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How Employers View Your Questions About Benefits

By Harry Urschel

When interviewing for a new job, it's natural to want to know about employee benefits, perks, additional opportunities for bonuses or raises, and other information that help you decide whether a company is right for you or not.

When and how you ask those questions, however, can have a huge impact on their interest in you as a candidate!

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Timing Is Everything

Too often, candidates ask those questions in a first interview, or long before a potential offer is even being considered.

A job seeker may think... "If the salary and benefits don't meet my requirements, it's not worth spending more time in this process!"  However, if those questions are asked at an inappropriate time, the process may end sooner than you hope, even if you like the answers.

Benefits of Following Through to the End of the Interviewing Process

It is always good to follow any interview/hiring process through to the end. There are multiple benefits to do so, even if you don't like the job...

  • The more live interviews you can take, the better you get with each one. What better way to get practice that helps you be your best when the right opportunity comes along?
  • It's not unusual that, at the end of an interview process, an employer lets you know of another position that may be much more attractive to you. You would not have found out about it if you didn't continue in the process.
  • If an employer is interested enough in you, salary and benefits might be sweetened to get you, or they may find other ways to make up the difference.

Wait Until the End of the Interviewing Process

If you are asking questions about compensation and benefits before consideration is being given to hiring you at all, the impressions you create are...

  • This person is more concerned about what they will get than what's best for their career.
  • You are more focused on what you want than what you can contribute.
  • It's all about you... versus being of value to the organization.
  • You're more interested in vacation/time away than what you will do while you're here.
  • The value of the job/organization is secondary to how much you can squeeze the most out of us.

Those and other impressions quickly diminish whatever interest they may have had in you for the role.

Generally, it's best to wait until an offer is presented to get all those kinds of questions answered... unless they specifically present that information to you in advance and ask what questions you may have.

If you find that the terms are not acceptable and you're not able to negotiate something that is, you've at least gained valuable interview experience and learned all you can about the opportunity and organization. You are never obligated to accept an offer, and a polite and respectful "No thank you" is appropriate.

Bottom Line

Be careful not to hurt your chances at an opportunity too soon. Wait until the appropriate time to ask for details on compensation and benefits.  Always consider the process from the employer's point of view!


About this author...

Harry Urschel has over 25 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives and on Google +. He can be contacted by email at: harry@eexecutives.net