VOL. 129 | NO. 134 | Friday, July 11, 2014
Leveling the Playing Field
By Angela Copeland
One of the biggest struggles many job seekers face is gathering enough information. It’s important to understand how much a company pays, if the environment is healthy, and how the interview process works.
In the past, the only way to learn this was to talk to friends and family. Stories were anecdotal and typically based on one person’s experience. The growth of the Internet over the past 20 years has not only changed this process but has empowered the job seeker.
Employment statistics tell us every day that various demographic factors can influence how much we make over our lifetime. For example, women are reported to make 77 cents per dollar as compared to men, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Similar statistics are available for other groups. The Journal of Applied Psychology even found that when it comes to height, for every inch above average you are, you may make $789 more per year. These small differences can really add up over the course of our careers.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Scott Dobroski, Career Trends Analyst at Glassdoor.com. During our discussion, one point was crystal clear: The Internet provides the opportunity to level the playing field. No longer do you have to know someone to get the inside scoop. Websites make average salary data available to anyone for free. You can also research employee satisfaction and common interview questions.
This process is similar to how you might research a hotel you were interested to stay at over a long weekend. You put a lot of time planning a trip that may only last a few days. Why not put at least this much time into researching your next employer? You will spend much more time at work than you will on vacation.
When looking for a job, you can often find the fair market value for a specific position in one city at a certain company. That’s power. When it’s time to negotiate, you will know whether or not what you’ve been offered is fair. If the offer should be higher, you’ll be armed with specific information about what the opportunity is worth.
This is especially helpful if you’re switching industries or job functions. For example, if you move from nonprofit to for-profit, the pay scale changes. If you transition from being an individual contributor to being a manager, the pay also changes. In the past, you would have known there were differences, but you wouldn’t have had the inside scoop on the specifics.
They key however is to take the time to do your research. Don’t overlook this step. Check out a handful of companies on multiple sites to gather data points. Look up your perspective employer, along with their competitors.
At the end of the day, this research will be very valuable to you. It can help you to increase your starting salary. In fact, it may help you to level your very own playing field.
Angela Copeland is CEO/founder of Copeland Coaching, CopelandCoaching.com, and author of “Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job.” You can follow Copeland Coaching on Twitter (@CopelandCoach) and Facebook (facebook.com/CopelandCoaching).