In today’s job market, the benefits package can be just as significant as the salary itself when it comes to attracting top talent in the field. It’s important to ask about both when applying for any job in order to understand how you will be compensated for your time, skills, and knowledge.
Finding out about benefits early on in the interview process can give you a better sense of whether the position is a good fit for you. However, knowing when to ask about benefits can be tricky.
The last thing you want to do is come across as pushy or entitled because you brought up the question too soon. With that in mind, the following guide will help you navigate this delicate conversation during your interview.
Why Recruiters Discuss Benefits During The Interview
There are several key reasons recruiters will bring up benefits during the interview process. Generally, it’s best to let the recruiter bring up benefits first to avoid coming across as egocentric or too money-driven. The following are a few of the reasons recruiters bring up benefits during the interview process:
- To Determine If You’re A Good Fit For The Company: One of the main reasons recruiters bring up benefits is to get a better sense of whether you’re a good fit for the role.By asking about your benefits preferences, they can better understand whether you’re looking for a long-term position at the company or simply looking for a job that pays well.
- To Decide If You’re Worth The Compensation: Finally, recruiters bring up benefits to determine if you’re worth the compensation. They may ask you about the type of benefits package you’re looking for to see how close it is to their own compensation budget.If they find out you’re looking for a benefits package that significantly exceeds their own, they may decide it is not worth their time to continue the interview process.
Should You Be The First To Bring Up Benefits In An Interview?
Although waiting for the recruiter to ask about benefits helps take the pressure off, there are a few instances where it may be best to bring the topic up first.
For example, the recruiter may not bring up benefits until the end of the interview process. If their benefits package is nowhere close to what you were looking for, you may have wasted your time interviewing for a position that wasn’t a good fit for you.
Additionally, bringing up the topic yourself can show the recruiter that you’re interested in the position and have done your research. By broaching the topic early on, you also force the recruiter to be transparent about what they’re offering.
As a result, you can decide whether the role is right for you early in the interview process.
First Round Versus Final Round: Which Is The Best Time To Ask About Benefits?
If you decide to take the initiative and bring up benefits yourself during the interview process, then the next step is deciding when to do it. You can ask about benefits during the first round of interviews or wait until the last round. There are advantages to doing either, so be sure to compare them.
The Advantages Of Asking About Benefits In The First Round
It sets expectations upfront if you ask about benefits during the first round of interviews. This way, if the company’s benefits package is not in line with what you’re looking for, you can save yourself the time and trouble of going through the entire interview process.
Additionally, if you make it to the final round of interviews, there will be no surprises. The company will know exactly what you’re looking for, and you can avoid the awkwardness of having to negotiate benefits after they have made an offer.
The Advantages Of Asking About Benefits In The Final Round
You have more bargaining power if you wait to ask about benefits until the final round of interviews. The company has already invested time and resources in you, so they may be more likely to meet your demands.
Additionally, if you make it clear that benefits are important to you, the company may be more likely to offer a competitive benefits package to you.
Things To Research Before You Ask About Benefits
Whether you plan to ask about benefits yourself or you decide to wait until the recruiter brings it up, do your research first. This way, you’ll be prepared to ask questions and discuss the benefits that are most important to you. The following are a few things that you should research to prepare for the conversation about benefits:
Salary Market Value Versus The Company’s Salary Range
When researching the salary for a potential position, it’s essential to compare the salary range against the fair market value for the position.
If the company is offering a salary that is below market value, consider whether the benefits package makes up for the lower salary. You might even be able to use the information you have on the position’s market value to negotiate a better benefits package.
Public Posts About Basic Benefits For Employees
A quick search on social media or any job site can give you an idea of what benefits other employees at the company received. This information can help determine whether the company will likely meet your compensation expectations. It can also give you an idea of whether the benefits package the company eventually offers you is competitive.
How They Compensate Other Employees
Besides researching the benefits package, it’s also essential to find out how the company compensates other employees. Look for details like bonuses, commission structures, and stock options. This information can help you determine whether the company will probably meet your financial needs.
How You Fit In With The Company Culture
When researching the company, consider how you would fit into the company culture. Find out about the company’s values, business model, and management style. You’ll want to ensure that you would be a good fit for the company before accepting a job offer.
Knowing the company culture can be helpful when discussing benefits, because you can discuss how the benefits fit into the company culture. For example, if the company values work/life balance, discuss how the company’s parental leave policy fits in with that.
Financial Benefits You Should Ask About
A comprehensive benefits package can include a wide range of financial benefits. Understanding what benefits are available can help you determine whether a company is likely to meet your financial needs.
The following are a few financial benefits that you may want to ask about:
- Paid Time Off (PTO): PTO is a benefit that allows employees to take paid time off from work. PTO can include vacation days, sick days, and personal days. It typically accrues over time, and employees can use it as they need.
- Relocation: If you do not live within a commutable distance from the company’s headquarters, you may need to relocate for the job. Some companies offer relocation assistance to help with the costs associated with moving. If you need to move to take the job, you may want to ask about the company’s relocation policy.
- Housing: If you’re relocating for a job, you may need to find housing in the new city. Some companies offer housing assistance to help with the costs of finding a new place to live. If you need help with housing, you may want to ask about the company’s housing policy.
- Transportation: If the position requires you to travel, you may expense your travel costs. Some companies offer transportation benefits, such as a monthly stipend for public transportation or a company car. You may want to ask about the company’s travel policy if you think you will incur any travel costs.
- Health Plan Enrollment: Most companies offer health insurance to their employees. If enrolling in the company’s health plan, you’ll want to ask about the specifics of the health plan, such as monthly premiums, deductibles, and copayments. You may also want to ask about the plan’s coverage, such as medical, dental, and vision.
- Family Coverage In Benefits Package: If you have a family, you’ll want to ask about their coverage under the benefits package. This coverage might include health insurance, life insurance, and dependent care. In addition, you’ll want to ask about the specifics of each benefit, such as monthly premiums, deductibles, and copayments.
- Retirement/401(k) Match: Many companies offer a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k). Some companies match a certain percentage of employee contributions, while others don’t offer a match. If the company offers a 401(k), you’ll want to ask about the company match and whether vesting requirements exist.
How To Ask About Work-Life Balance Benefits
Work-life balance is essential for many employees and can be a crucial component of the benefits package. In fact, you can use your work-life expectations to negotiate benefits that will help you maintain a healthy balance between work and the rest of your life.
When considering work-life balance, you’ll want to bring up:
- Ask Questions About The Company’s Office Culture: To gauge the company’s focus on work-life balance, you can ask questions about the office culture. You should ask about the company’s work hours, vacation policy, and sick days. You can also ask about the company’s remote work policy, which can affect work-life balance.
- Ask About Your Work Schedule: You’ll want to ask about the company’s work schedule. This should include questions about the typical work week, start and end times, and flexible scheduling. You can also ask about the company’s policy on overtime and working from home.
- Establish Boundaries: It’s important to establish boundaries between work and the rest of your life. You can do this by setting limits on the time you’re willing to work, such as only 40 hours per week. You can also impose limits on the days and times you’re available to work.
The Worst Time To Ask About Benefits In An Interview
One of the worst times to ask about benefits is during the early stages of the interview process. For example, suppose the recruiter has scheduled a 15-minute phone interview to determine whether they should bring you in for an in-person interview.
In that case, the last thing you should do is ask about the benefits right off the bat. Doing so can leave a poor first impression because:
- It Shows You’re Only After The Money: If you’re asking about benefits before even discussing the position in any detail, it shows that you’re more interested in the money than the job itself.
- It Says Nothing About Your Actual Responsibilities: All you’re doing is asking about the company’s benefits package, knowing nothing about the job responsibilities. Doing so makes it appear as if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into and that you’re not interested in whether you’ll even be a good fit for the job.
- It Shows Nothing About Your Skill Set: By asking about benefits, you’re not saying anything about your skills or qualifications. You leave the employer wondering why you’re even interviewing for the job.
What If The Subject Never Comes Up At All?
If you’ve let the recruiter bring up benefits first because you don’t want to risk seeming pushy or entitled, but the subject never comes up, it might not be a good sign. Suppose the interview process ends with no discussion on the topic?
In that case, the company might not be interested or want to take their time with the hiring process. If they request an additional interview, you should probably bring it up then.
Get A Better Idea Of Your Benefits In Your Interview
In getting a new job, the benefits package can be just as important as the salary. That’s why it’s always a good idea to learn about the benefits a company provides when you have a job interview lined up.
Doing your research can help you understand whether you’ll be a good fit, give you an idea of what to expect, and give you negotiating power when benefits are raised. Just make sure you find the right time to discuss it!