one occasion I believe I made an offer at the very high end, but that was only because the person was very experiences/highly qualified. Therefore, I think it might be possible they would offer below the minimum, if they liked a candidate, but he/she was very inexperienced.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:45 PM   #4
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Mill.....

You seem unusually concerned that MegaCorp has singled you out for a screwing....... That is, the tone of you post does not bode well for a positive relationship with your future employer. I'd think about that before I signed on. Why all the negative vibes? You have inside information that this is a lousy place to work? Or?

In regard to hiring salaries, I concur with clifp and KM. Jobs are given job descriptions and assigned to a grade. Each grade has a salary band. New hires are made offers that correspond to the job description and the applicant's qualifications and experience. A qualified applicant who is currently undercompensated may receive a higher percentage increase over their current salary than an applicant who is currently over compensated. But, generally, guidelines will be followed. Believe it or not, it is actually a huge pita for a manager to have an employee that is either over or under compensated vs. their assignment and peers. The under compensated person eats up precious budget dollars during the "review and raise" cycle and the over compensated person becomes soured when they receive a smaller raise to bring them into line with their equivalent peers. Therefore, generally, MegaCorp will try to offer you a salary in line with what incumbents are receiving and competitive enough that you will accept it.

You are correct that your starting salary is very important. If you start low, it may take years for management to do "catch ups" and bring you into line due to budget constraints.

You really need to understand what you are willing to work for and what the offer package is worth. If you need $60k + fully paid hospitalization + 3 wks vacation + 4% 401k match + DBP + whatever, then understand the tradeoffs, know what other firms are offering/paying and be prepared to know whether you are getting a good or bad deal vs. your current job or your next best alternative. In the end, only you can decide that.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:56 PM   #5
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youbet made some good points. In my experience, contractors generally expect a much higher salary than they get offered - because they are basing their expectations on "what they make".

But they neglect to factor in paid vacations, benefits, 401K, pension (if it exists), social security and unemployment taxes, miscellaneous other company benefits.....and the guarantee of a paycheck every week.

Not sure what kind of contractor OP is and how much of the above is included in his current pay - but many contractors pay this out of their own pocket. When you do - you can't compare "salaries".
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:25 PM   #6
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If you are looking for a great deal from megacorp when there is 10% official unemployment, and tens of thousands of returning troops who know how to march...

If you are coming to my megacorp, then you'll get the median wage or lower. Also, there are 2% increases to keep you at or below the median. I accepted the same as my contractor wage because frankly, they do not negotiate anything. You are a commodity.

However, here's some benefits: tuition reimbursement, flex time, nobody works hard. What a great way to coast into retirement, 401, etc. However, you are young, and I expect you'll be disappointed unless you're management material. I never traveled and stayed in rooms as a contractor, as an employee now I've been to a few nice places, and so may you.

Good luck, and all the best.
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:34 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the responses so far. I will definately be asking about salary grade if I am offerred anything. And yeah, I cant help but feel singled out as an easy target for a screwing due to inexperience/no money in the hiring budget/poor economy...you name it.

Obviously I dont know what theyre going to offer if anything. But but Im really looking for is what everyone thinks about being offerred the position at a starting salary lower than the minimum? I really dont want something like this to affect my relationship with megacorp, but I honestly cant help but feel like a victim of false advertizement, and even a sucker if I would accept something like that. I really do need an attitude adjustment, but Im just trying to look out for myself here.

So what would you do if that happenned to you? You interviewed and were offerred a job with a X to Y salary range, but HR said due to whatever unfortunate circumstances there you are, we can only start you at X minus a percentage? Would that be a deal breaker, or would you focus more on what youre actually getting as opposed to what the range for the job is?

I hate to admit this, but personally I think (if it happens) it will leave me feeling bitter, and Ill have a hard time focusing on the positives, and being a good employee. I know that megacorp is going to be more beneficial financially for me in the future, so Id be a fool not to accept. (assuming I can eventually collect the pension) Then again, if something as stupid as this would cause me to lose sleep, I may be better to decline any offer lower than X.

(The thing that keeps me focused is the pension, which by the way, the pension seems very good, but I know next to nothing about pensions...its provided by megacorp, fully vested after 5 years, can start distributions at 55 as long as I have 10 years at the company. Otherwise pension starts paying at 65 with a 2 or 3% decrease for every year you take it before 65. Pension is 1.5% x years of benefit service x eligable final average pay.)
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:15 AM   #8
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I tried to post this earlier.... but Firefox crashed... went away and came back... so have not read others posts...



At the mega I worked.... the range was not something that was for a new hire... using the example given above.... if you were being hired for a level 5.... you would be lucky to get much over the $60,000.... the range is so they can give you a raise if you happen to stay at 5... and there were some who were there 20+ years later.... they were at the high end...


As for the +/- 20%.... that was acceptable if the ranges changed.... at one time I was in the minus of my range... brought it up to HR and they put me on a plan to get me to X... took over a year....

As for two jobs... that is based on each mega.... when I got out of school.... it was not an issue.... I was offered two jobs at the same firm.... the second paid me more... it was the one I wanted... (not much more... just about $1200... but that was a LONG time ago).....


The benefits of being an employee as a contractor also includes being let go.... it is EASY to get rid of contractors... I got rid of one in the middle of the day.... now, I did pay him for the full day, but he got nothing else... it is an easy cut when the powers on high tell you to cut your budget... an employee takes time and effort... heck, I saw a number just hanging around because it was to hard to get rid of them.... at a mega... HR gets involved etc... (did you counsel him... did his annual review have comments etc. etc... it can take a year or more)....
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:27 AM   #9
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OK... caught up... and have another story to tell...

Many moons ago... I wanted to get into a job... but was told that it was hard to get into this kind of position from outside the company.... so I got a job somewhere else... and then waited for a position to open up where I wanted... this was back in the 80s...

So, after a couple of years... a position opens up.... I apply for the job.. and I will use letters like you did.... I was making 'M'... I was in a position to know that the person who left made 1.5xM... but, there was a freeze on budgets... zip, nada, nothing to give for raises... the job offer came to me... at .8M... SAY WHAT Are you kidding me... I might not get 1.5x, but at least 1.2x as it was a front line job and I was very qualified for it... but the boss wanted to be able to give people raises and thought 'why not do it off the new guy'.... I declined the offer...

IF YOU THINK YOU ARE BEING SCREWED... DECLINE THE OFFER... you probably are... and it will not get any better no matter how long you work there...

Also, if the offer comes below minimum... ask HR about it.... they deal with this all the time, so they don't have emotion in the game...


But I also would find out IF you are looking at the latest pay grades They might have gone down with the crisis.... I had heard that my brother got a 20% reduction in pay where he worked... but took a package... so it was across the board reduction to get salaries in line... (I also learned he got hired back in at his original salary in a different job.... so he did not get the scr#w)....
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mill View Post
Im really looking for is what everyone thinks about being offerred the position at a starting salary lower than the minimum
This is a little confusing to me Mill because at the MegaCorp where I toiled for many years, this wouldn't be allowed.

Say you're applying for an Electrical Engineering I job. That would have been grade 7 with a salary band of about $50k to $70k. As a hiring manager, I could NOT offer you less than the $50k minimum. I could offer you a position as Electrical Engineer II, grade 6, which carried a salary band of $40k to $60k and of course had lower qualification requirements and less sophisticated performance expectations.

Is your worry that, looking at my example above, they are going to offer you the Electrical Engineering I job, grade 7, but at a salary offer below the band minimum of $50k? Or, that they are going to offer you the job at the Electrical Engineering II, grade 6 level, and you think it should be the grade 7?

One other clarification...... Are you a contractor at the MegaCorp where you are expecting the job offers? If you are contracting at the same MegaCorp, did you apply through an internal job posting?

If you're offered the job at a starting salary below the grade salary band, which I couldn't have done at my MegaCorp, it isn't all bad. I'd generally interpret that as meaning they expect you to do well and receive significant raises to bring you into the band fairly quickly. Otherwise, their compensation system isn't functioning.

If you're offered the job at a lower grade than you're expecting but at a salary within the lower grade's salary band, then you have the issue that you think the job qualifications and duties are higher than MegaCorp does. That's a problem.......

Why are you predicting that the offer will come in lower than the bottom of the salary band of the job you applied for?

Regardless of what the salary band is, do you have a number in mind that you would accept? Are you content to stay where you are? Do you have other prospects? Do you think you're holding a strong hand in these negotiations..... you did mention that you're expecting 2 different offers from MegaCorp.....which would seem to indicate you have something they want.
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Old 08-02-2010, 03:19 AM   #11
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Texasproud, thanks for the comments.


Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
This is a little confusing to me Mill because at the MegaCorp where I toiled for many years, this wouldn't be allowed.

Say you're applying for an Electrical Engineering I job. That would have been grade 7 with a salary band of about $50k to $70k. As a hiring manager, I could NOT offer you less than the $50k minimum. I could offer you a position as Electrical Engineer II, grade 6, which carried a salary band of $40k to $60k and of course had lower qualification requirements and less sophisticated performance expectations.

Is your worry that, looking at my example above, they are going to offer you the Electrical Engineering I job, grade 7, but at a salary offer below the band minimum of $50k? Or, that they are going to offer you the job at the Electrical Engineering II, grade 6 level, and you think it should be the grade 7?

One other clarification...... Are you a contractor at the MegaCorp where you are expecting the job offers? If you are contracting at the same MegaCorp, did you apply through an internal job posting?

If you're offered the job at a starting salary below the grade salary band, which I couldn't have done at my MegaCorp, it isn't all bad. I'd generally interpret that as meaning they expect you to do well and receive significant raises to bring you into the band fairly quickly. Otherwise, their compensation system isn't functioning.

If you're offered the job at a lower grade than you're expecting but at a salary within the lower grade's salary band, then you have the issue that you think the job qualifications and duties are higher than MegaCorp does. That's a problem.......

Why are you predicting that the offer will come in lower than the bottom of the salary band of the job you applied for?

Regardless of what the salary band is, do you have a number in mind that you would accept? Are you content to stay where you are? Do you have other prospects? Do you think you're holding a strong hand in these negotiations..... you did mention that you're expecting 2 different offers from MegaCorp.....which would seem to indicate you have something they want.
Youbet, I also appreciate your input. Short answer to your questions...Im not holding much in my hand as far as negotiations. I have 4 years experience in the industry, and 2 years as a contractor for this megacorp. But Ive done a good job, and Id like to give the author credit for this post, but I forget who it was. (definately someone on the boards.)

quote In your favor, you're a known quantity -- they wouldn't be offering you a job if you hadn't done well by them as a consultant.* So they ought to put you at the higher end of the scale right there, since you're not much of a risk. quote

Thank you, I will definately be using that for negotiations.


I know nothing about grades. I dont even know if there are grades, but really, I just want a "fair" salary.

I applied through an external posting.

Im predicting that the offer will come in lower than the minimum because of this: The job was posted internal and external. So all people in the department have seen the posting and salary range, and some have already made comments (to hiring manager, and to myself) that it is too high. Pisses me off. To the point that people within our group think that its unfair to start a noob "that high". Dontcha love office politics? I dont know, maybe they just raised the salary range recently? Anyway, when talking "off the record" with the hiring manager about salary expectations, that is when I learned about the 20% rule. Hiring manager also made a comment that the minimum X is going to be a tough sell to HR. I basically responded with..."well we'll see what happens."

Do I have a number in mind that I will accept? Um, hard to say. The jobs I applied for pay differently. Fairly significantly differently. If I get offerred the job Ive been doing as a contractor, (as a fill-in because the guy retired, and they needed a replacement right away...due to hiring freeze) that one pays lower. So if I accepted the minimum X for that job it would be a pretty big step back due to reasons I mentioned in the first post, having my out of pocket expenses increased. If I get offerred the other job, which pays more, but Im less experienced in, accepting the minimum would be fine, but again, slap in the face to accept anything less than the minimum of the range X in either job. Might make me bitter in thinking that Im being taken advantage of.

Am I content to stay where I am? Yes, but Ive been waiting for this opportunity. My current company (after realizing that Im an asset) treats me pretty well. I get vacation whenever I want it (2 weeks paid) but I usually take about 7 weeks (5 unpaid) with free travel "home". And Im finally at an hourly salary that I feel is fair after starting out at the minimum. I could stay where Im at, but (hopefully I am wrong) megacorp management might feel disrespected if I decline. They may not extend my contract (because they would hire someone else to do this job and the onther one) and I would have to be contracted somewhere else (with a different megecorp) after my current contract expires in November. I think that this is doubtful that this would happen, since this business and not personal, but being a contractor as TP mentioned, you never have great job security to start with.

That being said, the "safe" move is to hire on with megacorp no matter what Im offerred. At my current job, I felt like I was taken advantage of until my most recent raise, but now Im ok with it. So I guess eventually things will work themselves out, and Ill be content. But it just seems like megacorp sees a great opportunity to save a buck. And with my focus on FIRE and LBYM, again the whole point of this thread is to minimize my chances of being taken advantage of again.

There are just so many untangibles which will eventually help me make up my mind, but I Hate Hate Hate people messing with my money, and if I feel like I could be doing better salary wise (regardless of intangibles and future potential) I will spend an inordinate amount of time being disgruntled/upset/feeling cheated.

I know, I know. Attitude adjustment.

Pension.

LBYM.

FIRE.
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:18 AM   #12
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Does your industry have an organization that does salary surveys? In the game industry our trade magazine does them every year which is useful for knowing some numbers for purposes of gauging offers.

There are also some websites that gather data across any industry, depending on how widespread yours is they may be useful, I think payscale.com and salary.com are two...
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:10 AM   #13
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I do believe that MegaCorp is not out to get you... I am not sure what to make of this:

Quote:
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....Im predicting that the offer will come in lower than the minimum because of this: The job was posted internal and external. So all people in the department have seen the posting and salary range, and some have already made comments (to hiring manager, and to myself) that it is too high. Pisses me off. To the point that people within our group think that its unfair to start a noob "that high". Dontcha love office politics? I dont know, maybe they just raised the salary range recently? Anyway, when talking "off the record" with the hiring manager about salary expectations, that is when I learned about the 20% rule. Hiring manager also made a comment that the minimum X is going to be a tough sell to HR. I basically responded with..."well we'll see what happens."...
Is the job function listed within the external posting? If you get an offer it will be for a specific job function/grade and that will come with a specific salary range - you cannot get paid less than the bottom of the range for the job function you are performing - hiring manager has no control over that! Now, if you do not like the range, you can either move on onto the next job or try to convince them to bump you up into the next grade. Do you meet minimum advertised job requirements/qualifications?

Perhaps the hiring manager is planning to tailor the position based on the actual applicant. In this case, he/she may try to hire someone for the lower band job function. This may be the case when he/she likes you and thinks you may grow into the position, but currently lack qualifications for the advertised position. Perhaps that is his/her plan for you and your expectations are being framed for you.

Than again, it may be the case that the hiring manager (is an idiot and) has no clue what the ranges are for a specific job function and has advertised an incorrect range for a given job function/grade. Yeah, HR will be a stumbling block in this case.

One final comment, tread lightly, if your hiring manager thinks that a minimum amount will be a "tough sell for the HR" where the @#$L did the range come from
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:22 AM   #14
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I see a lot of speculation and rumour, but not much in the way of facts. I suggest you put that all out of your head and if you are offered the job, make it clear what your desired salary range is. Be flexible and consider how other benefits (vacation, moving allowance, etc) stack up in your own priorities.

"The Interview Kit" by Richard H. Beatty has some good negotiating tactics.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:34 AM   #15
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i've found that basing a "fair" salary on what my peers make is a poor strategy. basing it on what i feel i am worth and specific examples gets me much more money.

as someone who does college recruiting and interviews for my megacorp, those who base their worth relative to others are not as strong as those who can cite specific examples/experiences of why they are worth more. of course, you are always subject to HR bs. ymmv...

and as another person already said, beggars can't be choosers.
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:07 AM   #16
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I can honestly say that, sometimes, getting your foot in the door - even if that means a pay cut - can pay in the long term.

DW took a pay - and title- cut in 2005 when she moved from a tiny biotech to Megacorp. She agreed to the cuts because she saw great potential for advancement at Megacorp. During the first couple of years, her income remained lower than it was at the biotech. But after proving her worth, her compensation started to rise quickly. I think that, in her case, taking the pay cut was a gamble that paid off handsomely. If we had been shortsighted and turned the job down, we would probably not be FI right now.
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:26 AM   #17
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I'm currently at a megacorp hired in the last two years. Here both positions would be offered, but it would be in a coordinated manner through HR, not individual departments.

One thing I would like to add to the other posts is that the salary range and level of wiggle room depends on the level of the position. Staff/senior staff level positions will tend to be within the quoted range. Supervisor positions at my company are dependent on the particular need - some are in high demand and are traditionally hard to fill while others are easy to fill - ability to get a higher salary would depend on where you fall. If it is a management position I would personally like to see negotiations for higher salary (and may even post a range lower that I think possible to attract talent to encourage it) in someone I want to hire because negotiation skill in one form or another is part of management.

In the last couple years salary movement has been more difficult because of the weak job market, but usually you can get easy movement on other benefits - additional weeks of vacation, immediate accrual of vacation, etc.

Also, you will almost never have as much leverage as you do now so use it to the best of your ability. Once you are in you will probably need a promotion or a serious threat of leaving for another employer to get a big bump.

Good luck with the positions.
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:05 AM   #18
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Interesting problem, Mill. Some fundamental questions:

Do you like this company? Is it well-respected in its industry? Would you be proud to be associated with them?

Does the company provide you with opportunities to expand your skills? (forget the pension plan for now -- advanced skills are marketable!)

What everyone else makes really isn't a concern to you, or rather it should be of no concern. You want to be paid what you are worth (as someone else said), and you want to work in a firm where you can expand your skills and gain additional experience. Sometimes, you need to give up $ to get the opportunities you think the company can offer you over time.

Bottom-line: this opportunity should be one where you trade your knowledge, skills, and abilities for a compensation package. In addition, you get work in a firm where you can expand on your knowledge, skills, and abilities, hopefully, for future work with the firm on a long-term basis.

This is a mouthful. Ponder it. You want a career, not a job. Careers are composed of assignments where you gain experience and get more authority as time goes by. You want a job where you work for money and for experiences.

-- Rita
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:16 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
I see a lot of speculation and rumour, but not much in the way of facts. I suggest you put that all out of your head and if you are offered the job, make it clear what your desired salary range is. Be flexible and consider how other benefits (vacation, moving allowance, etc) stack up in your own priorities.

"The Interview Kit" by Richard H. Beatty has some good negotiating tactics.
I agree about waiting to see what the actual offer is. If it really isn't something that you can live with, than I probably wouldn't take it. Don't forget intangibles like getting your foot in the door which could lead to larger wages down the line. Nevertheless, if you really are unhappy with the offer and they won't budge on the terms, I would walk. I might even be looking at what your current company might provide you as an incentive to stay, if anything.

How secure is your contracting job and is work readily available? It sounds like getting up and moving would be easy for you, since you primarily live in hotels. This might make the job security aspects of being a permanent employee less appealing, so you might not want a job which promises job security but lower pay.

It seems like the best thing which megacorp would offer you are benefits. I would be asking myself how much those benefits are worth to me. How much is a pension, medical and dental insurance, tuition reimbursement, better 401(k) plan (usually large corporations have lower cost plans than small companies, but you would need to check that), any sort of paid for by the company insurance such as disability insurance, etc. If I understand correctly, your current position as a contractor pays more when you combine per diem and hourly wage than the new position with megacorp likely will. So, how much are those benefits worth to you in exchange for potentially lower pay. Do you have health insurance now? If no, a health problem could quickly eat into your extra earnings. If you do have health insurance, how do the premiums stack up against megacorp? What is the catastrophic limit on each?

IMHO, you may be thinking too much about the pay and disregarding other important aspects of personal financial planning such as insurance. If I am wrong, I apologize in advance.
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:47 PM   #20
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My suggestion is to ask questions in the interview which give you some idea as to how the whole company operates, and how some of the organizations interact.

Examples- why is the current position open?
if person moved on, did they get promoted with own department, or move on within another organization (parallel move).
if its a new position, how much revenue or sales are they expecting from a new hire. Even if this is a software company and you are interviewing as a developer (non revenue based position), there is a reason they have an open head count (new project, new prospects, new something).

Ask to know that information.


Then ask about the position and the job titles within the organization. My company used 3 titles.

Applied Analyst
Advanced Applied Analyst
Senior Applied Analyst

or Applications Engineer
Advanced Applications Engineer
Senior Applications Enginner

we used to have a 4th- Staff Technologist- more on that later.


We also had salary bands- there were 6 bands, and they were very wide.


Band 1- hourly people probably up to $15/hr
Band 2- entry level (the applied analyst and applications engineer would be listed here)
Band 3- the advanced and senior and staff technologists would be listed here
Band 4- this is entry level management
Band 5- this is for director level
Band 6- this is for executive level


The band salaries overlap.
Band 3 was guaranteed 3 weeks vacation (when new hires got only 2)
Band 5 and 6 had stock options as part of compensation

Examples of band (when I was hired in 1997)

Band 1 hourly
Band 2 $20k-50k
Band 3 40k-$160k
Band 4 80k-??
Band 5 ??
Band 6 ??

There is overlap between the bands in all cases.

The staff technologist was a key ingredient to the corporate culture- if an organization had someone which was just really a genius and needed to be promoted, they could be a staff tech and that meant they were a manager level without any direct reports. I knew 3-4 of these people in 3 different departments, and they were always the BEST of the best. They did pet projects in addition to normal functions, and researched other ways to add technology to the various software modules or functions their organizations needed.

Examples of staff tech roles- in 1998 there was a migration from Unix to Windows servers- these people would do various tests to make sure our code worked on windows and simplify how it worked (like removing exceed or similar). When licensing on windows did not work, they worked around it- all this was happening and my PC was an indigo 2 SGI box (so the rest of us were unix) and part of what the staff techs did was make sure each department was ready to accept windows "at the same time".

Most staff techs had to put in 60 hour weeks to get the various pet projects done- it was a privilege to have that title, it was not handed out often.

So you need to ask about job titles in an interview- find out

a) who manages organization
b) who supervises the people and how are they divided up (by function, by region, another way?)
c) what job roles and titles exist within organization
d) what levels exist within each title? Entry level-advanced-senior type questions

also set your promotion expectation-
ask a follow up question like
who is the youngest senior XXXX job title, and how many years did they work before they were given the promotion?

also set a managerial style question-
my current organization writes training material. We have two types of people working here- either writers who were literature or liberal arts majors in college, or engineers, programmers and technical types like myself. Both backgrounds are given the same job functions and job titles- ask questions about this.

"What is the background of the people which work for the hiring supervisor?"
Look for common education trends, experience trends, or technical interest trends.


You need to check on organizations ability to advance its people.


I would choose a job based on following criteria

1) do you trust the manager
2) do you like the job (functions)
3) the pay

if you have 1 and 2 and prove yourself, the money will follow.
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