‘What is your salary expectation?’ is one of the very common questions asked in an interview. As a candidate, your interview preparations should include determining the salary slab you are looking for. Hence, when you are asked your salary expectation, you tell them a figure that you think you deserve for your human capital. On the other hand, a company cannot randomly offer you a pay you ask for. Every organization works on a payroll budget. Therefore, it is important for them to find out the market price for similar positions and what they can offer you, keeping your expectations and their budget in mind. This process of identifying the price slab of a particular job position is called salary benchmarking.

While surveying salaries of similar jobs it is important to keep in mind that the contents of the position should be compared and not the job title. For example, the job of an accountant and a bookkeeper may look similar, but their responsibilities are not the same. Therefore, their salary structure is also ought to be different. Another example would be, in small organizations it is often seen that people are hired for dual job roles, like office manager and HR manager responsibilities. For such cases it is absolutely necessary to analyze the job responsibilities before deciding the salaries. The mantra behind salary benchmarking is “price spaces, not faces”.

It is necessary for a company to obtain survey data for similar organizations, to make sure that a company’s resources are best used. There are several institutions that specialize in salary analysis and are capable of providing data that can be of great help in determining employee salaries.

Salary benchmarking tips:

  • Choose an appropriate survey that suits the job position in concern. For example, right organization size, right location, right job, etc.
  • It is a good idea to be general. The job descriptors like the ones found in salary.com and compensation surveys are not designed to be comprehensive descriptions. They are general information that closely describes the important responsibilities of a specific position, instead of its application in a particular organization.
  • Make sure to choose a descriptor which is not based on job title but on the content.
  • Make sure to compare closely as the job description should match at least 70 percent to be able to set an appropriate salary.
  • It is highly recommended that several matches are done before fixing a particular salary.
  • Make sure that the job responsibilities are matched and not the person.
  • Also remember to combine wisely. It is possible to blend job descriptors. However, it should be kept in mind that only two descriptors can be combined for each survey in order to represent a candidate’s job.
  • It is also a good idea to refer to the level guide. Surveys use different ways for representing and describing various levels for various jobs.
  • It is recommended that for the purpose of benchmarking salaries, employees are involved as much as possible.