Evaluating Compensation

Kirby Bates Associates advises its candidates to understand that there are basic steps you can take that will help you get the most out of your career now, and down the road.

Evaluating Benefits Packages

Most organizations offer basic benefit packages, which may include everything from health insurance to dental and vision coverage. Be sure you find out when you will be eligible for coverage and whether preexisting conditions are excluded. Don’t forget to ask about family coverage, how much it will cost, and for a list of physicians to ensure that your doctors are in the plan. A good benefits package can make a job offer far more appealing as it may substantially enhance the overall compensation package. Many companies have taken steps to make their benefits packages more attractive to potential employees. They are offering things like education assistance, flexible work hours, discount health club memberships, and transportation allowances. More innovative companies offer benefits from concierge services to signing bonuses, stock options and personal shoppers.

Salary Negotiation

Before you start negotiating your salary there are three things you need to do, including: Do your research to find out the salary range paid by employers for someone with your background, experience and talent. Determine how much you are worth in today’s job market. Match your skills and experience to the market’s salary range and assess where you fit in the range based upon your perception of your credentials. You can find salary information at your local library or in bookstores, which have books on salaries according to industry, occupation, type of employer and geographic regions. One common source is the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Federal Government and available online at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ . Your local library can provide you with names of professional associations for people in your field. Call these associations and ask for salary survey data which contains salary information for senior nurse executives. Additional salary resources for the nursing field include Salary.com’s salary wizard for nursing careers, and the American Association of Nurse Executives’ 2003 Senior Nursing Officer Survey, which contains salary information for senior nurse executives. Networking is another way that you can determine your salary range. Contact a number of colleagues working within your field and ask them for their opinion concerning salary levels typically paid for a person with your credentials. The local newspaper is another good resource. Monitor the job listings to see if employers have posted salaries for positions in your field.

A Few Do’s and Don’ts of Salary Negotiations

Obtain a realistic assessment of your worth. (See previous section.) Put off salary discussions until you have a better feeling about the employer’s interest in you. If you must address salary issues, ask what the range is, so you know the boundaries. Get as many offers as you can at one time. This will give you even greater leveraging ability. It’s okay to let prospective employers know that you have other offers, but it’s not advisable to reveal the actual offers. Don’t lie or exaggerate other offers or past salaries. It’s too easy to get caught in today’s information age. Know your minimum and be prepared to turn down an offer below it. Leave the door open to a counter offer (remember to be courteous), but be firm. As mentioned earlier, don’t discount the value of benefits and perks.