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Benefits and Compensation

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During the interview process you will be presented with a massive amount of information including information regarding benefits and compensation. The interviewer will also discuss the position you are applying for including the responsibilities, duties, and what is going to be expected of you should you be hired. Then, at some point during the interview the topic of benefits and compensation is going to be brought up.

For many, this topic makes them uneasy. Many feel that issues of salaries and any form of compensation is not one to be talked about openly. However, it is a topic that needs to be discussed before you even accept the position.      

Weigh the Benefits

Before the day of the interview sit down and think about what type of benefits and compensation you would like to receive from the company. You may need to do some research in this area if you are unfamiliar with what type of benefits the position you are applying for is usually entitled to.  

The most common forms of benefits and compensation are:
  • Vacation time
  • Sick days
  • Health insurance
  • Holidays
Depending upon the employer you may even receive benefits and compensation packages that includes paid vacations and company sponsored health care. Keep in mind, however, that not all companies are going to offer such benefits. As you prepare for the interview you will want to weigh the value of such benefits and determine if you are willing to accept a lower starting salary in exchange for extra compensation. Even if you do not immediately see the value of paid sick days you will should you ever have to take advantage of such benefits.

On the other hand, if the company does not offer health insurance you may want to consider asking for a higher starting wage for your employee compensation. This way you will be able to afford private health care since you will not be able to depend on the company for coverage.

Before you walk into the interview come up with two different salary ranges. The first salary range should be determined assuming that you will receive compensation such as vacation time, health insurance, and other such benefits. The second salary range which will be slightly higher assumes that you will not receive any benefits.  

How to Talk about Employee Benefits Compensation

Breaching the topic about compensation is not something to be taken lightly. It is a delicate topic that should be approached with tact. You certainly do not want the first question you ask to be about money and perks.

The interviewer will usually talk about compensation during the interview once other topics such as responsibilities and expectations are reviewed. Make sure you pay special attention to this discussion. Usually you will be given the opportunity to ask any questions you may have before the interview comes to an end. This is the time to negotiate for benefits. However, you do not want your first question to be about compensations, wages, or benefits. You do not want to appear greedy and selfish. Instead, ask a question concerning another aspect of the position or company.

After you asked one or two questions not related to salary or compensations then you can inquire about specific aspects of the benefits offered. Ideally, you will want the interviewer to offer the initial starting salary then you will be able to determine what you feel would be fair given the compensation offered.

Remember, if the company does not offer health insurance you will need to purchase it on your own which is money out of your pocket. To offset that you should ask for a higher starting salary. Just make sure that what you ask for is realistic.  

A Final Word

Discussing wages and benefits should be approached carefully. You do not want to appear greedy in the eyes of the interviewer. Be realistic about what you ask for and do not be offended by the benefits and compensation that is offered especially if you are new the field or career path.  

Additional Resources:

Compensation and Benefits Review - Source:

Definition Compensation Benefits - Source:  

Source: The editors of McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Big Book of Jobs, 2009-2010,© 2009 by the McGraw-Hill Companies. “Adapted” with permission of the publisher. This article may not be reproduced in any form without permission of the publisher.
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