Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Return of the Salary Hunters

The recession showed us some unexpected hiring times. All hiring rules changed, salary negotiations were non-existent, offer-to-join conversion rates were high, 'great work' was more important than 'great salary'. The end of recession brought a sigh of relief to all of us. Companies are ramping up hiring efforts, campuses are seeing heavy hiring activity and packages have gone up and India Inc. has declared the much awaited salary raises . All this is great.

This also brings back the challenges of hiring. All of the following, which had become history are now back, with a "vengeance":

Taking an offer and negotiating salary or role is a good thing. But taking an offer letter and showing it to another company to get a better deal, is kind of being overly opportunistic. Now, taking another offer letter and showing it back to the last company that gave the original offer letter (ping-ponging) is plain "evil". It is not just evil, it is a bad idea. For a five-ten % salary hike the person is potentially leaving a bad impression on his future employer.

Remember that it is much more important to work for a great company, for a company that has a solid roadmap, it is much more important to work with a great team, where you can learn for the next X number of years you spend in that company. It is much more important to work for a company that values your work, and rewards not just with a great salary but with accolades and encouragement that go much longer and deeper than fifty-hundred thousand rupees per year.

Almost all offers recently are met with counter offers, not just one but many. I think it is not a bad idea to negotiate salary with other offers with counter offers, though I think it is somewhat naughty to do that. The priorities should be clear when someone wants to work for a company, whether it is a small salary difference that can pull the person to a different company, or is the vision and the roadmap and the team is more important.

Salary is definitely important; after-all EMIs need to be paid each month! But beyond that, there are many more things that are much more important. One can never compare companies purely by the salary that they offer.

It is always a better idea to work for a great company with a great team and a great vision. The most important, like I said, are the team, the quality of work, the work environment, the company's vision, its market leadership and the learning that it provides.

Think deep and thing wide before you take that plunge.