Everyone has a salary number. Where did you get yours?

Video Transcript: Where did you get your salary number?

Hi, I’m John Borrowman. I have been a recruiter in the business valuation and litigation support professions for over two decades. And that means I have some perspective I don’t think you’ll find anywhere else.

Today, I’d like to talk to you about your salary number. You know what I mean. It’s that number you carry around in the back of your head, and you pull it out when the interviewer asks you about your expectations. But, where did you get it? And, how reliable is it?

When you’re working on a project in your office—especially if it involves litigation—you’re very particular about the reliability of your data sources. But, when it comes to looking at BV compensation, I have found that people will turn to some rather slippery sources. Let me tell you what I mean.

GlassDoor is one of them. Now look, GlassDoor is the default go-to for lots of your people. What’s wrong with it? First, the compensation data on GlassDoor is self-reported, and self-reported data is, by extension, unreliable. (So unreliable in fact, that professionals who do compensation studies don’t even allow it to be included.) Second, job titles in BV or Litigation Support may not tell you much. A Supervisor in one place might be a Sr. Manager in another one. An Analyst in your practice could be an Associate in another one.

The second one I want to talk to you about is the Cost-of-Living Calculator. They’re everywhere, and if you’re contemplating a geographic move, you’ve probably gone to see what you might find. What’s the problem with them? They’re an average of an average of an average. Let me tell you what I mean.

If you look around in the city or town where you live, you can probably find areas and neighborhoods where you could live for less than you’re paying now, and you’d be comfortable. You’d be fine. And certainly, you can find places you could live that would cost a lot more than where you live now, and sure, you’d be comfortable there. The thing is, that range of options occurs in every city. But, it simply disappears inside an online cost-of-living calculator that is an average of an average of an average.

Lastly, there’s the watercooler. It’s gossip. You don’t know that there might be some kind of special reason why the person you heard about got a big bump in salary in connection with making a job change. There might be special factors you just don’t know about, or even the person you heard the story from knows about.

I know human nature. You’re not going to stop using these sources. But I would suggest that you use them maybe just a little bit less.

Everybody has questions every now and then. Am I in the right place? Am I being paid fairly? When you have those questions, I can help you find answers. Give me a call.