Sign up  |  Log in

When to ask about compensation

I personally think it should be discussed before the first in person interview to avoid wasting money on gas driving to the interview, dry cleaning expense, wear and tear on vehicle etc, while others say right off the bat it should be discussed.

Thoughts everyone?

Always at the very end of the process.

We’re gonna win so much, you may even get tired of winning. And you’ll say, 'Please, please. It’s too much winning. We can’t take it anymore. Mr. President, it’s too much.' And I’ll say, 'No, it isn’t!' We have to keep winning!

hpracing007 wrote:

Always at the very end of the process.

Too late, it was a position that was being pitched by my local CFA Society so I reached out to the treasurer instead of the hiring manager directly. She responded back it was 50k plus bonus so I then e-mailed the MD at the IB where I had an interview set up for this Thursday and canceled. 

Thankfully I asked or else it would have been a pretty big waste of mine and theirs time!

Sounds like you made the right decision, “Always” is too strong of a word.

I don’t know where you are in your career but the reason I say you should wait to the very end is because you want to have the ability to pitch and differentiate yourself before you talk price. Salespeople, both normal and high-end, are taught to normally not ask the cilent what their budget is. They are taught to ask questions and to figure out what the client’s wants and needs are and to pitch to that and make them fall in love with the product, the salesperson, and the store. A client may originally want to spend $xxx,xxx but may increase if they understand the benefit as opposed to if you give them a number before explaining, they may balk and not be interested. Objections are easier to overcome if you repeat previous points, not bringing in new points. Waiting till the very end also adds an element of sunk costs. Again sounds like you read the situation right in this case but I wouldn’t apply it to all.

We’re gonna win so much, you may even get tired of winning. And you’ll say, 'Please, please. It’s too much winning. We can’t take it anymore. Mr. President, it’s too much.' And I’ll say, 'No, it isn’t!' We have to keep winning!

hpracing007 wrote:

Sounds like you made the right decision, “Always” is too strong of a word.

I don’t know where you are in your career but the reason I say you should wait to the very end is because you want to have the ability to pitch and differentiate yourself before you talk price. Salespeople, both normal and high-end, are taught to normally not ask the cilent what their budget is. They are taught to ask questions and to figure out what the client’s wants and needs are and to pitch to that and make them fall in love with the product, the salesperson, and the store. A client may originally want to spend $xxx,xxx but may increase if they understand the benefit as opposed to if you give them a number before explaining, they may balk and not be interested. Objections are easier to overcome if you repeat previous points, not bringing in new points. Waiting till the very end also adds an element of sunk costs. Again sounds like you read the situation right in this case but I wouldn’t apply it to all.

This. 

I remember my first few interviews.. they wanted an analyst and I didn’t know the comp. At the end of the interview process they knew they wanted me,  i told them my price and they said.. well we can’t offer you an analyst position.. how about an associate at X price instead.

You need to hook the fish before reeling it in. 

plumber > stripper > experience > CFA > MBA

^haha nicely done hpr. djt would be proud.

I love my cheese. I got to have my cheddar.

pokhim wrote:

hpracing007 wrote:

Sounds like you made the right decision, “Always” is too strong of a word.

I don’t know where you are in your career but the reason I say you should wait to the very end is because you want to have the ability to pitch and differentiate yourself before you talk price. Salespeople, both normal and high-end, are taught to normally not ask the cilent what their budget is. They are taught to ask questions and to figure out what the client’s wants and needs are and to pitch to that and make them fall in love with the product, the salesperson, and the store. A client may originally want to spend $xxx,xxx but may increase if they understand the benefit as opposed to if you give them a number before explaining, they may balk and not be interested. Objections are easier to overcome if you repeat previous points, not bringing in new points. Waiting till the very end also adds an element of sunk costs. Again sounds like you read the situation right in this case but I wouldn’t apply it to all.

This. 

I remember my first few interviews.. they wanted an analyst and I didn’t know the comp. At the end of the interview process they knew they wanted me,  i told them my price and they said.. well we can’t offer you an analyst position.. how about an associate at X price instead.

You need to hook the fish before reeling it in. 

Interesting take on it, but makes sense.

your first sentence on your first call….Come out real hot. Show you are the Alpha. 

Either you get canned or they continue to the next round, in which case means they really want you.

But in all seriousness, you should just state your range. don’t disclose your current salary.

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

You should have a pretty good idea where the salary + bonus is before you even provide a resume but worst case be upfront with the recruiter, not the person interviewing you.  

I have asked directly but laid out my expectations very clearly given where I’m at in my career.  I agree, don’t waste your time but be strategic about it and be conscious that word spreads very quickly.  Don’t greylist yourself.

$50k is entry level btw, why are you applying for that role?

Galli wrote:

You should have a pretty good idea where the salary + bonus is before you even provide a resume but worst case be upfront with the recruiter, not the person interviewing you.  

I have asked directly but laid out my expectations very clearly given where I’m at in my career.  I agree, don’t waste your time but be strategic about it and be conscious that word spreads very quickly.  Don’t greylist yourself.

$50k is entry level btw, why are you applying for that role?

No I didn’t, the MD seemed pretty cordial and understanding when I told her that I didn’t think expectations were aligned in terms of comp. She explained that it was indeed an entry level role and that she would keep me in mind for possible associate/AVP/VP level roles in the future if/when they became available.

I didn’t exactly apply to it. One of the admin at my local CFA society mass e-mailed Level II pass or higher candidates about the opportunity on behalf of the IB shop looking to hire. So I sent my resume over and got an interview set up pretty quickly. Job description said a few years of experience would be ideal, however, guess I thought most IB analysts even out of the gate are pulling in low 6 figures given they work twice the amount of a normal 9-5er. Guess I was wrong lol. 

1) you ask HR or initial screen for range. 

- or put range on application

- or state minimum comp.

2) discuss with hiring manager towards end.

- whoever asks first loses. 

"A theory that you can't explain to a bartender is probably no damn good."
- Ernest Rutherford

2) You are a hot item. You are in demand. You are valued. 

This is your mentality. It is like dating or the dating ‘dance’; some cool moves during this process could get you significantly more comp if you play it right for positions mid-career. Entry level, can’t really do jack in certain roles. 
 

"A theory that you can't explain to a bartender is probably no damn good."
- Ernest Rutherford

(I’m not sure how I clicked over to the career section)

"A theory that you can't explain to a bartender is probably no damn good."
- Ernest Rutherford

Iprofit4sure wrote:

however, guess I thought most IB analysts even out of the gate are pulling in low 6 figures given they work twice the amount of a normal 9-5er. Guess I was wrong lol. 

Yeah I would figure $80k base at the lowest end of the range plus some multiple for bonus.  All-in-comp of $120-140k is not uncommon but maybe they are fishing for cheap labor for those willing to put in the leg work (e.g., those who did not go to Harvard)

Sounds like you made the right call. No time lost.

let’s be real…unless you’re going for RE division at Blackstone or Goldman, no one from Harvard is gonna be applying for a position in the real estate sector…..Sure, real estate has these fancy names such as real estate private equity funds and what not but in reality, real estate “PE funds” are second tier in the eyes of hedge fund, venture capital PE, LBO PE funds….

front office dudes at RE “funds” work on anything from:

valuation,

performance (ops work in hedge fund or other PE funds),

NAV or waterfall or profit distribution calculations (again ops work at HF and other PE funds)…

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

infinitybenzo wrote:

let’s be real…unless you’re going for RE division at Blackstone or Goldman, no one from Harvard is gonna be applying for a position in the real estate sector…..Sure, real estate has these fancy names such as real estate private equity funds and what not but in reality, real estate “PE funds” are second tier in the eyes of hedge fund, venture capital PE, LBO PE funds….

front office dudes at RE “funds” work on anything from:

valuation,

performance (ops work in hedge fund or other PE funds),

NAV or waterfall or profit distribution calculations (again ops work at HF and other PE funds)…

So when you hear people in CRE say there are exit opps to the “Buy-side”, you are essentially calling BS then?

While CRE obviously has an analytical component to it, kinda seems like it is glorified multi million dollar property salesmen the same way IB ppl are company salesmen

CRE = commercial real estate….they could already be in buy side….

Maybe you’re referring to commercial real estate brokers??? they could go into buy side as acquisitions or even start their own company as developers and if they have even 1 outside investor. they have a real estate private equity

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

Tons of top tier people work in RE. As a matter of fact, I recently worked with multiple Harvard grads on some real estate transactions and they work in REPE. It is very common because it can be a great asset class. Front office REPE work on sourcing, origination, structuring and closing deals. I’m really not sure what Infinity is talking about. That is absolutely not my experience.

In terms of comp questions, if it is a big shop you are going to know roughly what it is anyway. If it is small, then I ask. I can’t waste time for somebody I’ll have to haggle with later, and I don’t want to work for someone with that type of mentality.

you basically need to come from a target school pedigree/work at prestigious firm in the US/have a really good connection.

- AF hivemind

i am sure there are plenty of harvard grads in RE…i never said there were none….I said there are fewer of them compared to HF or VC PE industry…….therefore RE is a bit easier to get into and also not as glamorous….As I mentioned above RE front office involves what people of HF and VC consider ops or back office work which includes calculation of performance and waterfall (NAV calc).

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

Hmm, yeah I am hearing about once being an analyst in CRE moving into a “producer” type role. 3 years or so seems to be the consensus as to when that would happen IF someone were to move up the ranks. 

From an earnings prospective, I’ve heard that Associate Directors can pull in 2-3 hundred a year in total comp and it goes into mid 6 figures at the director level. The thing is, I’m only moderately interested in Real Estate in general so it probably won’t work out. I have an Interview on Monday for Debt Placement role but I’m afraid my disingenuousness may be palpable. Not very good at hiding my feelings or true excitement for a role. 

brain_wash_your_face wrote:

Tons of top tier people work in RE. As a matter of fact, I recently worked with multiple Harvard grads on some real estate transactions and they work in REPE. It is very common because it can be a great asset class. Front office REPE work on sourcing, origination, structuring and closing deals. I’m really not sure what Infinity is talking about. That is absolutely not my experience.

In terms of comp questions, if it is a big shop you are going to know roughly what it is anyway. If it is small, then I ask. I can’t waste time for somebody I’ll have to haggle with later, and I don’t want to work for someone with that type of mentality.

It’s probably not going to be enough at the analyst level tbh. I am hearing 50-70k base with like 80-100% annual bonus which won’t work for me. If they are willing to lay a base close to that all in number and just toss me some holiday spending cash type of a bonus then we might be on to something. Highly doubt it though when they can just find some 25 year old still living in his parents basement whose willing to take the job for the brand name recognition alone. Idk guess we will see.  

It’s normal in finance to have a substantial bonus as a proportion of overall compensation. It is unlikely that you will find a desirable job in the field with a high fixed salary. Even people who make say $1 million might have a base salary of $250k or $300k. 

Furthermore, although it is called a “bonus”, it is expected that you will be paid near the target amount. If the company promises staff, for instance, $150k base and $300k bonus, and they renege by paying only a $100k bonus, employees will quit in droves. It’s essentially the equivalent of layoffs. 

“Visit the Water Cooler forum on Analyst Forum. It is the best forum.”
- Everyone

most people fail to understand is that at least in buy side just because you had a fantastic year does not necessarily translate to big bonuses….it has to do with high water mark…

As ohai said above, in finance you don’t bank on base but on bonuses….I have expereice at two hedge funds and currently in PE fund…The previous two HF were sub $1b AUM but the PM/CIO, CFO/COO cracked $1m mark but their salaries were $155k.  I was sr analyst….one analyst in my team fresh out of IB had base of 95k and bonus of 200k. The controller made 100k base and 100k bonus…But this is is for good years and when the fund hit high water mark with new investors coming in to reset that mark….I am told and now I start to realize that my timing was impeccable….joined during the beginning of the economic recovery and stock market upshot era…..You ain’t getting rich off of base salary even in high finance in NYC because you’re working for someone who works for someone who reports to someone who manages for someone who has fiduciary duty on behalf of its beneficiaries…..too many middlemen/women…

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

pokhim wrote:

You need to hook the fish before reeling it in. 

OP is more worried about wasting time, and I get it, but if you truly don’t like your job and this new job seems like you’ll really like it and has upward mobility, the interview costs shouldn’t matter.

In that case - hooking the fish is the same advice I’d give - make them want you, then talk about comp.

In my last interview (my current job), they demanded my current comp before I arrived to interview. Had to tell them. I them mentioned I’d be willing to take a pay cut (moving to buyside). At the end of the process my base+bonus ended up being slightly more than my old job anyway. They WANTED me and didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot with me with a lowball offer.

PistolPt wrote:

pokhim wrote:

You need to hook the fish before reeling it in. 

OP is more worried about wasting time, and I get it, but if you truly don’t like your job and this new job seems like you’ll really like it and has upward mobility, the interview costs shouldn’t matter.

In that case - hooking the fish is the same advice I’d give - make them want you, then talk about comp.

In my last interview (my current job), they demanded my current comp before I arrived to interview. Had to tell them. I them mentioned I’d be willing to take a pay cut (moving to buyside). At the end of the process my base+bonus ended up being slightly more than my old job anyway. They WANTED me and didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot with me with a lowball offer.

Correct. Guess I should have qualified that I was only moderately interested in the role. In those instances, I jump straight to comp. If it’s my dream job then yeah good advice on waiting and making them want me because at that point they probably do not want to start the interview process all over again for weeks with new candidates or try to extend a backup offer to the next candidate who has probably already moved on or doesn’t like being the back burner option and are probably willing to pay out of their range if they really like me anyway. Good advice from all, thanks!